#67 Porsche - Photo Credit: Porsche AG

While the Audis were self-destructing upfront, the IMSA Porsche took charge in GTE Am - Photo Credit: Porsche AG

The 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans saw drama as the race headed towards the last couple of hours, with Allan McNish crashing the #2 car out of the lead just minutes after Audi teammate Marc Gene had also found the barriers in the #3.

Gene crashed at the same point that co-driver Romain Dumas had earlier in the race, sliding off track at the Forza chicane and landing in the tyre barrier. Like Dumas he was able to get going again, but with very broken-looking suspension.

As Gene was crawling back to the pits, McNish found the Armco barriers at the Porsche curves after encountering a slower Ferrari. The amount of debris at the two crash sites warranted the safety car's intervention.

McNish got back to the pits and his crew repaired the damage within ten minutes to rejoin in second place behind the #1 car of Benoit Treluyer. It finished the hour still on the lead lap.

The #3 was turned around in a similarly miraculous short amount of time to rejoin in fifth, ending the hour only a lap behind the fourth-placed Rebellion Lola.

Starworks remain in the lead of LMP2 in seventh overall, with AF Corse's #51 still on for a heroic result in the lead of GTE Pro after its car-wrecking crash earlier in the week.

In GTE Am the battle between Larbre and Imsa raged on, with Imsa's Raymond Narac getting ahead of Julien Canal with an on-track pass before the safety car, which only helped the Imsa car to strengthen its position.

2012 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 22 hours:

LMP1

  1. #1 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer – 346 laps
  2. #2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – McNish/Capello/Kristensen – 346 laps
  3. #4 – Audi Sport Team North America – Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller – 344 laps
  4. #12 – Rebellion Racing – Prost/Jani/Heidfeld- 336 laps
  5. #3 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Dumas/Duval/Gene – 335 laps

LMP2

  1. #44 – Starworks Motorsport – Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith – 324 laps
  2. #46 – Thiriet by TDS Racing – Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau – 323 laps
  3. #49 – Pecom Racing – Perez Companc/Ayari/Kaffer- 323 laps
  4. #26 – Signatech Nissan – Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov – 321 laps
  5. #41 – Greaves Motorsport – Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian – 318 laps

LMGTE Pro

  1. #51 – AF Corse – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander – 307 laps
  2. #59 – Luxury Racing – Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher – 305 laps
  3. #97 – Aston Martin Racing – Fernandez/Turner/Mucke – 304 laps
  4. #73 – Corvette Racing – Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen – 298 laps
  5. #71 – AF Corse – Bertolini/Cioci/Beretta – 298 laps

LMGTE Am

  1. #67 – Imsa Performance Matmut – Armindo/Narac/Pons –  300 laps
  2. #50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy – 300 laps
  3. #57 – Krohn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo – 269 laps
  4. #79 – Flying Lizard Motorsports – Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly – 260 laps
  5. #70 – Larbre Competition – Belloc/Bourret/Gibon- 257 laps