Le Mans 24 Hours tenth hour: Lotterer and Audi still on top

Andre Lotterer continued to lead the Le Mans 24 Hours in his hybrid-powered Audi diesel, with a comfortable but not insurmountable margin over his team-mates running in second and third

Le Mans 24 Hours tenth hour: Lotterer and Audi still on top

The pace up front eased up only slightly as Lotterer, Allan McNish and Mike Rockenfeller circulated in the mid 3m30s, mindful of assorted debris on the track as well as oil deposited by one of the GTE runners. Indeed, Rockenfeller made an unplanned stop at the beginning of the hour to have oil smears cleaned off his windscreen.

McNish pitted shortly before the turn of the hour for a routine stop, handing over to Tom Kristensen.

Rebellion's brace of Lola coupes led the petrol-powered contingent, with Nick Heidfeld comfortably ahead of Jeroen Bleekemolen, who in turn was watching his mirrors for the resurgent #3 Audi driven by Loic Duval.

David Brabham had to fight his way back up the order in the JMR HPD after the car suffered a high-speed blow-out while Peter Dumbreck was at the wheel.

The LMP2 lead changed hands after Warren Hughes suffered a puncture in the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan, which spun him around at the exit of Arnage and caused some bodywork damage.

The car slid to ninth in the class and Olivier Pla took over the lead, holding it until the half-hour mark when he trailed into the pits slowly and was wheeled back into the garage.

That enabled Tom Kimber-Smith and Pierre Ragues to come past, then Pierre Kaffer and Franck Mailleux. Ryan Dalziel took over the Starworks car from Kimber-Smith shortly before the turn of the hour but retained the lead.

In GTE Pro Tommy Milner extended the #74 Corvette's lead over Gianmaria Bruni's Ferrari, but both drivers were setting a vigorous pace. A lap behind, Frederic Makowiecki relieved Milner's team-mate Jordan Taylor of third place in the class.

IMSA Performance owner Raymond Narac remained in charge of GTE Am, outpacing second-placed Patrick Bornhauser by up to four seconds a lap, while Tracy Krohn circulated consistently three laps adrift with little to fear from Brian Vickers who was a further lap down.

NOTES

- Peter Dumbreck suffers blow-out in the #22 JRM HPD

- Spin at Ford chicane for #21 Strakka HPD

- Problems for the #7 Toyota following collision with DeltaWing at the restart.

- Huge crash for Anthony Davidson in the #8 Toyota, leading to lengthy safety car period.

- #29 Gulf Racing Lola B12 the first official retirement.

- #40 hit with a two-minute stop and go penalty for second pitlane speeding offence.

- 30s pit stop penalties for #40 and #49 LMP2s for speeding in pitlane.

- Audi hits early niggles, with Tom Kristensen the third unexpected delay for the marque across its four cars.

- Early GTE Pro scrap between Corvette, Aston Martin and Ferrari.

- #99 Aston Martin Vantage suffers early misfire and then retires with damage.

POSITIONS AFTER 10 HOURS Pos Car Drivers Class Laps Gap 1. #1 Audi Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer LMP1 155 2. #2 Audi McNish/Capello/Kristensen LMP1 154 + 1 Lap 3. #4 Audi Jarvis/Bonanomi/Rockenfeller LMP1 154 + 3m27.221s 4. #12 Lola Prost/Heidfeld/Jani LMP1 150 + 5 Laps 5. #13 Lola Belicchi/Bleekemolen/Primat LMP1 149 + 6 Laps 6. #3 Audi Gene/Dumas/Duval LMP1 148 + 7 Laps 7. #44 HPD Potolicchio/Dalziel/K-Smith LMP2 145 + 10 Laps 8. #26 Oreca Ragues/Panciatici/Rusinov LMP2 145 + 42.719s 9. #49 Oreca Perez Companc/Kaffer/Ayari LMP2 145 + 43.705s 10. #22 HPD Brabham/Dumbreck/Chandhok LMP1 144 + 11 Laps 11. #23 Oreca Tresson/Mailleux/Lombard LMP2 144 + 1m33.642s 12. #38 Zytek Hancock/Dolan/Kurosawa LMP2 144 + 2m34.320s 13. #46 Oreca Thiriet/Beche/Tinseau LMP2 143 + 12 Laps 14. #48 Oreca Firth/Hartley/Hughes LMP2 143 + 1m02.115s 15. #30 Lola Sims/Buurman/Iannetta LMP2 143 + 1m56.284s 16. #33 HPD Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz LMP2 143 + 3m44.391s 17. #25 Oreca Martin/Charouz/Graves LMP2 143 + 4m20.295s 18. #21 HPD Leventis/Kane/Watts LMP1 142 + 13 Laps 19. #15 OAK Montagny/Kraihamer/Baguette LMP1 142 + 1.584s 20. #41 Zytek Zugel/Julian/Gonzalez LMP2 142 + 1m08.096s 21. #42 Zytek Brundle/Brundle/Ordonez LMP2 141 + 14 Laps 22. #40 Oreca Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry LMP2 140 + 15 Laps 23. #24 Morgan Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla LMP2 139 + 16 Laps 24. #31 Lola Holzer/Schultis/Moro LMP2 139 +23m55.073s 25. #74 Corvette Gavin/Westbrook/Milner GTEP 139 +24m48.078s 26. #51 Ferrari Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander GTEP 139 +25m49.708s 27. #45 Oreca Briere/Nakano/Petersen LMP2 138 + 17 Laps 28. #59 Ferrari Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher GTEP 138 + 2m00.623s 29. #73 Corvette Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor GTEP 138 + 2m13.985s 30. #97 Aston Mucke/Fernandez/Turner GTEP 137 + 18 Laps 31. #77 Porsche Lietz/Lieb/Henzler GTEP 137 + 14.174s 32. #35 Morgan H Hansson/Leinders/Martin LMP2 136 + 19 Laps 33. #67 Porsche Pons/Armindo/Narac GTEA 135 + 20 Laps 34. #50 Corvette Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy GTEA 135 + 1m16.515s 35. #66 Ferrari Walker/Cocker/Wills GTEP 134 + 21 Laps 36. #71 Ferrari Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci GTEP 134 + 3m22.191s 37. #57 Ferrari Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo GTEA 132 + 23 Laps 38. #61 Ferrari Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers GTEA 131 + 24 Laps 39. #58 Ferrari Ehret/Jeannette/Montecalvo GTEA 131 + 32.536s 40. #88 Porsche Ried/Roda/Ruberti GTEA 130 + 25 Laps 41. #70 Corvette Bourret/Gibon/Belloc GTEA 129 + 26 Laps 42. #75 Porsche al Faisal/Curtis/Edwards GTEA 128 + 27 Laps 43. #43 Norma Rosier/Haezebrouck/Thirion LMP2 126 + 29 Laps 44. #17 Dome Minassian/Bourdais/Ara LMP1 126 +13m12.022s 45. #55 Porsche Daniels/Palttala/Camathias GTEA 125 + 30 Laps 46. #7 Toyota Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima LMP1 125 + 2m06.791s 47. #79 Porsche Neiman/Pumpelly/Pilet GTEA 120 + 35 Laps 48. #83 Ferrari Rodrigues/Illiano/Ferte GTEA 119 + 36 Laps 49. #28 Lola Giroix/Badey/Johansson LMP2 92 + 63 Laps 50. #80 Porsche Bergmeister/Long/Holzer GTEP 114 + 41 Laps 51. #8 Toyota Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin LMP1 82 + 73 Laps 52. #0 DeltaWing Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama CDNT 75 + 80 Laps 53. #81 Ferrari Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin GTEA 70 + 85 Laps 54. #99 Aston Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen GTEA 31 + 124 Laps 55. #16 Pescarolo Collard/Bouillon/Hall LMP1 20 + 135 Laps 56. #29 Lola Ihara/Deletraz/Rostan LMP2 17 + 138 Laps 
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