Audi continues to hold a strong position in the 81st running of the 24 hours of Le Mans, with the German manufacture currently holding the first three positions.
With the weather improving, and the track now well and truly dry, the Audis are showing the sort of pace advantage over Toyota that we witnessed in qualifying. At the start of the hour, Oliver Jarvis in the #3 was able to pass Sebastien Buemi’s Toyota for third place after briefly getting baulked by GT traffic.
The battle for the victory is hotting up between the Audis though, as Loic Duval began to eat into Benoit Treluyer’s lead advantage as the race entered its sixth hour.
Nissan holds an even greater advantage in the hotly contested LMP2 field however, with the top six cars in class being Nissan powered. OAK Racing is currently enjoying a strong run, with its cars holding the first and third positions, with the #35 car driven by Martin Plowman leading the sister #24 car. The #26 G-Drive Racing/Delta-ADR splits the two and remains in striking distance of the leader.
Meanwhile, in GTE Pro, Aston Martin continues to lead in tragic circumstances. The #99 currently leads ahead of the #97, but their closest competition remains the two new Porsche 911 RSRs. Earlier in the hour, Patrick Pilet aboard the #91 car managed to pass the other Aston, driven by Bill Auberlen into the first chicane.
Elsewhere, AF Corse continues to be in control in the GTE Am class. Like Aston Martin, they enjoy a one-two in class, with the #61 ahead of the #55. The Imsa Performance Matmut and Proton Competition Porsches are in third and fourth.
The hour passed, fortunately, without any major incidents apart from an off track moment for Tracy Krohn. Unlike earlier in the week, he didn’t hit anything, and the car was able to continue with no visible damage.
Lastly, Level 5 experienced an anxious moment as their car briefly set alight in the pits. The flash fire was quickly extinguished by a marshal, and Marino Franchitti was able to re-join the race with little delay.
1 – #1 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
2 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Duval/McNish/Kristensen
3 – #3 Audi Sport Team Joest – di Grassi/Gene/Jarvis
1 – #24 OAK Racing – Brundle/Heinemeier Hansson/Pla
2 – #26 G-Drive Racing – Conway/Martin/Rusinov
3 – #35 OAK Racing –Baguette/Gonzales/Plowman
1 – #99 Aston Martin Racing – Bell/Makowiecki/Senna
2 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner
3 – #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Dumas/Lieb/Lietz
1 – #61 AF Corse – Cioci/Gerber/Griffin
2 – #55 AF Corse – Case/Perazzini/O’Young
3 – #76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Bourret/Narac/Vernay