The third hour of the race the 2010 Le Mans 24 Hours claim its first high-profile victim, the no.3 Peugeot 908 or Sebastien Bourdais/Pedro Lamy/Simon Pagenaud forced into retirement by a suspension failure after 38 laps.

The car was spotted smoking down the Mulsanne with what appeared to be a front-right puncture and though Pedro Lamy was able to bring the car back without anymore visible damage – in stark contrast to twelve months ago when Lamy destroyed the rear of his car after another puncture.

The car was placed on the 'dollies' and pushed back into the garage. A brief scurry of action in the pits followed as the team took apart the front of the erstwhile pole sitter and early race leader, but only minutes later Peugeot Sport's Olivier Quesnel was able to confirm the car was “finished” in a TV interview. Later reports suggested the front suspension had become detached from the car's tub.

The incident happened just as McNish had rejoined the rear of ORECA's Peugeot before the Audi's pitstop. The retirement of Lamy promoted Lapierre to third with McNish once more adrift after he handed the no.7 car to Tom Kristensen.

Troubles, though seemingly less serious, also struck the Drayson Racing Lola-Judd. Paul Drayson had started the car, but handed the car to regular teammate Jonny Cocker, who was out of the car shortly afterwards as the no.11 was wheeled back into the pits after the car had picked up a vibration.

The lead in the other classes remained unchanged, the only major delay to any of the previous front runners befalling the no.40 Quifel ASM slipping down from third in class after a delay in the pits.

The hour ended in drama – Peter Dumbreck running wide at Indianapolis in the Spyker, then less than half a lap later running into the LMP2 Norma-Judd as one of the leading Audi R15s tried to find it's way though.

Both the Norma and Spyker hit the barrier on the outside of the Porsche Curves, the Norma loisng it's rear wing and it smeared along the barrier, stopping on the outside of the track a few corners later before making it back to the pits with it's front-left wheel cocked high, the beginning of a long delay, if not a retirement for the small French squad.

Class top fives after three hours

LMP1
No.2 Team Peugeot Total
No.1 Team Peugeot Total
No.4 ORECA Team Matmut
No.7 Audi Sport Team Joest
No.9 Audi Sport North America

LMP2
No.42 Stakka Racing
No.26 HIghcroft Racing
No.25 RML
No.35 OAK Racing
No.40 Quifel ASM Team

LMGT1
No.60 Matech Competition
No.52 Young Driver AMR
No.73 Luc Alphand Aventures
No.61 Matech Competition
No.72 Luc Alphand Aventures

LMGT2
No.64 Corvette Racing
No.63 Corvette Racing
No.82 Risi Competizione
No.76 IMSA Performance Matmut
No.77 Team Felbermayr-Proton