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2013 24 Hours Of Le Mans: Hour 17 Update

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The 17th hour of the 2013 24 hours of Le Mans rounded out with the #2 Audi still in the lead, ahead of the #8 and #7 Toyotas that continue to run strongly.

After a mammoth stint by Loic Duval through the night time hours, Tom Kristensen is in the hot seat and could be on his way to adding a ninth victory at Le Mans to his record.

The #2 has held an advantage of a lap, or just under a lap, over the #8 for several hours now with the Audi still having the pace advantage in these drier conditions. However, that could all change should the predicted rain fall at 9am French time.

Elsewhere, the delayed #3 Audi continues to chase and close on the Toyotas, and almost managed to get a lap back off the #2 before Lucas di Grassi brought the car in for a routine pit stop. The fastest car remains the #1 Audi however, and is closing on the #12 Rebellion. However, it seems unlikely that it’ll gain any further ground.

OAK Racing continues a dream run in LMP2, with the #35 back ahead of the #24. The #42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek continues to hold third behind them. Things have not been completely perfect for OAK though, with their third car, the #45, being delayed by an apparent suspension problem that saw Jacques Nicolet hobbling back to the pits.

Elsewhere in LMP2, and the Level 5 HPD continues to catch fire every time it tries to resume after a pit stop, but despite the engine problems the team is experiencing, the car is still in the race. Thiriet by TDS Racing and the #41 Greaves car have been two other casualties in the class within the hour.

GTE Pro continues to be an Aston Martin and Porsche dominated race, with AF Corse and Corvette Racing firmly reduced to “best of the rest.” The #92 Porsche now leads, ahead of long-time rivals, #97, #99 and sister Porsche #91.

Porsche also leads the GTE Am category, with the IMSA Performance Matmut car in the lead courtesy of Vernay, who recently handed over the driving duties to Bourret. AF Corse has a better chance of victory in this class though, with the #55 in second place, while third place currently belongs to the Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche with Patrick Dempsey himself at the wheel.

1 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Duval/McNish/Kristensen
2 – #8 Toyota Racing – Buemi/Davidson/Sarrazin
3 – #7 Toyota Racing – Lapierre/Nakajima/Wurz

1 – #24 OAK Racing – Brundle/Heinemeier Hansson/Pla
2 – #35 OAK Racing – Baguette/Gonzales/Plowman
3 – #42 Greaves Motorsport – Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm

1 – #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Dumas/Lieb/Lietz
2 – #99 Aston Martin Racing – Bell/Makowiecki/Senna
3 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner

1 – #76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Bourret/Narac/Vernay
2 – #55 AF Corse – Case/Perazzini/O’Young
3 – #77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton – Dempsey/Foster/Long

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F1 correspondent for The Checkered Flag. Follow him on Twitter @JHSingo
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