LM24 Hour 12: Audi edging back, Hartley still in fourth place

Autosport

Audi closed the gap to Toyota at the front of the Le Mans 24 Hours as the race reached its halfway stage.

The #2 Audi of Andre Lotterer brought the gap to the leading #7 Toyota back under two minutes in the 12th hour of the race, partly thanks to the Japanese car taking new tyres when Stephane Sarrazin took over from Alexander Wurz

Audi did not change tyres, but did make a small adjustment to the aero on the front of Lotterer’s car, meaning he did not gain as much time in the pits as would normally be the case when not taking new rubber.

Once the cars were back on track Lotterer was able to chip away at the Toyota’s lead despite being on older rubber, getting it down to around 1m55s at the turn of the hour.

The #1 Audi, which was running third, hit trouble right at the end of the hour. Tom Kristensen slowed on his outlap after a pitstop before coming to almost a halt with a total lack of power. He got going again, but could only tour round and crawl back to the pits.

In LMP2 the #35 OAK-run G-Drive Ligier continued to lead in the hands of Alex Brundle, who upped the pace along with second place runner Paul-Loup Chatin during a brief spell of personal best laptimes for both cars, which were separated by nearly a minute and a half.

Aston Martin edged away from the squabbling lead Corvette and Ferrari to strengthen its grip on both GTE classes.

Bruno Senna was never really challenged as the race edged towards the midway mark, and as Tommy Milner slipped back his Corvette came under increasing pressure from Tony Vilander’s AF Corse 458 Italia.

Vilander pressured the American a couple of times on the run down the Mulsanne straight, but was unable to depose the Corvette from second.

It means the GTE Pro class remains in situ from before, only Giancarlo Fisichella is now abord the Ferrari and Richard Westbrook has replaced Milner in the C7.R.

In GTE Am it is more of the same. David Heinemeier Hansson consistently increased the lead of the #95 Aston Martin as Alexsey Basov continued to run second for the SMP Ferrari squad. The erstwhile leadering outfit, the #98 Aston, returned to the fray after long-running issues, which lost it more than 10 laps.

POSITIONS AFTER 12 HOURS

Pos Cl       Car       Drivers                              Laps  Gap
 1. LMP1 #7  Toyota    Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima               187  
 2. LMP1 #2  Audi      Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer            186  +      1 Lap
 3. LMP1 #1  Audi      Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen            185  +     2 Laps
 4. LMP1 #20 Porsche   Bernhard/Webber/Hartley              184  +     3 Laps
 5. LMP1 #14 Porsche   Dumas/Jani/Lieb                      181  +     6 Laps
 6. LMP1 #8  Toyota    Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi              175  +    12 Laps
 7. LMP2 #35 Ligier    Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy   173  +    14 Laps
 8. LMP2 #36 Alpine    Chatin/Panciatici/Webb               172  +    15 Laps
 9. LMP2 #46 Ligier    Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy               172  +  1m58.804s
10. LMP2 #34 Oreca     Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster              172  +  3m31.312s
11. LMP2 #38 Zytek     Dolan/Tincknell/Turvey               171  +    16 Laps
12. LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost/Heidfeld/Beche                 170  +    17 Laps
13. LMP2 #43 Morgan    Klien/Hirsch/Brandela                169  +    18 Laps
14. LMP2 #24 Oreca     Rast/Charouz/Capillaire              169  +  1m29.577s
15. LMP2 #33 Ligier    Cheng/Tung/Fong                      168  +    19 Laps
16. GTEP #97 Aston     Turner/Mucke/Senna                   164  +    23 Laps
17. GTEP #51 Ferrari   Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella            164  +  1m27.121s
18. GTEP #74 Chevrolet Gavin/Milner/Westbrook               164  +  1m43.643s
19. GTEP #92 Porsche   Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz              164  +  2m43.562s
20. LMP2 #42 Zytek     Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson           164  +  3m43.606s
21. LMP2 #29 Morgan    Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel            163  +    24 Laps
22. GTEP #73 Chevrolet Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor              163  +  3m31.058s
23. GTEA #95 Aston     Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Thiim     162  +    25 Laps
24. GTEA #72 Ferrari   Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov              161  +    26 Laps
25. LMP2 #50 Morgan    Ragues/Taylor/Ihara                  161  +  1m20.121s
26. GTEA #88 Porsche   Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi              161  +  3m32.086s
27. GTEA #61 Ferrari   Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi          160  +    27 Laps
28. LMP2 #27 Oreca     Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin                  160  +  2m51.833s
29. GTEA #90 Ferrari   Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti              159  +    28 Laps
30. GTEA #57 Ferrari   Krohn/Jonsson/Collins                159  +    49.279s
31. GTEA #77 Porsche   Dempsey/Foster/Long                  159  +  1m04.031s
32. GTEA #70 Ferrari   Nakano/Ehret/Rich                    158  +    29 Laps
33. GTEA #66 Ferrari   Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly            157  +    30 Laps
34. GTEA #76 Porsche   Narac/Armindo/Hallyday               157  +  1m11.712s
35. GTEA #58 Ferrari   Barthez/Pons/Ayari                   157  +  1m53.262s
36. GTEA #67 Porsche   Maris/Merlin/Helary                  156  +    31 Laps
37. GTEA #98 Aston     Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard              154  +    33 Laps
38. GTEP #79 Porsche   MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen           152  +    35 Laps
39. GTEA #53 Ferrari   Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton            147  +    40 Laps
40. GTEA #75 Porsche   Perrodo/Collard/Palttala             139  +    48 Laps
41. GTEA #62 Ferrari   Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank             136  +    51 Laps
42. GTEP #91 Porsche   Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy              134  +    53 Laps
43. GTEP #52 Ferrari   Griffin/Parente/Leo                  125  +    62 Laps
44. LMP2 #26 Morgan    Rusinov/Pla/Canal                    120  Retired
45. GTEA #60 Ferrari   Mann/Case/Giammaria                  115  Retired
46. LMP2 #47 Oreca     Howson/Bradley/Imperatori            87  Retired
47. LMP1 #13 Rebellion Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer            73  Retired
48. LMP2 #48 Oreca     Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok            73  Retired
49. LMP2 #41 Zytek     Munemman/Latif/Winslow               31  Retired
50. GTEP #71 Ferrari   Rigon/Kaffer/Beretta                 28  Retired
51. LMP1 #3  Audi      Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis          25  Retired
52. GTEA #81 Ferrari   Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird                    22  Retired
53. LMP2 #37 Oreca     Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani            9   Retired
54. CDNT #0  Nissan    Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama                5   Retired

LM24 Hour 12: Audi edging back, Hartley still in fourth place

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