#2 Audi - Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

The #2 leads... just - Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

The first and second-placed cars in the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans were separated by just over a second at the three-quarters point of the race.

Marcel Fassler got back into the race-leading #1 at the start of the hour in place of Andre Lotterer, but instantly had a hairy moment when he ran wide and through the gravel at Mulsanne Corner after encountering a Larbre Corvette stranded on the outside of the corner. Contact with the tyre wall gave him some rear-end bodywork damage.

Tom Kristensen in the second-placed #2 then took his turn to have some drama, tipping the #55 JWA-Avila Porsche into a spin at the very same corner.

Fassler later brought his car into the pits, and his car was taken into the garage for some new rear bodywork. He quickly rejoined, but Kristensen was already into the lead.

At the end of the hour Kristensen made a pitstop and rejoined just ahead of Fassler. Fassler made a move under braking at the Forza chicane, but outbraked himself and ran through the gravel. That ensured that Kristensen held top spot with six hours remaining.

Marco Bonanomi has taken over in the #4 Audi ultra from Oliver Jarvis, and is a lap off the lead. Loic Duval has continued to set the fastest laps of the race in the #3, eight laps off the lead.

Elsewhere, things are largely unchanged. Rebellion Racing hold places five and six, ahead of the JRM HPD, the LMP2-leading Starworks HPD and the Strakka HPD.

The #51 AF Corse Ferrari continues to head GTE Pro, two laps ahead of the #59 Luxury Ferrari and another two ahead of the #97 Aston Martin.

In GTE Am, Pedro Lamy of Labre heads Raymond Narac by just 15 seconds.

2012 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 18 hours:

LMP1

  1. #2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – McNish/Capello/Kristensen – 283 laps
  2. #1 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer – 283 laps
  3. #4 – Audi Sport Team North America – Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller – 282 laps
  4. #3 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Dumas/Duval/Gene – 275 laps
  5. #12 – Rebellion Racing – Prost/Jani/Heidfeld- 274 laps

LMP2

  1. #44 – Starworks Motorsport – Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith – 265 laps
  2. #49 – Pecom Racing – Perez Companc/Ayari/Kaffer- 265 laps
  3. #46 – Thiriet by TDS Racing – Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau – 264 laps
  4. #26 – Signatech Nissan – Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov – 264 laps
  5. #25 – ADR-Delta – Martin/Charouz/Graves – 261 laps

LMGTE Pro

  1. #51 – AF Corse – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – 251 laps
  2. #59 – Luxury Racing – Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher – 250 laps
  3. #97 – Aston Martin Racing – Fernandez/Turner/Mucke – 248 laps
  4. #71 – AF Corse – Bertolini/Cioci/Beretta – 247 laps
  5. #73 – Corvette Racing – Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen – 245 laps

LMGTE Am

  1. #50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy – 245 laps
  2. #67 – Imsa Performance Matmut – Armindo/Narac/Pons –  245 laps
  3. #57 – Krohn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo – 241 laps
  4. #70 – Larbre Competition – Belloc/Bourret/Gibon- 232 laps
  5. #79 – Flying Lizard Motorsports – Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly – 231 laps