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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LM24 H22: Audi stays in command, wrests third from Toyota

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