Loic Duval moved the #3 into fourth place (Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport)

Loic Duval moved the #3 into fourth place (Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport)

For the first time in the race Audi have the top four places in the 80th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The final man to move into the top four places Loic Duval, driving the #3 Audi R18 ultra that was delayed by two separate incidents earlier in the race – both with Romain Dumas in the car. Duval passed the #12 Rebellion Racing Lola on the front straight to move into fourth place during a succession of incredibly fast laps including the new fastest lap of the race (3:25.165).

At the front of the Audi train the #1 continues to lead, holding an advantage of over a minute at the end of the hour over the #2 as the two Audi e-tron Quattro maintain their stranglehold at the front of the race.

Starworks Motorsports lead LMP2 with a lap lead over the Pecom Racing ORECA 03. The ADR-Delta car – which started the race from class pole and led the class in the early stages of the race has moved back inside the top five in class. The Level 5 Motorsports car – on the other hand – slipped down the order after stopping between Arnage and the Porsche Curves.

There was also a problem for the #88 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche running the LMGTE Am class which stopped on the Mulsanne Straight and was pulled back behind the barriers by marshals. Also with problems was the #61 AF Corse-Waltrip Ferrari. Brian Vickers ran wide at Tertre Rouge, resulting in (or caused by) a blown tyre, the remains of which caught fire on the left-front corner as he returned to the pits.

The flames were put out by fire marshals in the pitlane, the damage apparently cosmetic enough for the AF Corse team to begin to fix the car almost immediately to return the car to the race.

Imsa Performance Matmut continue to lead the Am class, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari holding on to its margin in the Pro ranks.

2012 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 17 hours:

LMP1
#1 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer – 266 laps
#2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Capello/Kristensen/McNish – 266 laps
#4 – Audi Sport North America – Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller – 264 laps
#3 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Dumas/Duval/Gene – 258 laps
#12 – Rebellion Racing – Prost/Jani/Heidfeld – 257 laps

LMP2
#44 – Starworks Motorsports – Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith – 249 laps
#49 – Pecom Racing – Perez Companc/Ayari/Kaffer – 248 laps
#26 – Signatech Nissan – Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov – 248 laps
#46 – Thiriet by TDS Racing – Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau – 248 laps
#25 – ADR-Delta – Martin/Charouz/Graves – 246 laps

LMGTE Pro
#51 – AF Corse – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – 236 laps
#59 – Luxury Racing – Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher – 235 laps
#97 – Aston Martin Racing – Fernandez/Mucke/Turner – 233 laps
#71 – AF Corse – Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci = 232 laps
#43 – Corvette Racing – Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen – 229 laps

LMGTE Am
#67 – Imsa Performance Matmut – Armindo/Narac/Pons – 231 laps
#50 – Larbre Competition  – Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy – 230 laps
#57 – Krihn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo – 227 laps
#88 – Team Felbermayr-Proton – Reid/Roda/Ruberti – 222 laps
#70 – Larbre Competition – Belloc/Bourret/Gibon – 218 laps