24 Hours of Le Mans

2011 24 Hours of Le Mans: Hour Twenty Two Update

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Andre Lotterer has, so far, survived some of the forecast rain as he continues to lead for Audi with just two hours of the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans remaining.

While others – most notably the no.8 Peugeot 908 took on intermediate tyres to cope with the increasingly tricky conditions, Lotterer remaining on slick tyres, though obviously struggling with the conditions, tip-toeing through the Porsche Curves visibly, allowing a normally slower LMP2 car to get past him. Still Lotterer passed up the opportunity for new tyres of any denomination when he made his regular pitstop.

Lotterer's caution allowed a charging Simon Pagenaud to cleave time out of the healthy lead, often at more than ten seconds a lap as the two cars on the lead lap began to close up.

While the leaders avoided any major incident because of the conditions other high profile entries were not so lucky. The no.10 ORECA Peugeot went off at Indianapolis, hitting the barriers before getting going again, depositing it's rear bodywork on the short blast towards the 90 degree right of Arnage.

Tom Kimber-Smith of Greaves Motorsport – the leaders in LMP2 – went off at the Dunlop Chicane, spinning into the gravel. The Zytek was soon back on track but Tim Greaves' team chose to use some of their seven lap lead to check the car over in the garage as a precaution before rejoining the race, still easily leading the class in seventh overall.

Greaves' lead had grown because of a flurry of problems for the Signatech Nissan that had been their nearest competitor. Franck Mailleux suffered a left-rear puncture at the beginning of the hour, stopping on track at one point before limping the car back to the pits for repairs, overseen by Hughes de Chaunac of chassis builders ORECA.

Once returned to the track Mailleux became another spinner in the wet, lopping the car at the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight. The largest accident in the wet came at the sweeping fast right hander at the start of the Porsche Curves when Emmanuel Collard hit the tyre wall in the LMP1 Pescarolo, damaging the car enough to make it an instant and very emotional retirement on Henri Pescarolo's return to Le Mans after a year away.

The lead has changed in GTEPro, Tommy Milner taking the lead back for Corvette Racing in the no.73 car, passing the increasingly sickly AF Corse Ferrari.

In the Amateur class Larbre Competition still hold a 1-2 with their Corvette heading their Porsche by about a lap with the JMB Racing Ferrari completing the provisional podium on the debut for the new class set-up.

2011 24 Hours of Le Mans standings after twenty-two hours

No.2 – Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
No.9 – Sport Total – Bourdais/Lamy/Pagenaud
No.8 – Peugeot Sport Total – Sarrazin/Montagny/Minassian

No.41 – Greaves Motorsport – Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard
No.26 – Signatech – Mailleux/Ordonez/Ayari
No.33 – Level 5 Motorsport – Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa

No.73 – Corvette Racing – Beretta/Milner/Garcia
No.51 – AF Corse SRL – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander
No.56 – BMW Motorsport – Priaulx/Muller/Hand

No.50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel
No 70 – Larbre Competition – Bourret/Gibon/Belloc
No.83 – JMB Racing – Rodrigues/Menahem/Marroc

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