For the second time during the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans the field is behind the safety car following a massive crash involving one of the Audi R18.
In the gathering gloom of dusk at Le Mans Mike Rockenfeller clipped the AF Corse Ferrari of Rob Kauffman. In an impact eerily similar to what happened to Allan McNish in the first hour the Audi was flung left into the metal guardrail, shedding part as it span across the track to come to rest on drivers' right.
Reportedly Rockenfeller was able to climb from the car under his own power and get to the non-track side of the barrier to safety.
Meanwhile, Andre Lotterer still leads in what is now the sole surviving R18. The trio of Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer had, before the safety car got into a position where they could pit and remain in the lead, snapping the streak of sequences when the no.7 Peugeot was able to take the lead.
Audi briefly held a 1-2 before Rockenfeller's accident, the German having taken advantage of Marc Gene outbraking himself at Arnage in the no.7 Peugeot. Gene was able to carry on undamaged, but slipped to third.
Team ORECA Matmut continue to lead in LMP2 now holding a lap advantage over the Greaves Motorsport Ginetta which has moved into second place. After picking up a one second stop-go in the previous hour Strakka Racing run third in class.
The no.74 Corvette continues to lead GTE-Pro, as it has done consistently throughout the race, now with the AF Corse no.51 in second place despite Toni Vilander putting the car in the gravel earlier in the race. The no.56 BMW which had challenged for the lead during the first six hours was pulled into the garage during the seventh hour, sliding down the order to eighth in class before rejoining.
Less fortunate was the Jota Vantage, the garage door being pulled down to signal another retirement in an increasingly embarrassing 24 Hours for Aston Martin.
GTEAm is headed by two Larbre Competition entries, the Porsche beating the French team's Corvette.
2011 24 Hours of Le Mans standings after eight hours:
No.2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
No.7 – Peugeot Sport Total – Davidson/Gene/Wurz
No.8 – Peugeot Sport Total – Minassian/Montagny/Sarrazin
No.48 – Team ORECA Matmut – Hallyday/Kraihamer/Premat
No.41 – Greaves Motorsport – Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard
No.42 – Strakka Racing – Leventis/Kane/Watts
No.74 – Corvette Racing – Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook
No.51 – AF Corse – Bruni/Fisichella/Vilander
No.75 – Prospeed Competition – Goossens/Holzer/van Lagen
No.70 – Larbre Competion – Belloc/Bourret/Gibon
No.50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel
No.57 – Krohn Racing – Jonsson/Krohn/Rugolo