Dawn over the Circuit de la Sarthe (Photo Credit: MacLean Photographic)

Dawn over the Circuit de la Sarthe (Photo Credit: MacLean Photographic)

The fifteenth hour of the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans finished with the #1 retaking the lead after benefiting from a lengthy safety car period.

The #1 Audi in the hands of Andre Lotterer had lost the lead at the end of hour fourteen after a spin, however he benefited from a prolonged safety car period to resume the lead from the #2 Audi.

Hour fifthteen saw the field behind a safety car for half an hour after an incident on track. The time was spent clearing the track and some cars took full advantage of the lengthy to change or repair various components. The safety car offered a get out of jail free card for Lotterer and the #1 Audi, as he was able to close the substancial gap to the #2 Audi and managed to retake the lead when McNish stopped.

On lap 223, halway through hour fifthteen, the 44 remaining runners resumed racing speeds, and it wasn’t long before we saw an incident. The #13 Rebellion Racing Lola of Harold Primat spun on cold tyres coming out of the Porsche Curves, and he was lucky not to hi the wall. He lost a lot of time trying to rejoin, and needed a hand from the marshalls to do so.

Lotterer will be thankful his mistake has seemingly gone unpunished, and as dawn broke and hour fifthteen ended he entered the pits as the leader of the race.

2012 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 15 hours:

LMP1
#1 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer – 231 laps
#2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Capello/Kristensen/McNish – 230 laps
#4 – Audi Sport North America – Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeler – 229 laps
#12 – Rebellion Racing – Prost/Jani/Heidfeld – 223 laps
#3 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Dumas/Duval/Gene – 222 laps

LMP2
#44 – Starworks Motorsports – Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith – 216 laps
#49 – Pecom Racing – Perez Companc/Ayari/Kaffer – 215 laps
#26 – Signatech Nissan – Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov – 215 laps
#46 – Thiriet by TDS Racing – Beche/Thiriet/Tinseua – 214 laps
#41 – Greaves Motorsport – Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian – 212 laps

LMGTE Pro
#51 – AF Corse – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – 205 laps
#97 – Aston Martin Racing – Fernadoz/Mucke/Turner – 204 laps
#59 – Luxury Racing – Makowiecki/melo/Farnbacher – 204 laps
#71 – AF Corse – Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci – 201 laps
#66 – JMW Motorsport – Walker/Cocker/Wills – 199 laps

LMGTE Am
#67 – Imsa Performance Matmut – Armindo/Narac/Pons – 200 laps
#50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy – 200 laps
#57 – Krohn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo – 197 laps
#88 – Team Felbermayr-Proton – Ried/Roda/Ruberti – 194 laps
#70 – Larbre Competition – Belloc/Bourret/Gibon – 190 laps