Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi takes over from Porsche in race lead

Audi moved into the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the second hour, with Andre Lotterer taking the fight to Porsche following a safety car period

Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi takes over from Porsche in race lead

Lotterer pounced on the Porsches of Bernhard and Jani shortly after a restart, which came after a long safety car period following a multi-car crash caused by the #92 GTE Porsche dropping oil at the first chicane.

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The safety car bunched the leaders up - with none of the top eight factory cars getting split off from the pack - and when they hit traffic after the restart Lotterer made his move.

The #7 Audi passed Jani for second into the first corner, and then snatched the lead from Bernhard down the esses.

The lead was shortlived though, as Lotterer's slightly longer pitstop dropped him back behind both Porsches.

He then set about picking them off again following the stops, first working his way past Jani and then taking Bernhard for the lead just before the hour was up.

Formula 1 racer Nico Hulkenberg took advantage of the safety car and subsequent traffic to move ahead of the Audis of Marco Bonanomi and Loic Duval - the latter losing out seriously having been third at the restart.

The safety car allowed Toyota to close up to the leaders and lessen the damage it suffered in the first hour, but both TS040s continued to slip back from the leaders.

LMP2

Polesitter KCMG ended the second hour at the head of the LMP2 field.

The safety car period at the start of the hour eroded Tristan Gommendy's lead, although the TDS Racing driver and KCMG's Richard Bradley gained a 40-second break over the rest of the field with their safety car grouping.

Gommendy led until he pitted, only for Bradley to run two laps longer and emerge with a lead approaching 15s.

By the end of the hour, that was down to 7.5s, with third-placed Roman Rusinov a further 47s behind, in the G-Drive (OAK) entry started by Sam Bird.

Jon Lancaster is fourth for Greaves Motorsport, ahead of Kevin Estre in the Laurens Vanthoor-started OAK Ligier and Nathanael Berthon, who has been one of the last to pit in LMP2 each hour.

In the Jota Gibson, Oliver Turvey sat 14th in the class, the best part of two laps down.

Krohn Racing and Extreme Speed Motorsports had eventful hours, each recording a spin, before Tracy Krohn tagged Scott Sharp in ESM's #30 entry at the first Mulsanne chicane.

GTE

Aston Martin Racing continues to lead the GTE Pro class, which is down to seven cars after a fiery exit for one of the Porsches.

The #92 Manthey-run 911 RSR appeared to suffer a blown engine at the first Mulsanne chicane, spinning on its oil and rejoining briefly before pulling off to the side of the track with a huge fire at the rear of the car.

Patrick Pilet was driving the Porsche at the time, but got out unaided and walked away - while the #13 Rebellion LMP1 and Strakka LMP2 were delayed after colliding immediately behind the spinning 911.

The fiery, stricken Porsche triggered a safety car, which allowed the #51 Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni a chance to attack Nicki Thiim's #95 Aston Martin - but the Danish ace repelled the AF Corse man with ease and extended his lead by the end of the hour.

Behind those two Stefan Mucke held a comfortable third for the #97 Aston, while a fierce battle for fourth went in favour of the #71 Ferrari.

James Calado's strong progress from 54th on the grid continued as he took advantage of a fight between Richie Stanaway's Aston and Oliver Gavin's Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

The second Ferrari nipped past both when erstwhile leader Stanaway lunged Gavin at Mulsanne corner, delaying both.

The fight for GTE Am honours is fluctuating between the #98 Aston and the #72 SMP Ferrari, with the 458 Italia edging the battle in the second hour.

Matt Griffin made it two AF Corse-run Ferraris in the top three after getting the #55 ahead of the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche after the first round of pitstops.

POSITIONS AFTER TWO HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 31
2 LMP1 #17 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 31 + 2.456s
3 LMP1 #18 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 31 + 6.709s
4 LMP1 #19 Porsche Hulkenberg, Bamber, Tandy 30 + 1 Lap
5 LMP1 #9 Audi Albuquerque, Bonanomi, Rast 30 + 6.205s
6 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 30 + 13.720s
7 LMP1 #1 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 30 + 28.067s
8 LMP1 #2 Toyota Wurz, Sarrazin, Conway 30 + 42.406s
9 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Beche 29 + 2 Laps
10 LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson, Bradley, Lapierre 28 + 3 Laps
11 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Badey, Gommendy 28 + 7.471s
12 LMP2 #26 Ligier Rusinov, Canal, Bird 28 + 54.175s
13 LMP2 #41 Gibson Hirsch, Paletou, Lancaster 28 + 54.853s
14 LMP2 #34 Ligier Cumming, Vanthoor, Estre 28 + 1m13.250s
15 LMP2 #48 Oreca Chandhok, Patterson, Berthon 28 + 1m16.085s
16 LMP2 #36 Alpine Panciatici, Chatin, Capillaire 28 + 1m23.779s
17 LMP1 #22 Nissan Tincknell, Krumm, Buncombe 28 + 1m30.386s
18 LMP2 #43 Morgan Ragues, Webb, Amberg 28 + 1m58.002s
19 LMP2 #28 Ligier Yacaman, Derani, Gonzalez 28 + 2m13.115s
20 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Dalziel, Heinemeier Hansson 27 + 4 Laps
21 LMP1 #21 Nissan Matsuda, Shulzhitskiy, Ordonez 27 + 29.172s
22 LMP2 #42 Dome Leventis, Watts, Kane 27 + 47.930s
23 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Imperatori, Kraihamer, Abt 27 + 1m37.442s
24 LMP2 #27 BR Mediani, Markozov, Minassian 27 + 1m48.412s
25 LMP2 #31 Ligier Brown, Van Overbeek, Fogarty 27 + 2m34.223s
26 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Nygaard 27 + 3m30.275s
27 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella 27 + 3m34.343s
28 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Mucke, Bell 27 + 3m41.413s
29 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Calado, Beretta 27 + 3m46.787s
30 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 27 + 3m49.370s
31 GTE Pro #99 Aston Rees, Macdowall, Stanaway 27 + 3m53.570s
32 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Evans, Turvey 27 + 3m58.095s
33 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Kaffer, Monteiro 26 + 5 Laps
34 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 26 + 4m53.100s
35 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Shaytar, Bertolini, Basov 26 + 5m02.742s
36 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Mortimer 26 + 5m03.380s
37 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Bergmeister 26 + 5m04.848s
38 GTE Am #77 Porsche Dempsey, Long, Seefried 26 + 5m07.211s
39 GTE Am #88 Porsche Ried, Al Qubaisi, Bachler 26 + 5m07.542s
40 GTE Am #53 Dodge Bleekemolen, Keating, Miller 26 + 5m18.659s
41 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 26 + 5m21.277s
42 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 26 + 5m25.010s
43 LMP2 #45 Oreca Ibanez, Perret, Bellarosa 26 + 5m33.928s
44 LMP2 #35 Ligier Nicolet, Merlin, Maris 26 + 6m07.630s
45 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 26 + 6m26.682s
46 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Al Faisal, Giermaziak, Avenatti 26 + 7m07.111s
47 GTE Am #68 Porsche Chen, Vannelet, Parisy 26 + 8m35.373s
48 GTE Am #96 Aston Goethe, Hall, Castellacci 25 + 6 Laps
49 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mann, Giammaria, Cressoni 25 + 2m01.501s
50 GTE Am #67 Porsche Chen, Kapadia, Maassen 24 + 7 Laps
51 LMP2 #29 Morgan Roussel, Tung, Cheng 24 + 3m05.460s
52 LMP1 #23 Nissan Pla, Mardenborough, Chilton 22 + 9 Laps
53 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Roda, Ruberti, Poulsen 22 + 1m02.089s
54 LMP2 #37 BR Aleshin, Ladygin, Ladygin 16 + 15 Laps
55 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Pilet, Makowiecki, Henzler 14 Retired
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