As dawn broke through the leaden skies above the Circuit de la Sarthe the main drama of the 16th hour of the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans fell in the LMP2 class.
Early in the hour Lucas Luhr ran into the gravel at the foot of the Esses in the Jota Zytek-Nissan that had installed itself in third place in the class. However, with suspension damage the cause of the off Luhr was forced to limp around much of the lap before pitting to be pushed into the garage for the start of repairs.
Their problems elevated the Nissan works supported #42 Greaves Motorsport team (and their Zytek-Nissan) up to third, though still ?? adrift of the OAK Racing pair that become a fixture in the top two places in the class.
The lead battle in LMGTE Pro continues to ebb and flow between Aston Martin Racing and Porsche AG Team Manthey. The #92 Porsche started the hour in the lead but slipped back to second after a quick service, including new brake discs and a top-up of vital fluids, performed in the garage.
The Porsche, taken out of the pits by Richard Lietz, dropped to second as the #99 Aston Martin Racing car of Bruno Senna moved back to the head of the class with a 45 second advantage. The #97 ‘art car’ Aston remains in touch in third place in.
The #76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche continues to show the way in LMGTE Am with a lap advantage over the #55 AF Corse Ferrari. They in turn are a lap to the good over their teammates in the #61 Ferrari 458 Italia.
In the overall lead there is a lap between the leading #2 Audi and the better of the two Toyotas in second. The #3 Audi squad continue to chase down the pair of TS030 Hybrids searching out a spot on the podium.
At the end of the hour the #3 car was only about half a lap behind the #7 Toyota in the chase for third that looks certain to continue into the final third of the race.
2013 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 12 hours
1 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Kristensen/Duval/McNish
2 – #8 Toyota Racing – Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin
3 – #7 Toyota Racing – Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima
1 – #35 OAK Racing – Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman
2 – #24 OAK Racing – Brundle/Heinemeier Hansson/Pla
3 – #42 Greaves Motorsport – Mardenborough/Krumm/Ordonez
1 – #99 Aston Martin Racing – Bell/Makowiecki/Senna
2 – #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Lieb/Lietz/Dumas
3 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner
1 – #76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Narac/Bourret/Vernay
2 – #55 AF Corse – Perazzini/Case/O’Young
3 – #61 AF Corse – Gerber/Griffin/Cioci