Audi R18 e-tron quattro - Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

#1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro - Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

The pole-sitting #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro leads the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans after the opening hour of the race.

Andre Lotterer enjoyed a trouble-free start to the race in the leading car, although the same cannot be said for all of the German  marque's four challengers.

Audi took an early top three lockout after Allan McNish in the #2 passed the #8 Toyota of Stephane Sarrazin at the Esses on the first lap.

Lap nine saw the first of the frontrunners come in to the pits – the two Toyotas followed by the #4 Audi ultra of Mike Rockenfeller. While the Toyotas rejoined, Audi pulled the #4 into the garage, rejoining a lap down when the two e-tron cars of Lotterer and McNish came in.

The #3 ultra of Loic Duval stayed out in the lead for an extra lap before making its stop, but it picked up a left rear puncture on its out lap, causing it to come in for a change of tyres. That knocked it down to fifth, behind the Toyotas of Wurz and Sarrazin.

The Strakka HPD had been due to start seventh as the top privateer LMP1, but was pushed back to the garage before the start and started the race six laps down.  The Rebellion Lolas inherited the top non-factory positions. The JRM HPD, Pescarolo Dome and OAK LMP1 fought for ninth early on, but the Dome joined its sister car in the Pescarolo garage.

The ADR Delta car maintained the LMP2 lead from pole early on, but dropped back at the stops when the #24 OAK of Olivier Pla moved into the lead.

The DeltaWing had started in the middle of the LMP2 pack, but dropped to the back of that group once the race got underway.

Stefan Mucke took the lead of GTE Pro for Aston Martin, but as the stops took place it was the #51 AF Corse Ferrari that led after a fine fightback from Toni Vilander following the car's shunt earlier in the week. The #79 Flying Lizards Porsche leads GTE Am.

LMP1

  1. #1 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer – 17 laps
  2. #2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – McNish/Capello/Kristensen – 17 laps
  3. #7 – Toyota Racing – Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima – 17 laps
  4. #8 – Toyota Racing – Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin – 17 laps
  5. #3 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Dumas/Duval/Gene – 17 laps

LMP2

  1. #24 – Oak Racing – Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla – 16 laps
  2. #46 – Thiriet by TDS Racing – Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau – 16 laps
  3. #49 – Pecom Racing – Perez Companc/Ayari/Kaffer – 16 laps
  4. #35 – Oak Racing – Heinemeier Hansson/Leinders/Martin- 16 laps
  5. #44 – Starworks Motorsport – Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith- 16 laps

LMGTE Pro

  1. #51 – AF Corse – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – 15 laps
  2. #97 – Aston Martin Racing – Fernandez/Mucke/Turner – 15 laps
  3. #74 – Corvette Racing – Gavin/Milner/Westbrook – 15 laps
  4. #71 – AF Corse – Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci – 15 laps
  5. #77 – Team Felbermayr-Proton – Lieb/Lietz/Henzler – 15 laps

LMGTE Am

  1. #79 – Flying Lizards Motorsports – Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly – 15 laps
  2. #99 – Aston Martin Racing – Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen – 15 laps
  3. #81 – AF Corse – Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin – 15 laps
  4. #75 – Prospeed Competition – Alfaisal/Curtis/Edwards – 15 laps
  5. #67 – Imsa Performance Matmut – Armindo/Narac/Pons –  15 laps