After five hours, for the first time at the top of an hour a Peugeot 908 leads the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Anthony Davidson, aboard the no.7 car by virtue of the greater economy the Peugeot coupe is capable of.
The Briton took the lead when Marcel Fassler brought the leading no.2 Audi into the pits at 7:50pm local time. The sequence of stops had become the norm since the race restarted after the lengthy post-McNish safety car, but this time more than ever the French squad seemed to extend their stint to take the lead.
Earlier in the hour, after his own stop, Davidson had nearly lost second place, falling into the clutches of Romain Dumas in the slightly delayed no.1 Audi R18. However, Dumas – off sequence after a short stint earlier in the race – pitted before the battle could be resolved either way – either by Davidson pulling away, or the Audi making the pass.
Dumas would later be further delayed by a spin at Tetre Rouge, escaping with no damage after looping to the inside of the right hander.
Another close battle is the one between the best of the petrol engine LMP1 cars. Neel Jani had held the lead in the sub-class but Julien Jousse took the place – seventh overall behind the diesels – under braking for the Ford Chicane at the end of the lap. Jousse, a young Frenchman has been the best of the Pescarolo Team drivers at Le Mans so far, scoring the fastest lap for the car on both days of qualifying.
The other main news from LMP1 was the official retirement of both Aston Martin AMR-One having run just six laps between them. The no.007 did get back on track after lengthy repairs, but the car only made a lap before returning for the garage.
The LMP2 and GTEPro lead remains unchanged, though the lead Corvette – now with Richard Westbrook at the wheel – did lose the lead to the AF Corse Ferrari during pitstops.
Krohn Racing lead the GTEAm class in the Ferrari 430, with the Aston Martin Vantage in second.
2011 24 Hours of Le Mans standings after five hours:
No.7 – Peugeot Sport Total – Davidson/Gene/Wurz
No.2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
No.9 – Team Peugeot Total – Bourdais/Pagenaud/Lamy
No.48 – Team ORECA Matmut – Hallyday/Kraihamer/Premat
No.42 – Strakka Racing – Leventis/Kane/Watts
No.41 – Pecom Racing – Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard
No.74 – Corvette Racing – Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook
No.56 – BMW Motorsport – Hand/Muller/Priaulx
No.51 – AF Corse SRL – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander
No.57 – Krohn Racing – Jonsson/Krohn/Rugolo
No.60 – Gulf AMR Middle East – Giroux/Goethe/Wainwright
No.50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel