Corvette Racing's dominant showing at the head of the GTEPro class has come to an end with Jan Magnussen crashing on the approach for the Ford Chicane.
Magnussen was trying to pass the GTEAm Proton Competition, reportedly driven by Horst Felbermayr Sr. at the time, but the Dane's Corvette snapped right into the side of the Porsche, pushing both first into the right hand wall, then across the track and into the wall on the left of the track.
Magnussen backed into the wall, tearing the rear of the no.74 Corvette apart, while Felbermayr struck the concrete wall side on.
The crash – and the debris from it – brought out the safety car for the fifth time, once more bunching up the lead battle.
Again, however, pit strategy intervened Sebastien Bourdais bringing the no.9 Peugeot in from the lead for a driver change to hand over to Simon Pagenaud. The stop, dropped the car not only out of the lead but back behind a different safety car train.
As the lengthy safety car continued – crews tending to Felbermayr Sr. – both no.7 and no.2 made their own pitstops, shuffling Pagenaud back into the lead.
In better new for Corvette fans the GTEAm example run by Larbre Competition now leads that class having passed the Flying Lizard Motorsports car. The Porsche lost time with an off at Mulsanne Corner, followed by a pitstop but still maintained the lead until the Corvette got past on the track.
The Lizards car – Spencer Pumpelly back in the car after Seth Neiman had the off – is now second, with Larbre's Porsche in third.
In GTEPro AF Corse have taken the lead from the stricken Corvette, though the other Compuware backed car is now in second place, after surviving its own brush with the tyre wall at Arnage.
Greaves Motorsport still lead LMP2 in ninth overall, with the Signatech Nissan ORECA 03 in second and Level 5 Motorsport in third with their Lola Coupe.
2011 24 Hours of Le Mans standings after seventeen hours:
No.9 – Peugeot Sport Total – Bourdais/Lamy/Pagenaud
No.7 – Peugeot Sport Total – Davidson/Gene/Wurz
No.2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
No.41 – Greaves Motorsport – Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard
No.26 – Signatech – Mailleux/Ordonez/Ayari
No.33 – Level 5 Motorsport – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa
No.51 – AF Corse SRL – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander
No.73 – Corvette Racing – Beretta/Milner/Garcia
No.80 – Flying Lizard Motorsports – Bergmeister/Long/Luhr
No.50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel
No 81 – Flying Lizard Motorsports – Neiman/Law/Pumpelly
No.70 – Larbre Competition – Bourret/Gibon/Belloc