Audi have gambled. For the first time during the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans a driver is running five stints on the same tyres.
That man is Benoit Treluyer in the only surviving Audi R18. By not changing Michelin tyres or swapping driver the team saved approximately 30 seconds and though the Frenchman still emerged from the pits in second it was by a matter of seconds as Bourdais flashed by on the climb away from the pits towards the Dunlop Chicane.
Bourdais stopped only a handful of laps after the Audi giving Treluyer a lead of over a minute. However, he was now tucked up behind Anthony Davidson in the no.7 Peugeot, four laps off the pace after Alex Wurz's earlier off.
The Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan continues to lead LMP2, with a four lap advantage over the similarly Nissan engined ORECA O3 of the Signatech squad. Level 5 Motorsports hold third place, with their nearest challengers – the no.49 OAK Racing car fell away, their Pescarolo being pulled back into the garage. The other OAK Racing LMP2 entry also found problems ??? Lafargue becoming the latest man to suffer a puncture.
There were also problems for Raymond Narac in the Imsa Performance Porsche, who ran into the gravel at Tetre Rouge and the JMW Motorsport Ferrari which ran out of fuel and had to crawl the last remaining yards into the pitlane on the starter motor of the ailing Ferrari, struggling since Saturday with clutch problems.
There are also clutch problems for the no.51 AF Corse Ferrari, the car coming in for a pitstop, the team lifting the engine cover off the rear of the 458 Italia which also – according to driver Giancarlo Fisichella in a TV interview is suffering an electrical problem.
And as if the final four hours of the race aren't unpredictable enough, there are the first signs of rain falling over La Sarthe.
2011 24 Hours of Le Mans standings after twenty 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.51 – AF Corse SRL – Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander
No.73 – Corvette Racing – Beretta/Milner/Garcia
No.56 – BMW Motorsport – Hand/Muller/Priaulx
No.50 – Larbre Competition – Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel
No 70 – Larbre Competition – Bourret/Gibon/Belloc
No.83 – JMB Racing – Rodrigues/Menahem/Marroc