Le Mans 24 Hours: #97 Aston Martin in trouble after thrilling fight

Aston Martin has dropped out of the thrilling battle for GTE Pro honours at the Le Mans 24 Hours with a power-steering problem

Le Mans 24 Hours: #97 Aston Martin in trouble after thrilling fight

The remaining Pro class Aston Martin Vantage GTE and AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia battled for the lead through the first two thirds of the 19th hour in the respective hands of Bruno Senna and Gianmaria Bruni.

Bruni, who had taken over from Giancarlo Fisichella, closed down the Aston and took the place on the run to the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight.

The Ferrari was not able to shake off the Aston, which repassed Bruni to take back the lead at Mulsanne Corner.

Shortly afterwards, Senna was forced to pit with a detached power-steering hose, a problem that has already afflicted the #98 GTE Am Aston.

An extended stay of nearly 23 minutes in the garage for the Aston dropped the car to fourth in class and gave Bruni a lead of well over a lap over the #92 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Richard Lietz.

The #1 Audi led the race overall in the hands of Marc Gene. He continued to extend his lead over Mark Webber's Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Webber, who completed a quadruple stint in the car, was unable to match the times of either the leader or the chasing #2 R18 driven by Marcel Fassler.

Fassler briefly moved onto the same lap as the Porsche when Webber stopped to hand over to Timo Bernhard, before a one-lap margin was restored when Fassler was replaced by Andre Lotterer.

There was a major blow for the LMP2-class leader, with the #35 G-Drive-backed OAK Ligier being pushed into the garage shortly before the end of the hour.

With Mardenborough handing over to Shulzhitskiy, the car remains in the garage and has lost the lead to the #46 TDS Ligier, currently driven by Pierre Thiriet.

The #36 Signatech Alpine ORECA would have been well-placed to capitalise on the problems for the Ligier, but the car earlier lost time thanks to a broken left-front upright that forced the team to replace the whole assembly.

The #38 Jota Sport Zytek of Simon Dolan is third in LMP2, but will take second if the #35 Ligier does not return to the track soon.

POSITIONS AFTER 19 HOURS Pos Cl Car Drivers Laps Gap 1. LMP1 #1 Audi Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen 297 2. LMP1 #20 Porsche Bernhard/Webber/Hartley 295 + 2 Laps 3. LMP1 #2 Audi Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer 294 + 3 Laps 4. LMP1 #8 Toyota Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi 288 + 9 Laps 5. LMP1 #14 Porsche Dumas/Jani/Lieb 286 + 11 Laps 6. LMP2 #35 Ligier Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy 278 + 19 Laps 7. LMP2 #46 Ligier Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy 278 + 3m05.905s 8. LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost/Heidfeld/Beche 278 + 3m24.645s 9. LMP2 #38 Zytek Dolan/Tincknell/Turvey 276 + 21 Laps 10. LMP2 #36 Alpine Chatin/Panciatici/Webb 275 + 22 Laps 11. LMP2 #24 Oreca Rast/Charouz/Capillaire 275 + 22.024s 12. LMP2 #43 Morgan Klien/Hirsch/Brandela 273 + 24 Laps 13. LMP2 #34 Oreca Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster 272 + 25 Laps 14. LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng/Tung/Fong 269 + 28 Laps 15. LMP2 #42 Zytek Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson 267 + 30 Laps 16. GTEP #51 Ferrari Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella 265 + 32 Laps 17. LMP2 #50 Morgan Ragues/Taylor/Ihara 264 + 33 Laps 18. LMP2 #29 Morgan Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel 263 + 34 Laps 19. GTEP #92 Porsche Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz 263 + 1m43.626s 20. GTEP #73 Chevrolet Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor 262 + 35 Laps 21. LMP2 #27 Oreca Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin 261 + 36 Laps 22. GTEA #95 Aston Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Thiim 261 + 2m15.131s 23. GTEP #97 Aston Turner/Mucke/Senna 259 + 38 Laps 24. GTEA #88 Porsche Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi 258 + 39 Laps 25. GTEA #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi 257 + 40 Laps 26. GTEP #74 Chevrolet Gavin/Milner/Westbrook 257 + 23.430s 27. GTEA #90 Ferrari Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti 256 + 41 Laps 28. GTEA #57 Ferrari Krohn/Jonsson/Collins 256 + 10.711s 29. GTEA #77 Porsche Dempsey/Foster/Long 256 + 10.808s 30. GTEA #66 Ferrari Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly 254 + 43 Laps 31. GTEA #70 Ferrari Nakano/Ehret/Rich 254 + 2m07.436s 32. GTEA #98 Aston Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard 254 + 3m39.590s 33. GTEA #58 Ferrari Barthez/Pons/Ayari 253 + 44 Laps 34. GTEA #76 Porsche Narac/Armindo/Hallyday 250 + 47 Laps 35. GTEP #79 Porsche MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen 248 + 49 Laps 36. GTEA #67 Porsche Maris/Merlin/Helary 246 + 51 Laps 37. GTEA #53 Ferrari Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton 245 + 52 Laps 38. GTEP #91 Porsche Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy 234 + 63 Laps 39. GTEA #62 Ferrari Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank 226 + 71 Laps 40. LMP1 #7 Toyota Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima 219 Retired 41. GTEA #72 Ferrari Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov 196 Retired 42. GTEA #75 Porsche Perrodo/Collard/Palttala 194 Retired 43. GTEP #52 Ferrari Griffin/Parente/Leo 140 Retired 44. LMP2 #26 Morgan Rusinov/Pla/Canal 120 Retired 45. GTEA #60 Ferrari Mann/Case/Giammaria 115 Retired 46. LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson/Bradley/Imperatori 87 Retired 47. LMP1 #13 Rebellion Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer 73 Retired 48. LMP2 #48 Oreca Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok 73 Retired 49. LMP2 #41 Zytek Munemman/Latif/Winslow 31 Retired 50. GTEP #71 Ferrari Rigon/Kaffer/Beretta 28 Retired 51. LMP1 #3 Audi Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis 25 Retired 52. GTEA #81 Ferrari Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird 22 Retired 53. LMP2 #37 Oreca Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani 9 Retired 54. CDNT #0 Nissan Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama 5 Retired 
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Marc Gene puts Mark Webber Porsche a lap down

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