Live: 24 Hours Of Le Mans


theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will be covering the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. As well as our normal hour-by-hour coverage of the world’s greatest endurance race we’ll be live blogging our way through the race.

Updates by James Broomhead, James Charman, Vince Pettit and James Singleton.

14:05OAK Racing finish 1-2 in LMP2, the #26 G-Drive Racing completes the class podium

14:04The IMSA Performance Matmut #76 comes across the line to win LMGTE Am, Porsch AG Team Manthey finish 1-2 in LMGTE Pro

14:02Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval win the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans

14:00Leaders through Arnage with time expired, coming to the flag….

13:573:30 to go – Tom Kristensen starts is 348th and last lap of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans

13:55#35 OAK Racing car of Bertrand Baguette dives in for a splash-and-dash from the LMP2 lead – he will keep the position

13:52Buemi drops back behind Kristensen – looking set to the finish now as far as the overall race goes

13:5010 minutes remaining – just a question of everyone keeping it out of the barriers as the rain comes down

13:46Under 15 minutes to go now, everyone looking at the weather

13:45Yep, definately raining. Hold on everyone

13:44I think the rain has arrived, just as one of the SRT Vipers pits for SLICKS

13:40Porsche team radio warning drivers that there will be ‘a shower’ at Arnage. That was ore than a shower cloud

13:39TV pictures showing one bloody angry looking cloud

13:36Buemi unlaps himself on the exit of the Porsche Curves

13:35Buemi is right of the tail of Kristensen – they’re 1-2 but there’s a lap between them

13:34Still promises of more rain. This race still has more left…

13:30We are racing again!!

13:28The #97 is back in from third – splash of fuel and wet tyre. The slicks gamble did not pay off unfortunately

13:2535 minutes to go, safety cars getting ready to come in and get us racing again

13:22#7 rejoins having been repaired after Nicolas Lapierre’s off

13:16The #97 Aston – on slicks – is not third in LMGTE Pro, with the two Porsches ahead of them

13:15Still under the safety car, just 15 minutes to go now

13:08The sand of the time of the final hour trickles away, still under safety car with just over 50 minutes remaining

13:01Deep breath everyone for the final hour of a dramatic, amazing tragic 24 Hours of Le Mans

12:55Looks like the rain has stopped, but the track is still wet

12:51The #97 Aston is heading back out on track on slicks

12:51If the car isn’t too damaged they may be able to deny Audi #1 gaining fourth place

12:50Lapierre is back in the Toyota and bringing it back around to the pits

12:49The #97 Aston is in the pits and has been for some time

12:48#LMP2 leader has aquaplaned off the circuit, SAFETY CAR

12:47So the #92 Porsche is leading the GTE Pro class but is on slick tyres, #97 Aston Martin is on wets

12:46Aston Martin pit, Porsche stay out in GTE Pro

12:45Kristensen called back to the pits for wet tyres

12:45Porsche Curves is drenched

12:45The Aston Martin is all over the pack of the Porsche in GTE Pro

12:44Buemi given a calm down warning by the Toyota team… they don’t want to lose everything

12:43NICOLAS LAPPIERE IS OUT OF THE RACE – Toyota #7

12:43Slow puncture on the Audi, better safe  than sorry!

12:41New slick tyres fitted on the #2 Audi

12:41KRISTENSEN IS IN THE PITS – Non scheduled

12:38The second placed Totoyta comes in to the pits for a scheduled stop and driver change, Buemi takes over the driving duties

12:37The Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz is leading the GTE Pro field following pitstops

12:36Patrick Long is picking up the pace in the Dempsey Del Piero Porsche, currently running a lap down to the #61 Ferrari

12:34Looks like Vilander who was running in fourth place

12:33There’s a Ferrari stopped at Mulsanne corner

12:30Kristensen brings the Audi in to the pits for a scheduled stop

12:27Level 5 retire due to ‘engine problems’… if you have been with us for some time and you cast your mind back you will remember this is the car that was spitting fire earlier

12:25Oliver Jarvis unlaps himself from Tom Kristensen

12:22Aston Martin have swapped Darren Turner for Stefan Mucke in the #97 car

12:21Mechanics checking over the #7 car as they complete a scheduled stop

12:14It looks like Audi may be going for safety in numbers with the three cars all closing in on the same part of the track

12:13Reports coming in that Belicchi suffered a cracked rib in the accident which caused an earlier safety car period

12:11Looked like a bit of a delay for the #3 Audi to get away from the pits

12:11Oliver Jarvis heads in to the pitlane for his scheduled stop

12:09The #92 Porsche spins at Tertre Rouge, he coninues but loses time to the leading Aston Martin

12:04Heavy rain in the first section of the circuit

12:03The LMP1 battle for third is far from over with the gap between Jarvis and Lapierre at 1.633 on the last lap

12:03The #13 Rebellion is back in the pits following it’s earlier accident

12:02The IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche continiues to head up the GTE Am field with the two AF Corse Ferraris following.

12:01Darren Turner leads the GTE Pro class for Aston Martin with the #92 and #91 Porsche AG Team Manthey cars following

12:00LMP2 is like a snapshot of how it has been for the last however many hours with the #35 OAK Racing car of Baguette leading the field ahead of the #24 Oak Racing car of Pla  and Mike Conways #26 G-Drive Racing car

11:59We enter the penultimate hour with the Tom Kristensen Audi leading Anthony Davidson’s Toyota with the Oliver Jarvis Audi in third.

11:58And with that, that concludes James C’s commentary on the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans. It’s been fun, I annoyed my cat, scoffed much chocolate and almost made it through the night. I leave you in the capable hands of Vince Pettit for the first of our final 2 hours…

11:57#24 OAK Racing car in the pits.

11:55Very dark cloud over Tetre Rouge, rain can’t be far off.

11:54Jarvis now only 2 minutes behind Davidson in 2nd, Audi 1-2 on the cards?

11:54Leader pits, tear off taken off and just some more fuel for the #2 Audi.

11:53Turner’s lead down to 14 seconds now in GTE Pro

11:50Lapierre asks if he should sit back and conserve his tyres. Response was “It’s up to you, Nico.”

11:46Backmarkers cost Jarvis a lot of time as the battle between Jarvis and Lapierre is down to 0.1 seconds

11:43Jarvis goes back in to third place, Lapierre back in fourth on colder tyres

11:41Turner and Lietz set almost identical times in GTE Pro

11:41Nico Lapierre coming in this lap, the race is on to see if Jarvis can get back into third.

11:39#74 Corvette goes through the Ford chicane backwards

11:35GTE Pro update – Turner leads Lietz’ Porsche by 16 seconds

11:32And with the Audi #3 pitting, the #7 Toyota takes 3rd.

11:32Oli Jarvis in the pits for fuel only

11:26As it stands, each step of the podium in the prototype classes will feature a Brit

11:21#92 is coming in this lap, can the Aston get the jump on pure speed?

11:20Turner pits, Porsche will still need to stop, but appears to have better fuel economy.

11:19Just 7 seconds separate the GTE Pro leading Porsche from Darren Turner’s Aston Martin. A lot of people cheering the Astons on after yesterday afternoon’s tragedy.

11:1830 seconds stop/go for car #49. Speeding in pit lane.

11:16Driver change in the #2 Audi, looks like Tom Kristensen will be taking the car to the flag.

11:16Leading Audi pits in, rain reported at the Porsche Curves.

11:12Lapierre sets the fastest lap of the race as he chases down Jarvis

11:11Jarvis and Lapierre around 16 seconds apart for third outright…

11:07Duval reporting a lot of vibration in the #2 Audi

11:04Audis #1 and #3 running line astern down the Mulsanne Straight

11:02Nakajima pits from 3rd for full service

11:00James C back in the box and first thing to report is a 10 second stop/go for the #38 car for the driver spending too much time in the car

10:59That’s all from me now. I’ll let James C, Vince and James B take you through the last few hours of this utterly intriguing race.

10:56Sadly, the #12 Rebellion is back in its pit box and up on jacks. Could that be another retirement?

10:54Oh, and the OAK Racing art car definitely looks done. A dejected driver is climbing out.

10:53The weather is ever changing. One minute it look like it is brightening up, the next minute dark clouds begin to gather again. Talk that heavy rain could be on the way within 90 minutes. I’m not convinced, with the track bathed in sun at the moment, but we’ll see…

10:44Oh, maybe not. The car has been pushed behind the barrier in fact.

10:42More problems for the #45 OAK Racing art car which beaches itself in the second chicane gravel trap. The quick reaction of the marshals soon get it going again though.

10:36And suddenly it is sunny again! The weather gods must be having a laugh this weekend.

10:32Rain is once again present in sector three. Just how long this remains and how much precipitation we get now could really change things on their head.

10:30Toyota personnel using the old fashioned method of checking what the weather is doing by sticking his hand out in the air – surely rain is their only hope of getting two cars on the podium?

10:27Watching a replay of the #66 JMW Ferrari enjoying a spot of rallycross at Arnage. That was Abdulaziz Al Faisal’s error.

10:21The second place #8 Toyota makes a routine pit stop which thankfully passes smoother than the AF Corse shambles. Sarrazin is out, and Davidson is in.

10:17Looks like the AF Corse fuel hose man was sent flying in all that, but he is quickly on his feet and hobbles away.

10:16Oh dear! All sorts of problems in the pits. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari tries to leave the pits with a fuel hose attached, and then collects and spins the incoming #45 OAK art car as it is finally waved away.

10:13Meanwhile, Lucas di Grassi’s charge into Kazuki Nakajima’s advantage is momentarily halted as the Brazilian brings the Audi into the pits for a scheduled stop.

10:12Prospeed Competition recovering to the circuit after an off at Indianapolis.

10:07While as ever, GTE is providing plenty of entertainment. Can Aston Martin pull of a remarkable win in Pro after all they’ve been through? Or will Porsche succeed on the début for their brand new 991 shaped 911 RSR?

10:04Still plenty of racing to go, of course. Aside from first place, the other two podium places appear to be very much up for grabs at the head of the field.

10:03Anyway, onto the race with under four hours left to run. Can’t help but feel that the Audi #2 team has this one nicely tied up…

10:01James Singleton with you for my last stint of the race. My non stopper has worked – despite the lack of caffeine, I’m surprisingly awake!

10:01Stops at the front of LMP2 to end the hour, Both OAK cars in together, then Roman Rusinov in the 3rd place G-Drive ORECA the following time round

 

09:59Darren Turner has the gap at the front of the LMGTE Pro class to just under nine seconds. The second Porsche is 80 seconds behind Turner

09:53Di Grassi is homing in on Kazuki Nakajima’s Toyota for third and the final step on the podium

09:49The sun has come out at Le Mans. And with that, have Toyota’s last hope of a surprise gone?

09:43Kazuki Nakajima pits the #7 Toyota – it’s scheduled, rather than a reaction to his spin and the tricky weather

09:39The #97 Aston has stayed in 2nd after the stops at the top of LMGTE Pro, but it’s now sandwiched between the two works Porsches on the lead lap!

09:38#3 Audi in the pits – looks like it’s staying on slicks

09:35#7 Toyota has spun as the rain returns to the Dunlop Chicane

09:31The #92 Porsche is in the pits – where will the #97 fit back in to the LMGTE Pro battle?

09:30We’re racing again – 4 hours 30 remaining

09:20Still behind the safety car as the hour (and the race) ticks away

09:07Yep, 30-40 minutes quoted as a repair time for the armco

09:04The heavily damaged #99 is taken away on a low-loader. Barrier repairs to come I would expect

08:57The emotions of the weekend have come to fore in the Aston Martin pits, but they still have the #97 2nd in LMGTE Pro

08:54With the #99 Aston Martin out of the race the #92 Porsche moves up to lead the GTE Pro class with the #97 Aston Martin 3 seconds behind

08:53So as we head towards the exit of this lap we are under another safety car period

08:52That Aston is out of the race, no chance of getting that back to the pits

08:52The lead Aston Martin has crashed heavily on the exit of the Mulsanne chicane, Makowieki is out of the car and fine

08:49Foster in the #77 Porsche spins on the start and finish straight

08:47Car #66 the Dunlop backed Ferrari has been told to pit to repair a broken headlight

08:46The #47 KCMG car is now listed as an official retirement

08:45Onboard with Audi #1 shows rain streaming off the windscreen

08:44Rain a Porsche Curves too

08:43Reports of rain at the Dunlop Esses, not heavy enough to make much  of a difference at the moment though

08:41Fassler pits the #1 Audi

08:39Fassler now has the length of the Mulsanne straight between himself and Di Grassi as he looks to unlap himself

08:37Di Grassi takes a bite out of the Toyota advantage, now 55.553 seconds between the two

08:35After pitstops Di Grassi is 1:51.041 behind the Toyota of Nakajima

08:30Fred Makowiecki is back in the #99 Aston Martin, still in the lead ahead of the #92 Porsche

08:29Fassler closing in on team mate di Grassi at about 5 seconds a lap currently

08:25LMP2 battle hotting up for third place – Ordonez now on the back of Rusinov

08:25The #98 Aston Martin now listed as retired after a blown engine

08:24Di Grassi in the #3 Audi is on the same lap as the #7 Toyota infront of him, currently 1 minute behind

08:23Fassler fastest on that last lap with 3:27.435, the #3 Audi that he is chasing completes the lap in 3:30.262

08:19Current Class leaders:
LMP1 – #2 Audi
LMP2 – #35 OAK Racing
GTE Pro – #99 Aston Martin Racing
GTE Am – #76 IMSA Porsche

08:17Jann Mardenborough says he had a slide at 20mph due to the low temperature behind the safety car

08:14Lights are out on the safety cars

08:10McNish jumps in to the lead Audi as it comes in for it’s scheduled stop

08:09Safety cars are in this lap

08:08Fassler is 11 laps behind the #3 Audi which is currently in fourth place, with 6 hours to go can he challenge for that position?

08:07Fassler now up to 5th with the #13 Rebellion in the pits after that accident

07:59And that concludes my stint.. Six hours remain, it’s sprint time!

07:59Marshalls using the time to make minor repairs to the kerbs around the circuit.

07:55It’s all go in the Rebellion racing pits while an LMP2 car goes spinning at the site of the barrier repair – embarrassing.

07:52#35 OAK Racing car receiving a full service and switching Baguette for Plowman (I love that driver pairing)

07:51#42 crew telling Jann Mardenborough to save fuel

07:47Toyota now agreeing with Audi’s estimation of a “long delay”.

07:45Animated conversations between officials and marshals. Audi crew expecting a “long delay”.

07:45And the barriers do indeed need repairing… Looks like I’ll get a grand total of 9 minutes of green flag racing before handing over for the next stint.

07:42Lots of men in orange standing with their hands on their hips looking at the barrier…

07:40Bad news – There’s more barrier damage.. We could be here for a while.

07:39And we’re back under the safety car again…

07:38Cars spinning all over the place from the restart yet again

07:38Big damage for the #13 Rebellion Racing Lola… Loses it out of one of the Mulsanne chicanes and goes head first into the barrier. Crawling back to the pits now

07:36And we are racing once again!

07:35Interesting track position as we prepare to go green. #7 Toyota just two cars ahead of the #2 Audi…

07:32Safety car coming in this lap and rain now being reported in sector 1

07:30#51 AF Corse Ferrari pits in, fresh tyres and a bit more fuel. #46 Thiriet LMP2 is in too, full service and driver change

07:28#32 Lotus has now officially been retired. Terminal clutch issue. Eighth retirement of the race (record low is 16)

07:23Major cleanup still taking place on the Mulsanne, but it appears to be nearing its conclusion, hopefully we’ll be racing again soon.

07:16#70 Corvette has a little spin on the exit of one of the Mulsanne chicanes

07:15Plenty of sand being poured on to the Mulsanne Straight, the #98 now well off the track and doesn’t appear to be going anywhere for a while

07:10Correction – it wasn’t a puncture. Oil leak for the #98

07:09#8 Toyota pits in for fuel only

07:07Safety car has deployed. This makes it the fourth of my stints in a row to have a safety car period. Ninth of the race overall.

07:07The #98 has now stopped on track.

07:05Trouble for one of the Astons on the Mulsanne Straight… It’s the #98 with a right-rear puncture

07:03Run down of your leaders:
LMP1: #2 Audi
LMP2: #35 OAK Racing
GTE Pro: #99 Aston Martin
GTE Am: #76 Porsche

07:01James Charman here back in the booth, and just a quick reminder – Yes the #2 Audi has a substantial lead, but there’s still more than your average FIA WEC race distance left. Plenty more of this race to come!

07:01At the top of the hour, that is another stint done for us here at The Checkered Flag. Time for a driver change, then…

06:55As I type that, di Grassi brings the #3 in for a routine stop.

06:54The #3 Toyota has caught the leading #2, and di Grassi is looking like he is about to get a lap back from Tom Kristensen.

06:53The Thiriet by TDS Racing #46 LMP2 is in its pit box with mechanics working on the front of the car.

06:49The #2 Audi is in the pits for a routine stop for a splash n’ not so dash. It re-joins comfortably in the lead, despite the slow stop.

06:45The mobile barbecue that is the Level 5 LMP2 catches fire in the pits again, as Jacques Nicolet finally brings the ailing #45 back for repairs.

06:43More problems for the #45 with something that looks like a suspension problem, as it creeps around the track back to the pits. Not sure if that was cause or effect of the earlier off.

06:41Looked like we were going to see a pass them – Treluyer closed to within five seconds of the #12 Rebellion which is currently being driven by Neel Jani, but the Audi pits at the end of that lap.

06:40The #45 OAK art car has a bit of a moment at the first chicane. It seems we’ve got some tired drivers out there now.

06:35Reports that we may see a bit more rain at 9am French time. If that materialises, it could put Toyota back in contention for victory. As it is right now, things still look good for the #2.

06:33Close moment between the #1 Audi, #8 Toyota and Murphy Prototypes #48 LMP2. The Audi squeezes between the pair of them, almost making contact with the LMP2 car. Clearly taking no prisoners, but it is fairly academic given that car is so far behind.

06:30The #8 Toyota makes its schedule stop. Sebastien Buemi gets out the car, with Stephane Sarrazin now onboard.

06:26The #8 got baulked by an Aston Martin at Tetre Rouge on that last lap, so is yet to lap the #7. They cross the line together for a second lap.

06:22Meanwhile, the two Toyotas run nose-to-tail as the #8 tries to put another lap on the #7.

06:20#3 Audi now in from fourth place as it continues to chase the two Toyotas. Marc Gene gets out, and di Grassi climbs in.

06:15Apologies, that was the Catheram sponsored #41, not the #42. It has been a long night!

06:14Broken suspension on the #42 Greaves car, which is limping back to the pits as we speak.

06:12Leading #2 Audi in to the pits. Loic Duval finally gets out, with Tom Kristensen getting in. Will TK be adding ANOTHER Le Mans victory to his record today? Right now it looks good for him, but there is still a long way to go…

06:09Shots of crew members asleep. No rest for the wicked here at The Checkered Flag! Although to be fair, they’ve probably worked a lot harder…

06:04So, we’re successfully through the darkness hours…only eight more to go!

05:57Uh-Oh, Aston in the pit, but it’s the #98 LMGTE Pro car – the only one not in the real lead battle

05:52Jean-Karl Vernay takes over the LMGTE AM leading IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche from team boss Raymond Narac

05:50The the #3 Audi’s simple stop Toyota reply with their own fuel only stop for Sebastien Buemi in the #8

05:48the #13 Rebellion Racing Lola – currently 5th overall – is being cited for a loose engine cover

05:44Marc Gene pits the #3 Audi – just fuel, no problems and the Spaniard is back on his hunt for the podium spots

05:40Bruno Senna has indeed taken the LMGTE Pro lead, now 45 seconds ahead of the #92 Porsche after the German car’s full service swarm stop

05:36The Porsche is already out, not sure if it’s kept the lead as the #99 has also pitted from second in class

05:35The #32 Lotus is nosed into the barriers at Mulsanne Corner

05:34The Porsche AG Team Manthey boys are proving you can get quicker than a Kwik-Fit Fitter…..

05:33The #70 Larbre Competition Corvette has spun in the Porsche Curves

05:33the #92 POrsche is into the pits from the LMGTE Pro and into the garage. New brake discs going on as the team swarm over the car for a lightning quick service

05:29Pressure alarm on the telemetry brought the Toyota in for a second stop

05:27#7 back in the very next lap – now new tyres going onto the car as Alex Wurz remains in the cockpit

05:23#7 Toyota in the pits for a regular pitstop from third place

05:17Level 5 car spitting fire – extinguisher spray, fire till billowing from the exhuasts which gets puffed into a minor flash fireball as he starts up to leave the pits

05:14right-rear puncture for the LMGTE Am Prospeed Porsche, but it’s back in the pits with very little extra damage

05:10The immediate beneficiary of the Jota problems the #42 Greaves Motorsport comes in for a driver change stop, Nissan GT Academy graduate Jann Mardenborough taking over from Michael Krumm

05:084th placed #3 into the pits and out without issue. Still chasing down the podium spots held by the Toyotas

05:06Also in the garage is the #45 OAK Racing Morgan – that’s the ‘art car’ liveried with signage

05:04Luhr has made it back to the pits in the wounded Jota #38. Unsurprisingly it gets pushed back into the garage. Sounds like suspension damage to the front-right

05:00Now Duval pits the leading Audi, Duval, like Treluyer remaining in the car, looks like just fuel for the #2

04:58Much delayed #1 Audi into the pits. Benoit Treluyer staying put in the car for another stint

04:56Lucas Luhr has gone off in the Esses in the Jota LMP2 – he was third in class. He’s now limping back around

04:47Treluyer still running around 10 seconds faster than the Strakka in front of him, around a lap and a half still to make up before he can challenge for position

04:44The #88 Porsche is back out on track after losing 17 minutes due to car #39′s assault and battery

04:43Mucke is now coming under pressure from the #91 Porsche, third place under threat for the Aston Martin driver

04:41Stefan Mucke straightlines the 1st Mulsanne chicane

04:41Treluyer now lapping 3:25.147, back on pace, running the same speed as the second placed Toyota

04:39Porsche #92 is in the lead of GTE Pro after pitstops, Senna will be looking to change that as soon as possible

04:37Bruno Senna heads out on track in the #99 Aston Martin

04:36Lotterer explains that there was problems with the brake pedal on the last pitstop as he was braking the same time as accelerating

04:34So the #1 Audi is back on the pace and running at 3:35.034, the two cars infront are running lapt times around the 3:37 mark. Treluyer makes a small mistake and skips over the curbs at the Dunlop chicane

04:31#8 Toyota makes a scheduled pitstop as the #3 also comes in

04:28Oak Racing continue to dominate the LMP2 class, Jota sport hold strong in third

04:26The #88 Porsche is still in the garage being worked on and has now dropped down to 8th

04:25It seems the #93 Viper is off track at Mulsanne Corner

04:25The #93 Viper has gone straight on somewhere, snatch vehicle scrambled to recover

04:24With the excitement of watching the #1 Audi it seems the #39 of Brandela has been out on track again causing havoc as it straightlines the first Mulsanne chicane

04:22Looks like it could be peddle problems as Treluyer gets out of the car and a mechanic dives in. Treluyer is now back in the car and heading out to track

04:21Looks like there is an issue with the front of the #1 Audi, this pitstop  is turning in to a nightmare as the car is pulled in to the garage

04:20#1 Audi is in to the pits for a driver change, Treluyer now in the hotseat

04:18Lotterer is currently running lap times of around 3:32 where the Strakka and Rebellion infront is running 3:40

04:13#39 is back out on track and almost takes out the #8 Toyota at the Dunlop bridge…

04:13The #1 Audi is about half a lap away from unlapping itself from the #21 Strakka

04:12The #88 Porsche is back on track and making its way back around to the pitlane

04:11#39 is back in the pitlane, up on the trolleys and in to the garage, maybe they are going in to hiding after that last incident!

04:10#2 Audi is coming up to a Toyota to lap it

04:09The #88 car is struggling to restart the engine, it could be the end of the road for the team…

04:08Unsurprisingly the incident is now under investigation

04:08The #88 was running fifth in class at the time but is now being pulled behind the barrier.

04:07#39 spins right before the Dunlop bridge, recovers but then cuts across the #88 Porsche and causes the #55 to spin. The #88 is now stuck in the gravel awaiting recovery

04:01Gearbox problems on the Rebellion, Heidfeld reporting he was stuck in 3rd gear at times

03:59The Strakka car has been recovered and is now in the pits

03:58#12 Rebellion in the garage with both ends of the car removed, Lotterer could benefit greatly from this

03:57The #21 Strakka is beached, marshals ready to recover the car with the snatch truck

03:56And with that my hour has come to an end, how time flies! Just 10 hours remain as I hand you back over to Mr Pettit.

03:54Wurz now takes over from Lapierre in the #7 car

03:51Jarvis hands the #3 Audi back to Marc Gene

03:49Meanwhile Oliver Pla takes over from Alex Brundle in the #24 Oak Racing car and the #1 Audi and #8 Toyota pit in.

03:49Duval remains in control of the #2 and hesitates on the exit of his pit box

03:47Leader pits in

03:47Darryl O’Young takes over the #55 Ferrari

03:46Interesting malfunction shown on TV replays as a prototype’s wiper arm stops working properly. I’ve had wiper issues before on the motorway and that was bad enough…

03:42Alex Wurz preparing for his next stint in the #7 Toyota.

#40 Oreca pushed back into the garage.

03:41Buemi lapping faster than Duval…

03:38#32 car in for a full service

03:34Slick tyres fitted to the #67 Porsche now, track still looks slightly wet, though.

03:33Somebody off at the exit of the Dunlop Curves, car #45 being reported to have spun

03:31Just as the battle starts to hot up the director cuts to the pit stop for the #96 Aston…

03:30#97 Aston Martin vs #91 Porsche 911 down the Mulsanne Straight

03:27#97 car in for new, slick-looking, tyres

03:26KCMG back out on track on grooved tyres

03:25The #2 Audi’s lead is now 2:27. It’s starting to look slightly safe but I wouldn’t like to put money on it

03:24And the #8 Toyota passes the #7 for 2nd place. Lapping very quick – could they still win this?

03:21Great inter-team battle for the LMP2 lead at the moment as Plowman leads Brundle by less than a second

03:19Oli Jarvis nearly goes into the back of a Ferrari at the Dunlop Curves…

03:16#47 LMP2 car now pushed into the garage

03:16Some serious spray on the Mulsanne Straight now…

03:13And we’ve had a change of machinery in the Checkered Flag office… The laptop appears to be feeling the strain and it’s a switch to the good ol’ desktop.

#88 Porsche in the pits and fitting grooved tyres

03:09And we’re green flag racing again

03:05Safety cars will peel off this lap and we’ll get some lovely wet night-time action

03:04Everyone comes diving in to make the relevant switches to wet-weather rubber

03:01James Charman back in the hot seat as the safety car period gets extended for rain

03:01Just as the safety cars are getting ready to depart the circuit, The Checkered Flag is pitting for a driver change of its own now. James Charman takes control for the next hour, where hopefully there will be less barrier welding and more racing…

02:54The #70 Labre Corvette is another car to be wheeled back into its box. No word on what the problem might be there yet, but the engine cover has been removed.

02:47Brake change for the #99 Aston Martin now.

02:45The rain seems to be back – at least on the pit straight. The #42 Caterham sponsored Greaves car changes to intermediate tyres.

02:38Looks like a tactical stop for the #91 Porsche, with the brakes being changed.

02:36Meanwhile, the Level 5 LMP2 car comes into the pits, and it is wheeled back into the box with an reoccurring engine problem. The #91 GTE Pro Porsche is another one that seems to be in trouble.

02:32Despite the remarkable reliability of earlier in the race, it seems like there is a bit more attrition now. TV footage shows several garage shutters that are pulled down.

02:24Toyota team radio reporting barrier repairs could take 40 minutes. Somehow, I don’t think my hourly report will take long to write!

02:22Ah, apologies, it wasn’t a suspension problem at all, but yet another number panel that wasn’t illuminated.

02:19Meanwhile, the fifth in class #26 G-Drive Racing/Delta-ADR car is in the pits with some kind of problem. The nose of the car is off and the team are looking at the suspension.

02:17Barrier repairs are needed once again. Given the extent of the damage, this, unfortunately, could take a while.

02:07Allan McNish pits the leading #2 Audi from the lead for fuel and tyres.

02:06And we’ve got the seventh safety car of the race due to the #54 Ferrari off at the end of the Forest Esses .

02:04It’s jolly late now. Is anyone still awake? I’m going for an ambitious non-stopper, fuelled only by Kit Kats. I’ll let you know how it works out. Anyway, back to the race…

02:00#97 being called back in for door lights that aren’t working working

01:56Now the #97 Aston pits, which will complete the cycle of the top three in LMGTE Pro and give the lead back to Fred Makowiecki in the #99

01:52Pitstops again in LMGTE Pro – the #99 has already pitted to give the #92 the lead, but now the Porsche pits and the #97 Aston takes the lead

01:49The #7 Toyota comes into the pits for a regular stop and drops to 3rd behind the sister TS030 Hybrid

01:47Nicolas Lapierre #7 Toyota and Olly Jarvis in the #3 getting very close on the straight between Mulsanne and Indianapolis, Jarvis getting close to dipping two wheels on the grass

01:46Andre Lotterer in the #1 catches McNish in the #2 once again and gets buy to take one of his laps back

01:43Racing again, the #1 and #2 Audis together and the #1 skitters through the gravel at Mulsanne Corner

01:42The Level 5 cars is sitting at the end of the pitlane waiting for a safety car train smoking angrily

01:37Safety cars will be pulled back in later this lap

01:31Olly Jarvis pits the #3 Audi from fourth place, and is followed in by the #8 Toyota – actually a lap ahead of the Audi

01:28It’s a never a good thing when you’re rear wheels are recovered by a different lorry to the rest of the car….

01:26Under the safety car the #1 Audi has come into the pits, only just having fought back into the top 10 overall

01:21Tony’s walking away from the car, which has had the entire rear axle assembly out of the back of it

01:20Reports are it’s Tony Burgess in the LMP2 HVM Status Lola Coupe

01:19It’s a big off for an LMP coupe – can’t tell what it is. Safety car out once more

01:19Something’s gone off in the POrsche Curves in a cloud of smoke

01:17#98 Aston Martin in the pits with men elbow deep in the front grill armed with gaffa tape

01:15Alex Brundle will assume the lead in the #24 OAK Morgan, though he owes a pitstop

01:14LMP2 leader also in the pits – Martin PLowman climbing aboard and taking on new tyres for the #35 OAK Racing car

01:12By TK, I of course mean Allan McNish. Of Course

01:12TK stays in the car and is back underway. It’s like poetry!!

01:11Leader Tom Kristensen pits at the end of lap 170

01:10#91 Porsche pits from 4th in LMGTE Pro – they’re two minutes behind next car in class. Never really recovered from losing time under the very first safety car of the race

01:03Lotterer now up to 12th, just below a minute to make up on the 11th placed car

00:58The Audi team warning race leader Allan McNish of gravel on track at Arnage

00:51The #1 Audi dropped one place while it was in the pits, currently 13th place

00:51#7 Toyota comes in for a scheduled stop

00:50Davidson’s stop was earlier than planned due to poor visibility and closing in on potential traffic

00:49#1 Audi is in the pits and Lotterer heads back out on circuit. When he came in to the pits he was 12th place overall, the next car in the LMP1 class is the Strakka Racing HPD who are 7th overall

00:47#8 Toyota is in the pitlane for a scheduled stop

00:46…and driver change for the #3 car

00:46#3 Audi is in the pit lane, looks like a scheduled fuel stop

00:45The #66 is under investigation following the last pitstop

00:44Possible problems for Darren Turner, looks like one of the illuminated door squares is no longer working, this will need to be fixed due to it being a regulation that needs to be adhered to

00:43Fassler is now stuck behind one of the Toyotas who take their time in letting him by to unlap himself

00:41Following his earlier assault Dempsey in #77 Porsche says car is pulling to left under braking also telemetry is broken

00:41Fassler up to 12th place, now closing in LMP2 leader as the Audi driver reports vibrations, word from the pit wall reveals most likely to be worn tyres.

00:39With the #92 Porsche in the pits the two Aston Martins once again lead the GTE Pro class

00:38The #57 Krohn Ferrari is listed as an official retirement, a long way to come to be out this early

00:37The 8-Star car is off circuit again and reportedly stranded somewhere on the Mulsanne Straight

00:36Fassler up to 13th, next target 12th placed G-DRive Racing

00:36McNish now back in control of the #2 Audi

00:34Turner has lost out to Lieb in the GTE Pro category as the Porsche driver pullsout a 5 second gap

00:33Fassler was 3 seconds behind the Pecom Racing car on that last lap,  now in to 14th place, next target the Thiriet by TDS Racing car in 13th

00:31The #70 Larbre Corvette is pulled in to the garage as the mechanics get to work on finding the problem, seems to be a lot of steam or smoke

00:30The #70  Corvette is being pushed down the pitlane back to their garage, looks like it has no power currently

00:30Yellow flags at Porsche curves

 

00:25The #70 Corvette is in the gravel at Porsche Curves, looks to be stranded at the moment

00:24Fassler now has 49.5 seconds to gain before he catches the 14th placed Pecom LMP2 car

00:23Such a shame for Patrick Dempsey who was doing a stirling job in his first Le Mans appearance. He’s now dropped down to third in class.

00:21The #77 Porsche has been tipped in to a spin on the first corner after contact from an unknown LMP2 car

00:172.739 seconds is the difference between the second placed Porsche 911 RSR of Marc Lieb and the third placed #97 Aston Martin of Darren Turner

00:15Even with a pitstop the #1 Audi has gained 4 seconds on the LMP2 Pecom car on that last lap

00:14The latest from Joest Racing:

Two tragic deaths clouded the mood at Audi on Saturday: At Le Mans, Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen succumbed to the injuries he sustained in a serious accident shortly after the start. At the VLN race on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife, ‘Wolf Silvester’ died at the wheel of an Opel Astra presumably due to health problems. Both drivers had also contested races in the Audi R8 LMS. Audi Sport and Joest Racing are deeply saddened by the two deaths. The Audi motorsport family extends its sympathy primarily to the family members of the two deceased.

00:11#1 Audi has now pitted

00:11Fassler is closing in on the 14th placed Pecom Racing car at a pace of 17 seconds a lap

00:09#3 Audi in the pits

00:09Anthony Davidson is ready and waiting for the #8 Toyota to pit so he can get out on track

00:07Driver change for #7 Toyota, Lapierre back in the driving seat

00:06The #88 Proton Porsche is back in the pits after a trip though the gravel

00:06Fassler is currently the fastest car on circuit – his last lap was 3:26.197

00:04Sarrazin has managed to get himself a little breathing space and is 32 seconds clear of the sister Toyota car

00:02The #1 Audi of Fassler is continuing his charge through the field and is in 15th place and 3m29.156s behind 14th placed #49 Pecom Racing

00:00Tom Kristensen continues to lead with the two Toyota’s behind him

00:00The #92 Porsche of Marc Lieb has slotted in to second place in the GTE Pro class following a small incident by Darren Turner and a trip through the gravel trap

23:56And as we near midnight here in the UK, I shall hand you back over to TCF’s Editor-In-Chief Vince Pettit as I go to write the Hour 10 Update and feed a rather angry cat…

23:46Race control reporting oil in the Porsche Curves. Things could get interesting…

23:45#76 Porsche pits in from 2nd in class

23:44#28 car now in the garage

23:41The #88 Porsche now being dragged out of the gravel trap as Hollywood star Patrick Dempsey leads GTE Am

23:37The #88 Porsche, who was leading the GTE Am class, has gone off at the exit of the Esses. Dempsey Del Piero Racing now in the lead.

23:35#1 Audi in the pits, still 11 laps off the leader. Leading Aston in GTE Pro also in for a scheduled stop.

23:34Car in the gravel, found by CCTV and it’s the #34 Oreca. Was on its fastest lap of the race

23:30#8 Toyota pits in, Sarrazin stays in the car

23:25#93 car has been given a stop-go penalty for breaching the pit exit line

23:23Leader in the pits, Kristensen staying in the car – a lengthy stint for the Le Mans legend. Fuel only.

23:19Marcel Fassler reporting a vibration in the front of the #1 Audi

23:18Aston Martins running 1-2 again in GTE Pro, the latter swapping places with the Porsche 911 in 3rd place, this battle could go on and on…

23:15Driver change for the #73 Corvette, Jan Magnussen stepping in to the hot seat

23:10Back to racing, #8 Toyota stuck in the middle of a group of GT cars

23:08The Dunlop Ferrari has spun out under the safety car at Dunlop Curve, ironically.

23:07Safety car has stayed out. Once again the safety cars are providing a lot of confusion…

23:04Safety cars in this lap

23:01#1 Audi slowly crawling up the standings, currently 16th overall

23:00And while we still have one hour left here in the UK, the Le Mans 24 Hour reaches Sunday morning! Midnight in France.

22:56Safety car is out for the #57 Krohn Racing Ferrari of Tracy Krohn

22:55And with the safety car deployed the live coverage hands back over to James Charman

22:55The Krohn Ferrari has spun again and the Safety Car is out on track again

22:54Following the pitstops Nakajima has closed back in on Sarrazin and is now only 1.452 seconds behind his team mate

22:51Reports of flames from the #33 car after a short stop on circuit

22:50Fassler brings the Audi in for a fuel stop and window clean

22:49Kristensen apparently suffering vibration in the #2 Audi

22:48Imperatori seems to be going for the record number of spins in 24 hours as he loops the KCMG car again

22:47The #1 Audi has gained one of its laps back on the 15th placed Morand Racing LMP2 car, one to go before its on the same lap

22:45Daryl O’Young is catching Patrick Dempsey in the GTE Am class

22:44So Kristensen has been in to the pits, the #8 Toyota has also been in while Di Grassi comes in for a scheduled stop

22:37Bruno Senna says it’s a close battle in GTE Pro, closer that he would like, but still he’s doing a great job for Aston Martin

22:31Toyota ready for a pitstop while car #28 is given a warning for no headlights… although we’re sure they will probably notice when they get out on the Mulsanne straight!

22:29The #1 Audi is scything its way back through the field and is back up to 16th, he now has 2 laps to make up on the 15th placed Morand Racing

22:25Tom Kristensen straightlines the first chicane on Mulsanne, possible problems for the lead Audi?

22:23Sarrazin has been closing in on Nakajima over the last few laps but the last see’s Nakajima pick up the pace with he’s fastest lap as he looks to make the most out of his in-lap

22:21So Tom Kristensen now has a full lap over the second place Toyota, a little breathing room for the Audi now…. but then that is only 3 and a half minutes should there be a problem in the pitlane

22:16The Caterham backed Zytek has been in the garage, looks like it’s about to rejoin the race

22:15GTE Am is headed by Patrick Long, #88 Porton Porsche and the AF Corse #55 Ferrari

22:13Aston Martin lead the GTE Pro field with Senna at the wheel of the #99 followed by Dumbreck in the #97. Richard Lietz in the #92 Porsche is running in third.

22:12OAK Racing continue to dominate LMP2 with the Jan Mardenborough piloted Greaves Motorsport car sitting in third

22:10Yellow flags between the two chicanes on Mulsanne Straight

22:10Kristensen leads the two Toyota’s headed by Nakajima, in fourth place is the #4 Audi of Di Grassi followed by the #13 Rebellion Racing Toyota which will be looking to pick up any pieces should the factory teams have any further problems

22:08#57 Krohn Racing Ferrari spins on to the main straight as the #92 Porsche also rejoins the circuit

22:07Driver change for LMP2 #38

22:06Tom Kristensen leads the way as yellow flags come out at the end of the Mulsanne straight, looks like someone has hit the gas a little too early on cold tires!

22:05The last safety car period lasted a total of 16 minutes

22:05Safety car is in and the race has resumed

22:02Safety car due to come in this lap

22:00As James B heads off to file his hourly report Editor-In-Chief Vince Pettit takes over the live blogging as the #8 Toyota comes in to the pits

21:56and the #3 gets spun 90 degrees and is pushed into the garage and the Audi Sport team swarm over it

21:55#3 Audi pits from 4th from behind the Safety Car

21:52the DKR LMP2 Lola is broadside at the top of the Dunlop Chicane and Tor Graves has spun the #25 into the tyre wall at the start of the Porsche Curves

21:51Oh, Safety Car out for the 4th time (I think)

21:49Tom Kristensen pits the #1 Audi from the lead, and is back out with minimal delay

21:37Bruno Senna’s lead in LMGTE Pro is 11 seconds over the Lietz driven Porsche

21:35A long stop by the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA-Nissan has dropped them from the lead battle in LMP2

21:30Lietz in the #92 Porsche and the #97 Aston both in the pits, Bruno Senna should get back to the lead in the #99

21:29#3 also makes a pitlane visit, but it’s a regular stop for the team currently running in 4th

21:27#1 Audi comes out of the pits – lost 11 laps and fallen to 22nd overall

21:26Bruno Senna has pitted the #99 from LMGTE Pro, Ricahrd Lietz will take the lead for Porsche

21:23Top two in LMP2 – #35 and #26 both in the pits

21:15The #8 Toyota of Stephane Sarrazin comes in from second place

21:11#1 Audi is having the alternator replaced, still in the pits, now having fallen behind the best LMP2 car in the overall standings

21:02With the #1 still in the pits, and darkness descending, I’ll leave you in the company of James Broomhead.

21:02Top of the 8th hour – #1 Audi still in the pits, now down to 7th overall after leading the way

20:58Seems to be quite a lot of problems in the LMP1 field. Now the delayed #12 Rebellion is back in its pit box.

20:55Now the #42 Greaves  Zytek takes notable air after clouting the kerbs at the second chicane. It comes back down to ground and just avoids the barrier.

20:54Oliver Jarvis reports contact with a Lotus LMP2 was the cause of his rear-right puncture.

20:50Just as I write that, the #3 is back out on track. But the #1 is still in the box with substantial work going on. What drama we’ve seen in these last few minutes!

20:49The #3 is finally back in the pits, with remarkably little bodywork damage. But it is all change at the top now, with Loic Duval leading, and the #8 and #7 Toyotas moving up to second and third.

20:46Meanwhile, the #1 is back in the pits for an unscheduled stop. Treluyer is out, and Fassler is in, before the team brings out the jacks and wheels the car back into the pit box.

20:44Oliver Jarvis is in full Gilles Villeneuve mode, pushing on considerably on just a rim. This won’t do the car any good though.

20:42And another problem for an Audi! The #3 has a puncture at the Dunlop Bridge, and the car will now have to complete an entire lap at reduced speeds.

20:40They may be called to see the stewards over that one. Teams are not allowed to push start cars.

20:38First notable problem for Audi as the #1 pits, as Treluyer stalls several times as he tries to pull away from the box. It is a slow stop and he loses around ten seconds.

20:36Now the #8 Toyota is in from fourth place. It is a complete service with Buemi hopping out and Sarrazin climbing in.

20:34The #97 and #92 enter the pit lane together and it is a race between the Aston Martin and Porsche crews. The Aston art car emerges just ahead as the pair rejoin the race track.

20:31Duval has closed on Treluyer slightly at the front, but the gap is still 45 seconds.

20:25Bruno Senna is leading the GTE Pro class for Aston Martin, as the close battle with the sister #97 car and #92 Porsche rages on.

20:18Some very fine raindrops appearing on the windscreen of cars again…that’s not in the script!

20:16The second in class GTE Am #88 Proton Competition Porsche has a wild moment at the second chicane on cold tyres, but just manages to avoid hitting anything.

20:13Buemi is pushing on in the #8 Toyota, but is still some 52 seconds behind the third of the Audis.

20:10The #7 lost a massive 36 seconds with that slow lap. Still a long way to go in this motor race though!

20:08Briefly looked like a problem for the #7 Toyota as it slows – but it seems like it just needed more fuel than anything more serious.

20:01And as the leader (#1 Audi) pits in, I shall leave you to the knowledge of James Singleton.

19:49#61 Ferrari spins as Prototypes “frighten him off the road”, according to commentary

19:45Aston Martin vs Porsche as Senna takes 2nd in GTE Pro

19:39#28 Gulf Racing Middle East LMP2 car now in the garage

19:37The shredded tyre is now ripping apart the rear bodywork on the 8 Star machine

19:36The 8 Star Ferrari is now shedding rubber along the circuit and travelling very, very slowly

19:35Puncture for the #81 8 Star Motorsports Ferrari 458, left-rear puncture while an LMP2, didn’t catch the number, goes for a spin

19:33#3 Audi and #12 Rebellion racing LMP1s in the pits

19:32This time the safety takes the pit entrance road and we’re back to racing again.

19:31Lights are out on the safety cars, I wonder if they’ll take the pit lane entrance or the grass this time.

19:26And the Safety Cars return to the circuit…

19:26An onboard shot from Loic Duval shows just how close the Audi came to hitting the #24 car.

19:25And now the #30 HVM Status GP Lola goes around in the Ford Chicane

19:24Cars and bodywork flying all over the place, #54 Ferrari spins at the Dunlop Curves and a large piece of bodywork, expected to be from the #32, on the Mulsanne Straight

19:23Replays show that Heinemeier Hansson in the #24 car very nearly collected an Audi and was very lucky to not have major damage.

19:23#24 Oak racing – current LMP2 leader – has a spin going in to the Porsche Curves on the restart lap.

19:22One of the most surreal safety car peel offs in the history of motor racing… Cuts across the grass to get in to the pitlane at the last moment. Insane.

19:21Without wanting to echo the comments of nearly every commentary team going, these safety car situations are rather confusing.

19:18The Alpine has made it back to the garage with mechanics working frantically to get it back on track. Same amount of activity currently in one of the Corvette (yes, it definitely is a Corvette this time) garages.

19:15Apologies, it was a Ferrari 458, not a Corvette. It was yellow…

19:13Audi have to push the #1 car back a touch in order to leave their pit box due to work on a Corvette in front of them

19:12Leading Audi now in the pits along with many others under the safety car period

19:09#2 Audi and what appears to be a Corvette are now stuck at pit-lane exit

19:08#2 Audi responds to the safety car by coming in to the pits

19:08Safety car has been deployed, possibly for the debris from the Alpine’s left-rear tyre blowout and subsequent bodywork damage.

19:07Slow moving Alpine Nissan on the Mulsanne Straight. Appears a rear tyre has blown…

19:01That concludes my stint. I’ll leave you in the capable hands of James Charman.

19:00There is a a flash fire in the pits on the Level 5 LMP2 car driven by Marino Franchitti. Thankfully, it is extinguisher by a marshal and the car is able to continue.

18:53Loic Duval is pushing hard in the #2 Audi and is gradually eating into Benoit Treluyer’s lead advantage.

18:43The two other Audis have now pitted. The order remains the #1, ahead of the #2, with the #3 next. The only thing spoiling it for people with OCD is the #8 Toyota ahead of the #7.

18:37Tracy Krohn is off track. Thankfully, unlike earlier in the week, he hasn’t hit anything and there is no visible damage to the car.

18:34Loic Duval pits the #2 Audi for a fuel stop, but no change of tyres. It promotes Oliver Jarvis in the #3 up to second place momentarily, but expect him in next time around.

18:32Meanwhile, the only retirement of the race remains the #95 GTE Am Aston Martin.

18:31A little earlier, Oliver Jarvis blasted by Sebastien Buemi’s Toyota for third place. The German manufacture definitely has the edge in speed now the track has well and truly dried out.

18:26A new nose is fitted to the #12 Rebellion in the pits. It remains as “best of the rest” behind the three Audis and two Toyotas.

18:24The battle for fifth and sixth between Porsche and Aston Martin in GTE Pro continues, as Patrick Pilet passes Bill Auberlen into the first chicane.

18:00Several cars off at Mulsanne corner – oil or water??

17:45After stops – Wurz in the #7 replacing Lapierre – the Audis are back to 1st, 2nd and 3rd, the best Toyota over a minute behind #LM24

17:38Sebastien Buemi takes over the driving duties. Still waiting for Lapierre and the #7 to come to the pits

17:36Anthony Davidson pays his pit stop debt in the #8 car, pitting from second

17:34Lapieere up 3rd, Loic Duval in Audi #2 down to 4th, but the Toyotas owe a stop #LM24

17:32Out of sequence on stops, Lapierre takes 5th from Oliver Jarvis’ #3 Audi #LM24

 

17:31Car is making it’s way around, now trailing some tyre smoke

17:30The #12 Rebellion Lola has spun out sixth place at Tertre Rouge – bit of damage to the front end of the car #LM24

17:28Rain drops coming down once again, Anthony Davidson is another to be caught out at the Dunlop Chicane

17:25the #41 Greaves Motorsport LMP2 car is in the pits after touring round with damage

17:24OK, show must go on……

17:09Also hearing that Allan Simonsen has died as a result of the crash in the opening laps of the race. Not sure what to say now

17:08The Signatech #36 LMP2 has run into the gravel at Mulsanna

17:06Top of hour 4 – Audi 1-2-3 with just 3 seconds between the #2 in 2nd and the #3 in 3rd

16:58As the third hour nears an end, Lotterer now holds a lead of almost 50 seconds over his Audi team-mates.

16:57#71 Ferrari with visible front-end damage, currently holding 5th in GTE Pro.

16:56The #32 Lotus has been given the black and orange flag for an open door.

16:55#67 Porsche 911 (GTE Am leader) suffers a left-rear puncture, luckily in the latter part of the circuit and nurses it back to the pits. #61 Ferrari 458 now in class lead.

16:51Heavy rain being reported at the Mulsanne Straight

16:51#8 Toyota pits, Davidson staying in the car and on the same set of tyres. The stint was only one lap longer than the Audis. Not enough to win on strategy alone.

16:45Three GT cars go straight on at the entry to the Dunlop chicane, led by the #74 Corvette, who spins as he rejoins the tarmac.

16:42There’s now an Aston Martin 1-2 in GTE Pro with Darren Turner leading Rob Bell

16:40Leading LMP2 car pits in, Olivier Pla handing the #24 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan to Alex Brundle.

16:39Lead Audi pits in, followed in by the #3 car. #8 Toyota up to third but still in a pit-stop cycle.

16:36Audi now looking comfortable at the front, but there’s still over 21 hours to go. Lapierre stays out, team giving him instructions on how to fix the issue.

16:34Lapierre: “I’ve no engine. I’ve lost the engine.”

Replays show the car losing power on the exit of a chicane. He’s since restarted and is back at speed.

16:33#7 Toyota stopped on the Mulsanne. Bad luck plagues Toyota’s Le Mans again.

16:30Closest lead battle is currently in GTE Pro, with only 6 seconds separating Darren Turner’s Aston Martin Vantage from Marc Lieb’s Porsche 911

16:27A few drivers getting caught out going in to the Dunlop curve, rain may be making its mark…

16:26And just like that the #74 Corvette goes straight in to the gravel, now back on track. Does that count as the commentator’s curse?

16:25#74 Corvette closing in on the #98 Aston Martin Vantage for 6th in GTE Pro

16:20#30 HVM Status GP Lola-Judd car appears to have problems as two Ferrari 458s just fly past the LMP2 machine

16:18Two AF Corse Ferrari 458s swap places in GTE Pro, Vilander getting the better of Bruni

16:15Change of lead in GTE Am as the #67 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 911 passes the #61 AF Corse Ferrari 458

16:11Lapierre pitted to go onto Michelin’s trick treadless intermediate tyres, though the rain seems to have gone already!

16:10Double waved yellows at the second chicane for a stranded LMP2 Lotus

16:09#3 Audi of Di Grassi runs wide into the Gravel at Indianapolis

16:07Looks like the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari is off at the start of the Porsche Curves

16:06Lapierre passes Lotterer with both drivers struggling for grip on slick tyres #LM24

16:05Both Lotterer and Lapierre have a slight twitch as they exit the first chicane on the Mulsanne, almost gets a run out of the second chicane #LM24

16:04#8 Toyota comes into the pits having picked up the lead after the Audi stops

16:04Spots of rain appearing on camera lenses and windscreen wipers are being used down the Mulsanne Straight #LM24

15:56All Audi’s have now been through the pits again for scheduled stops

15:54Toyota team expecting rain in 30 minutes

15:53#2 Audi comes in to the pits for scheduled stop as the #96 Aston Martin narrowly avoids the barriers and takes a trip around the gravel trap

15:50Lotterer is stomping away at the front, currently 19 seconds ahead of his Audi team-mates

15:48Standings after 1 hour and 45 minutes of racing:

LMP1
#1 Audi , #2 Audi, #3 Audi, #8 Toyota, #7 Toyota

LMP2
#24 Oak, #35 Oak, #49 Pecom, #38 Jota, #41 Greaves

GTE Pro
#97 Aston Martin, #92 Porsche, #99 Aston Martin, #51 AF Corse, #91 Porshe

GTE Am
#61 AF Corse Ferrari, #67 IMSA Porsche, #55 AF Corse Ferrari, #57 Krohn Racing Ferrari, #76 IMSA Porsche

15:43Slow lap from Lapierre, possible traffic but 8 seconds off the pace of the sister Toyota

15:42The KCMG car has now been pulled out of the gravel trap and rejoins the race after his off at Indianapolis

15:41Reports coming in regarding the Simonson accident suggest he may have been push off track by a following car which didn’t realise he was slowing to avoid a slower car

15:40The KCMG car is beached in a gravel trap, not what you want to do on your Le Mans debut!

15:39McNish has finally got by Di Grassi to take second place

15:35Lapierre seems to have picked up his pace again as he looks to catch team-mate Davidson for fourth place

15:34AF Corse team manager called to race director office following an unsafe release in the pitlane which involved slight contact with Jorg Bergmeister

15:34The #46 TDS ORECA – Nissan straightlines the second Mulsanne chicane

15:33The Lotus of Christophe Bouchut is in the garages now following the earlier investigation by the team, reports suggest a burning smell

15:31Look back at the first hour in our detailed report – [Here]

15:30McNish and Di Grassi creating some bum-clenching moments for the Audi team as they battle between themselves

15:28#1 Audi with Lotterer back in the lead of the race with 22 and a half hours remaining of the race

15:27Quicker stop for Davidson that team-mate Lapierre

15:27The lead Toyota comes in to the pits for a scheduled stop

15:24The #7 Toyota comes in to the pits, fuel only this time, he’s held back for a second while the #21 car comes in to the pits infront of him

15:23So all three Audi’s have now been in for pit stops, the two Toyota’s stay out. Rebellion Racing have also been in, Strakka remain out on track

15:21Toyota possible readying for a pit stop, how much longer can the leader stay out?

15:20Anthony Davidson heads in to the lead of the race as the #1 Audi pits along with the #3 Audi

15:19The #31 Lotus-Praga is in the pits as the team check the rear of the car

15:17The rain has gone away and the track is now almost dry all the way around the circuit

15:16#81 Porsche spins as the #2 Audi pits

15:16McNish and Di Grassi are doing battle in third and fourth place as they look to catch the #8 Toyota

15:14“Weird engine noise” reported by Lapierre, could be early problems for the #7 Toyota

15:13Di Grassi also makes in around the Toyota

15:12McNish passes Lapierre as the Frenchman drops back having been passed by his teammate

15:09Andre Lotterer leads the field over the start line as Allan McNish slides the Audi through the final chicane

15:08We’re about to start racing once again

15:07We’ve had a few pitstops in this safety car period in the LMP2  and GT classes

15:03Safety car will be coming in this lap and racing will resume

15:02GTE Am after one hour #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche, #67 IMSA Porsce, #61 AF Corse Ferrari

15:02GTE Pro after one hour – #97 Aston Martin, # 92 Porsche, #99 Aston Martin

15:01LMP2 after one hour – #24 Oak Racing, #47 KCMG and #38 Jota sport

15:00With one hour gone Audi #1 leads the field, Toyota #7 and #8 are second and third

14:56Aston Martin driver Allan Simonsen is reportedly conscious and talking to medical staff

14:54Fast approaching the end of the opening hour, still under safety car as work continues to fix the barriers

14:53Still under safety car as the marshals work hard to rebuild the armco barriers from the earlier incident

14:39Drops of rain reported at Mulsanne

14:38Sounds like we’re getting ready to back to green near 40 minutes down of the 24 #LM24

14:29Still lots of work going on at Tertre Rouge, repairing the barrier on the outside of the corner. Haven’t heard any updates on Simonsen’s condition #LM24

14:22Under safety car, OAK Racing lead LMP2 with the #24 car, the #97 Aston Martin lead LMGTE Pro and Patrick Long leads LMGTE Am in the Dempsey Del Piero Porsche

14:16Still catching up – we’re under safety car after 15 mins at Le Mans after Simonsen’s heavy crash at Tertre Rouge #LM24

14:13Simonsen was leading LMGTE Am in the car he shares with Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen #LM24

14:12Early hiccup for us, and an early safety car after Allan Simonsen crashes heavily at Tertre Rouge #LM24

14:02Nicolas Lapierre moves from 5th to 3rd through the opening corners #LM24

14:00Definitely raining at #LM24 now

13:52We’re past the point of no return. Cars are flagged away on their formation lap. Next time by we’ll racing!

13:45Continuing the theme of this year’s Le Mans – the cars are formed up on the grid under drizzling rain. Anyone want to pick a tyre to start on then? #LM24

13:41We’ll have our ‘normal’ hour-by-hour coverage of the race as well as this blog. We’re gluttons for punishment! #LM24

13:37Good afternoon! We’re online and all set for our coverage of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans #LM24