The majority of the eighteenth hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was spent under safety car periods, with barrier repairs taking a large chunk out of the race yet again.
The troubles began just five minutes in to the hour as the #98 Aston Martin was seen driving very slowly down the Mulsanne Straight. Initial thoughts was a right-rear puncture, but later evidence proved to be an oil leak, forcing the Vantage to stop on track and bring out the first safety car of the hour.
A thirty minute safety car period followed whilst the marshals cleared up the oil spillage, with the majority of the action once again taking place on pit road, including driver changes for the Thiriet by TDS Oreca, full service for the #51 AF Corse Ferrari and fuel only for the #8 Toyota, timing it poorly and getting caught at the pit lane exit.
The safety car period also took the eighth retirement of the race, with the #32 Lotus officially being retired with a terminal clutch problem.
The race got back under green flag racing – with reports of rain in the opening corners – with 25 minutes left of the hour, but just two minutes later the safety cars were back out, this time for the #13 Rebellion Racing Lola, going head on in to the barriers on the exit of the second Mulsanne chicane, causing heavy barrier damage.
As the race slowed down under the safety car again, positions stayed put, with the #2 Audi still leading from the two Toyotas, OAK Racing still asserting their authority over LMP2, Aston Martin looking strong in GTE Pro and Porsche holding two podium places in GTE Am.
2013 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 18 hours
1 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Kristensen/Duval/McNish
2 – #8 Toyota Racing – Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin
3 – #7 Toyota Racing – Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima
1 – #35 OAK Racing – Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman
2 – #24 OAK Racing – Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle
3 – #42 Greaves Motorsport – Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm
1 – #99 Aston Martin Racing – Bell/Makowiecki/Senna
2 – #91 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard
3 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner
1 – #76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Narac/Bourret/Vernay
2 – #55 AF Corse – Perazzini/Case/O’Young
3 – #77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton – Dempsey/Foster/Long