Starworks Motorsports have a lap lead in LMP2 (Photo Credit Rolex/Stephan Cooper)

Starworks Motorsports have a lap lead in LMP2 (Photo Credit Rolex/Stephan Cooper)

The pair of Audi R18 e-tron quattro are battling for the overall lead of the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans, drivers Marcel Fassler and Dindo Capello swapping the lead as each made a pitstop.

Fassler inherited the lead when Capello brought the #2 into the pits for a scheduled stop, but the Italian regained the lead at the end of the hour when Fassler made his own pitstop in #1 hybrid.

The four Audi's remain in lock step in the top four positions, pulling away from the petrol powered privateers behind. The privateer sub class is still led by the #12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota, Nick Heidfeld one of a number of drivers to record their – and their car's – best lap of the race so far, the former F1 driver lapping the Circuit de la Sarthe in 3:30.815.

For the other Rebellion entry there was the promise of a long stay in the garage, pitting from sixth overall for the team to replace the clutch on the #13. Further down the LMP1 order Strakka Racing's comeback suffered another set back, Danny Watts spinning the car in pursuit of JRM's HPD – the next LMP1 car up the order – before he had to bring the car to the pits for an unscheduled stop.

To make matters worse despite struggles pulling away from his pits after taking over the car Karun Chandhok set the best lap for JRM (3:34.331) as he runs a somewhat distant sixth in class.

The delay for the #13 Rebellion car lifted the LMP2 leader – Starworks Motorsports up into seventh overall.

The hour in LMP2 began with a battle between the #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing car and the Signatech Nissan #26 of Pierre Raques. Ragues lost out in what was a battle for third in class at the time, but the #46 was soon in second place after the Pecom Racing ORECA speared into the Indianapolis gravel and subsequently pitted, losing more time and slipping back to third in class, splitting the battling pair.

Also slipping down the order was the #71 AF Corse Ferrari which dropped to fifth in GTE Pro behind the #73 Corvette.

Defending class champions Larbre Competition lead GTE AM, but only nine seconds split the #50 Corvette and the Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche in second place in class.

2012 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 19 hours:

#2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Capello/Kristensen/McNish – 300 laps
#1 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer – 300 laps
#4 – Audi Sport North America – Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller – 298 laps
#3 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Dumas/Duval/Gene – 292 laps
#12 – Rebellion Racing – Prost/Jani/Heidfeld – 291 laps

#44 – Starworks Motorsports – Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith – 281 laps
#46 – Thiriet by TDS Racing – Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau – 280 laps
#49 – Pecom Racing – Perez Companc/Ayari/Kaffer – 280 laps
#26 – Signatech Nissan – Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov – 280 laps
#25 – ADR-Delta – Martin/Charouz/Graves – 277 laps

#51 – AF Corse – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – 266 laps
#59 – Luxury Racing – Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher – 265 laps
#97 – Aston Martin Racing – Fernandez/Mucke/Turner – 263 laps
#73 – Corvette Racing – Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen – 259 laps
#71 – AF Corse – Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci – 257 laps

#50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy – 260 laps
#67 – Imsa Performance Matmut – Armindo/Narac/Pons – 260 laps
#57 – Krohn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo – 256 laps
#70 – Larbre Competition – Belloc/Bourret/Gibon – 246 laps
#79 – Flying Lizard Motorsports – Neiman/Piley/Pumpelly – 246 laps