Le Mans 24 Hours: Lead Audi chasing Hulkenberg Porsche hits trouble

Porsche's position in the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours has been strengthened by the chasing #7 Audi shedding rear bodywork late in the 16th hour

Le Mans 24 Hours: Lead Audi chasing Hulkenberg Porsche hits trouble

Marcel Fassler was running second to Nico Hulkenberg, with the pair having taken over from Benoit Treluyer and Earl Bamber respectively, when a section of the right-rear bodywork disintegrated at the exit of the Porsche Curves.

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The Swiss tried to continue, but had to be pulled into the pits early and wheeled into the garage for repairs to the rear of the car.

The #7 Audi remained in the garage at the end of the hour.

As a result, Hulkenberg, who set a searing pace at the start of his stint, now leads the #9 Audi of Rene Rast by over three minutes.

The #9 Audi remains in contention in third place, with Filipe Albuquerque at the wheel.

He is close enough to pounce if either of the two leaders hit trouble, but is too far back to mount an attack on pace.

Mark Webber, in the #17 Porsche, is also on the lead lap in fourth place.

The only major incident among the LMP1 cars during the past hour was suffered by the #12 Rebellion, which Nicolas Prost nosed into the barriers at Indianapolis.

The sister car, driven by Alex Imperatori, also had a trip through the gravel late in the hour.

The ORECA-designed, AER-engined car was recovered and rejoined, but is down in 30th place.

The #8 Audi of Lucas di Grassi and the #18 Porsche of Romain Dumas, both of which lost time to incidents earlier in the race, run fifth and sixth and comfortably ahead of the two Toyotas.

LMP2

An uneventful hour finished with KCMG yet again enjoying a one-lap advantage at the top of LMP2.

When Matt Howson completed the team's 21st pitstop, Sam Bird unlapped the G-Drive (OAK) Ligier, however his own stop towards the end of the hour led to that being negated.

It still runs second, ahead of Karun Chandhok in the Murphy Prototypes entry, Oliver Turvey for Jota Sport - both two laps down - and the second G-Drive entry driven by Gustavo Yacaman.

GTE

A strong stint from Giancarlo Fisichella has put the #51 AF Corse Ferrari in the GTE Pro box seat.

The Ferrari took the lead during the 14th hour, but was one minute clear of the #64 Corvette approaching the end of hour 16.

The Corvette pitted late in the piece, with Jordan Taylor handing over to Oliver Gavin, accounting for the final margin of 1m38s, with the Ferrari yet to make its 17th stop.

In GTE Am, Pedro Lamy has amassed a lead approaching two-and-a-half minutes over the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari, aboard the #98 Aston Martin.

POSITIONS AFTER 16 HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #19 Porsche Hulkenberg, Bamber, Tandy 261
2 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 260 + 1 Lap
3 LMP1 #9 Audi Albuquerque, Bonanomi, Rast 260 + 1m56.858s
4 LMP1 #17 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 260 + 2m20.405s
5 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 259 + 2 Laps
6 LMP1 #18 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 258 + 3 Laps
7 LMP1 #2 Toyota Wurz, Sarrazin, Conway 256 + 5 Laps
8 LMP1 #1 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 253 + 8 Laps
9 LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson, Bradley, Lapierre 237 + 24 Laps
10 LMP2 #26 Ligier Rusinov, Canal, Bird 236 + 25 Laps
11 LMP2 #48 Oreca Chandhok, Patterson, Berthon 235 + 26 Laps
12 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Evans, Turvey 234 + 27 Laps
13 LMP2 #28 Ligier Yacaman, Derani, Gonzalez 234 + 2m31.064s
14 LMP2 #34 Ligier Cumming, Vanthoor, Estre 233 + 28 Laps
15 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Imperatori, Kraihamer, Abt 232 + 29 Laps
16 LMP2 #42 Dome Leventis, Watts, Kane 231 + 30 Laps
17 LMP2 #45 Oreca Ibanez, Perret, Bellarosa 224 + 37 Laps
18 LMP2 #31 Ligier Brown, Van Overbeek, Fogarty 224 + 7.848s
19 LMP2 #27 BR Mediani, Markozov, Minassian 223 + 38 Laps
20 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella 223 + 1m00.777s
21 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 222 + 39 Laps
22 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Bergmeister 222 + 3m42.515s
23 LMP2 #35 Ligier Nicolet, Merlin, Maris 221 + 40 Laps
24 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 221 + 2m27.883s
25 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Shaytar, Bertolini, Basov 220 + 41 Laps
26 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Calado, Beretta 220 + 1m48.040s
27 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Nygaard 219 + 42 Laps
28 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Beche 219 + 1m52.408s
29 GTE Am #77 Porsche Dempsey, Long, Seefried 219 + 2m40.167s
30 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 219 + 2m42.815s
31 GTE Am #53 Dodge Bleekemolen, Keating, Miller 218 + 43 Laps
32 LMP2 #29 Morgan Roussel, Tung, Cheng 217 + 44 Laps
33 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Mortimer 217 + 4m42.355s
34 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 216 + 45 Laps
35 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mann, Giammaria, Cressoni 214 + 47 Laps
36 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Dalziel, Heinemeier Hansson 213 + 48 Laps
37 GTE Am #68 Porsche Chen, Vannelet, Parisy 213 + 36.108s
38 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 211 + 50 Laps
39 GTE Am #67 Porsche Chen, Kapadia, Maassen 209 + 52 Laps
40 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Al Faisal, Giermaziak, Avenatti 209 + 1.748s
41 GTE Pro #99 Aston Rees, Macdowall, Stanaway 206 + 55 Laps
42 LMP2 #37 BR Aleshin, Ladygin, Ladygin 206 + 17m19.336s
43 LMP1 #23 Nissan Pla, Mardenborough, Chilton 185 + 76 Laps
44 LMP1 #22 Nissan Tincknell, Krumm, Buncombe 179 + 82 Laps
45 GTE Am #96 Aston Goethe, Hall, Castellacci 178 + 83 Laps
46 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Kaffer, Monteiro 176 + 85 Laps
47 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Badey, Gommendy 204 Retired
48 LMP2 #43 Morgan Ragues, Webb, Amberg 162 Retired
49 LMP1 #21 Nissan Matsuda, Shulzhitskiy, Ordonez 115 Retired
50 LMP2 #36 Alpine Panciatici, Chatin, Capillaire 110 Retired
51 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Mucke, Bell 110 Retired
52 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Roda, Ruberti, Poulsen 94 Retired
53 LMP2 #41 Gibson Hirsch, Paletou, Lancaster 71 Retired
54 GTE Am #88 Porsche Ried, Al Qubaisi, Bachler 44 Retired
55 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Pilet, Makowiecki, Henzler 14 Retired
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