The Peugeot challenge is over.
After both Anthony Davidson and Alex Wurz chased down the second place Audi, and increasingly seemed assured of at least the runner-up the no.1 slowed, pitted and was haled into the garage less than half-a-lap after a plume of smoke rose from the car as it exited Indianapolis.
The car, with Wurz on board crawled back to the pits, allowing the no.7 Audi into third fill the podium places with works Audi R15. Peugeot Sport boss Olivier Quesnel was visibly in tears as the car came toured back, Hughes de Chaunac offering his own commiserations to the team that he runs the privateer no.4 car for.
That car now remains the Peugeot's (or indeed anyone's) only realistic chance of breaking the apparent Audi domination, the multi-coloured car haing previously been gaining on the third and final of the open-cockpitted R15.
If was the end to a story that looked so promising for Peugeot. A gap of nearly three minutes between the Wurz in the no.1 car and Andre Lotterer's no.8 car all but evaporated when Lotterer nose the car into the tyre barriers at the slow Arnage corner. Once the car restarted smoke trailed from the car's front corner and it pitted for a new nose. As you'd expect from Audi the change was lightning fast, but Wurz caught and passed the Audi, before Wurz himself needed to make a pitstop.
The 908 had an obvious speed advantage, passing Lotterer when he, in turn, made a pitstop, and moving some way clear – moving the priority to unlapping himself from the leading no.9 car ahead of a final two hour attack to steal victory from the jaws of defeat.
That attack, however, ended before it had really begun.
The no.009 Aston is now all by secure in the role of best petrol powered car, a delay to the ORECA 01 putting the Soheil Ayari/Didier Andre/Andy Meyrick car 15 laps behind the gulf liveried machine.
Strakka Racing survived an unscheduled pitstop to maintain their imperious position at the head of LMP2, the Highcroft Racing entry marooned in the pits with engine problems, having fallen to seventh in class.
In there place had appeared OAK Racing – on course to continue their perfect record of class podiums at Le Mans and RML in third with an 18 lap gap back to fourth place.
The provisional podium team in LMGT2 are equally comfortable, barring incident or mechanical woes in the closing hours. Two laps separate leaders Felbermayr-Proton and chasers Hankook Team Farnbacher. They have seven laps in hand over third place, who run another seven laps ahead of fourth place – a battle scarred AF Corse Ferrari.
Class top fives after 22 hours
No.9 Audi Sport North America
No.8 Audi Sport Team Joest
No.7 Audi Sport Team Joest
No.4 Team ORECA Matmut
No.1 Team Peugeot Total
No.42 Strakka Racing
No.35 OAK Racing
No.24 OAK Racing
No.41 Team Bruichladdich
No.50 Larbre Competition
No.52 Young Driver AMR
No.72 Luc Alphand Aventures
No.77 Team Felbermayr-Proton
No.89 Hankook Team Farnbacher
No.97 BMS Scuderia Italia
No.95 AF Corse
No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut