Audi have taken the lead for the first time this year in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Peugeot's slow collapse from having dominated the first four positions early on to suffering mechanical failures and mistakes was completed shortly after 7am local time when Franck Montagny brought the no.2 car to a halt on the Mulsanne straight with a blown turbo on his 908 diesel, fire belching from the right haunches of the car, which was leading at the time.

The latest misfortune handed the lead, improbably, to the no.9 Audi of Mike Rockenfeller/Romain Dumas/Timo Bernhard with the no.8 Audi in second, one lap behind. The sole remaining works Peugeot, the no.1 currently runs third (another lap adrift, but the fastest car on track), ahead the third works Audi.

The loss of yet another Peugeot seemed to spur on the no.1 car into one final challenge to try and rescue the race for Peugeot.

Just the overall leading LMP1 had troble so did the long term leader in the unofficial petrol division, the no.007 Lola-Aston Martin returning to the garage with gearbox problems, the team appearing content with simply looking at the rear of the car as the sister car – the no.009 edged ever closer to taking over the honour.

At almost the same time Montagny was coming to a smokey and frustrated end one of the GT2 Corvettes was pulling off the track further up the Mulsanne straight with its own mechanical problems. The pair of Corvettes have been the class of the field in GT2, leading almost the entire race, only brief battle breaking the dominance. However the demise of the Jan Magnussen/Johnny O'Connell/Antonio Garcia no.63 car let the Team Felbermayr-proton into second in class, one lap behind the now singleton Corvette, with the AF Corse entry including ex-F1 drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Jean Alesi currently third.

The hour also saw perhaps the final set-back for the Quifel ASM Team car, nosing into the tyre wall at Arnage only to be recovered and sent back on its way to have a bigger, more damaging accident in the Porsche curves that severely damaged the front of the Ginetta Zytek. At the close of hour the team remained fifth in class, but in the pits eating up the margin they held over Team Bruichladdich in another Ginetta Zytek.

Strakka Racing and Larbre Competition remain unchallenged in the lead of their respective classes, both holding two laps over their nearest competitors.

Class Top fives after 17 Hours

LMP1
No.9 Audi Sport North America
No.7 Audi Sport Team Joest
No.1 Team Peugeot Total
No.7 Audi Sport Team Joest
No.4 Team ORECA Matmut

LMP2
No.42 Strakka Racing
No.26 Highcroft Racing
No.35 OAK Racing
No.25 RML
No.40 Quifel ASM Team

LMGT1
No.50 Larbre Competition
No.73 Luc Alphand Aventures
No.52 Young Driver AMR
No.72 Luc Alphand Aventures
No.69 JLOC

LMGT2
No.64 Corvette Racing
No.77 Team Felbermayr-Proton
No.95 AF Corse
No.89 Hankook Team Farnbacher
No.97 BMW Scuderia Italia