After one quarter distance the two remaining work Peugeot 908s remain at the head of the Le Mans 24 Hours the two remaining works Peugeots remained in the lead with the privateer ORECA car rounding out a podium full of the French marque.
However, the race had continued it's astonishing pace and continued to add to the retirements, incidents and accidents of the earlier hours of the race.
None of these drama was potentially more important than when Tom Kristensen span his no.7 Audi into the gravel entering the Porsche curves. The Dane had been trying to pass the no.79 BMW M3 Art Car of Andy Priaulx and the multiple world champion limped the GT2 car back to the pits with another problem, However, as Priaulx, naturally moved off the racing line at the apex of the right-handed Kristensen, instead of passing to the right attempted to go around the outside, spinning into the gravel and doing minor damage to the rear of the car he shares with Allam McNish and Dindo Capello.
The car, fourth at the time of the accident slumped to seventh after the delay of recovering the car from the gravel and then the team performing repairs.
The incident saw tempers flare in the most German way in the pits, Dr. Ulrich of Audi marching to the front of Priaulx's garage, berating Schnitzer's Charlie Lamm and his team to distinctly unruffled reactions from the no.73 squad.
Audi were to cause more drama in the pits Timo Bernhard in the no.9 car hitting a photographer in the pit lane as he swung in for a scheduled pitstop.
On track drama was almost entirely reserved to the LMGT2 category, with the familiar close battles reappearing as the no.82 Risi Competizione Ferrari and no.64 Corvette swapping the lead back and fourth, the Risi car, defending class champion having been the first car to break the Corvette's stranglehold on the top two places in the fourth hour.
The relatively high attrition rate continued. The All-female Matech Competition Ford GT came to firey end on the Mulsanne straight after what was described as an oil system problem, driver Natacha Gachnang pulling the car over an bailing out as flames emerged from the rear bodywork.
Also adding to the retirements were the JMW Motorsport Aston Martin, third driver American Bryce Miller retiring the car, calling out the Safety Car for the second time in the race.
Even under the Safety Car incidents continued, Manu Rodrigues spinning the Kolles Audi R10 nose first into the barrier (as happened to the team last year, though with less damage) while Nick Leventis span the LMP2 leading Strakka Racing HDP ARX01 into the gravel at the Dunlop chicane. While marshals were able to quickly recover the car and the Briton continued the spin did hand the class lead to the American Highcroft Racing team for the first time in the race.
Class top fives
No.2 Team Peugeot Total
No.1 Team Peugeto Total
No.4 Team ORECA Matmut
No.8 Audi Sport Team Joest
No.9 Audi Sport North America
No.26 Highcroft Racing
No.42 Stakka Racing
No.35 OAK Racing
No.40 Quifel ASM Team
No.60 Matech Competition
No.72 Luc Alphand Aventures
No. 50 Larbre Competition
No.73 Luc Alphand Aventures
No.52 Young Driver AMR
No.82 Risi Competizione
No.64 Corvette Racing
No.63 Corvette Racing
No.77 Team Felbermayr-Proton
No.95 AF Corse
List of official, confirmed, retirements, by race number
No.3 Peugeot Sport Total – Peugeot 908
No.5 Beechdean Mansell – Ginetta Zytek
No.19 Michael Lewis/Autocon – Lola AER
No.29 Racing Box – Lola-Judd coupe
No.38 Pegasus Racing – Norma-Judd
No.61 Matech Competition – Ford GT
No.70 Marc VDS – Ford GT
No.80 Flying Lizard Motorsports – Porsche 997
No.81 Jaguar RSR – Jaguar XKR GT2
No.91 JMW Motorsport – Aston Martin Vantage