LM24: H21: Audi and Duval three hours from victory

Loic Duval kept Audi on course for victory in the 81st running of the Le Mans 24 Hours as the race headed into its final three hours

LM24: H21: Audi and Duval three hours from victory

The Frenchman's #2 Audi has now led uninterrupted for more than half a day, hitting the front in the seventh hour when its sister #1 R18 hit alternator troubles.

That was also the catalyst for Toyota's move to second and third, positions the two TS030s continue to circulate in.

Their hold has weakened as the race has progressed, with Audi's superior dry-weather pace allowing the #3 car, currently in the hands of Oliver Jarvis, to close in.

The Briton ended the 21st hour just over one minute down the road from Nakajima, who had suffered a lurid off at the Dunlop chicane in the previous hour.

While Nakajima's hold on third therefore becomes more precarious, Davidson does at least have some breathing space, with almost one lap between his #8 TS030 and Jarvis's chasing Audi.

Behind that battle for the podium's final steps, Andre Lotterer took over in the recovering #1 Audi that now sits fifth overall, eight laps down on Jarvis.

LMP2 continues to be a likewise tense affair, with the two OAK Racing Morgan-Nissans still locked together on the lead lap.

The lead has changed hands countless times as the pitstops cycled through as a result, but at the close of the 21st hour it was Bertrand Baguette in the #35 car who was first, two minutes ahead of poleman Olivier Pla in the sister #24 machine.

Behind them, Michael Conway reclaimed third for the #26 G-Drive/Delta-ADR squad, which continues to outpace the more economical #42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan currently being driven by Michael Krumm.

The pair are less than two minutes apart heading into the final three hours.

It is even closer in GTE Pro, where Darren Turner's steady pursuit of the lead #92 Manthey Porsche means just 7s cover the top two runners in the class.

Marc Lieb has been able to react to Turner's charge, with the Briton therefore only gaining by fractions of a second each lap.

Jorg Bergmeister has kept the second factory Porsche on the lead lap in third overall, around two minutes down on his stable-mate.

Away from the lead battle there was drama when Matteo Malucelli's #51 AF Corse Ferrari was released into the path of the #45 LMP2 OAK Morgan-Nissan, nerfing the latter into a spin and causing damage to its left rear.

The incident is being investigated by the race stewards.

GTE Am also continues to be close, with just one lap between the long-term leading #76 Imsa Porsche and the chasing #55 AF Corse Ferrari, now in the hands of World Touring Car regular Darryl O'Young.

POSITIONS AFTER 21 HOURS

Pos Cl      Car       Drivers                         Laps  Gap
 1. P1  #2  Audi      Kristensen/McNish/Duval         305   
 2. P1  #8  Toyota    Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi         304   +     1 Lap
 3. P1  #7  Toyota    Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima          303   +    2 Laps
 4. P1  #3  Audi      Gene/Jarvis/di Grassi           303   + 1m14.891s
 5. P1  #1  Audi      Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler       295   +   10 Laps
 6. P1  #21 HPD       Leventis/Kane/Watts             291   +   14 Laps
 7. P2  #35 Morgan    Baguette/Plowman/Gonzalez       287   +   18 Laps
 8. P2  #24 Morgan    Pla/Brundle/H Hansson           287   + 2m01.888s
 9. P2  #26 Oreca     Rusinov/Martin/Conway           286   +   19 Laps
10. P2  #42 Zytek     Krumm/Mardenborough/Ordonez     286   + 1m54.616s
11. P2  #49 Oreca     P-Companc/Kaffer/Minassian      284   +   21 Laps
12. P2  #46 Oreca     Thiriet/Badey/Martin            283   +   22 Laps
13. P2  #43 Morgan    Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard       280   +   25 Laps
14. P2  #38 Zytek     Dolan/Turvey/Luhr               280   +   18.174s
15. P2  #48 Oreca     Hartley/Chandhok/Patterson      278   +   27 Laps
16. P2  #36 Alpine    Ragues/Panciatici/Gommendy      276   +   29 Laps
17. GTP #92 Porsche   Lieb/Lietz/Dumas                276   + 1m46.408s
18. GTP #97 Aston     Mucke/Turner/Dumbreck           276   + 1m56.239s
19. P2  #34 Oreca     Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen   275   +   30 Laps
20. GTP #91 Porsche   Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard      275   +   46.997s
21. GTP #71 Ferrari   Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander      273   +   32 Laps
22. GTP #74 Corvette  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook          272   +   33 Laps
23. GTP #51 Ferrari   Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli      272   +   38.198s
24. GTP #73 Corvette  Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor         272   + 2m54.460s
25. P2  #41 Zytek     Rossi/K-Smith/Lux               268   +   37 Laps
26. GTP #53 SRT       Farnbacher/Goossens/Dalziel     267   +   38 Laps
27. GTA #76 Porsche   Narac/Vernay/Bourret            267   +   28.050s
28. P1  #12 Lola      Prost/Jani/Heidfeld             266   +   39 Laps
29. GTA #55 Ferrari   Perazzini/O'Young/Case          266   + 20m57.043s
30. GTA #61 Ferrari   Gerber/Griffin/Cioci            266   + 22m40.708s
31. GTA #77 Porsche   Dempsey/Foster/Long             266   + 23m34.198s
32. P1  #13 Lola      Beche/Belicchi/Cheng            264   +   41 Laps
33. GTA #50 Corvette  Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor         264   +   30.814s
34. GTP #93 SRT       Wittmer/Kendall/Bomarito        264   + 1m00.287s
35. GTA #67 Porsche   Gibon/Milesi/Henzler            263   +   42 Laps
36. GTA #96 Aston     Goethe/Campbell-Walter/Hall     263   + 1m05.220s
37. GTP #66 Ferrari   Bertolini/Faisal/Qubaisi        262   +   43 Laps
38. P2  #40 Oreca     Dagoneau/Downs/Younessi         262   + 1m51.427s
39. GTA #75 Porsche   Collard/Perrodo/Crubile         261   +   44 Laps
40. GTA #88 Porsche   Ried/Roda/Ruberti               260   +   45 Laps
41. GTA #81 Ferrari   Potolicchio/Aguas/Bright        256   +   49 Laps
42. P2  #45 Morgan    Nicolet/Merlin/Mondolot         246   +   59 Laps
43. P2  #39 Lola      Porta/Brandela/Raffin           243   +   62 Laps
44. P2  #33 HPD       Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe       240   +   65 Laps
45. GTA #70 Corvette  MacNeil/Rodrigues/Dumas         230   +   75 Laps
46. GTP #99 Aston     Makowiecki/Senna/Bell           248   Retired
47. P2  #47 Morgan    Imperatori/Howson/Tung          241   Retired
48. GTP #98 Aston     Dalla Lana/Lamy/Auberlen        221   Retired
49. P2  #32 Lotus     Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz        219   Retired
50. P2  #30 Lola      Mowlem/Burgess/Hirschi          153   Retired
51. GTA #54 Ferrari   Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank        147   Retired
52. GTA #57 Ferrari   Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani           111   Retired
53. P2  #25 Oreca     Graves/Hamilton/Nakano          101   Retired
54. P2  #28 Lola      Giroix/Haezebrouck/Ihara        22    Retired
55. P2  #31 Lotus     Weeda/Rossiter/Bouchut          17    Retired
56. GTA #95 Aston     Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen        2     Retired
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LM24 H20: Loic Duval still leads by nearly two laps for Audi
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