Audi continued to lead the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans after 20 hours, but a second R18 e-tron quattro was closing in on joining it in the podium spots.
At the end of the hour Lucas di Grassi had the gap between he and Kazuki Nakajima in third down to just 22 seconds with a number of laps significantly faster than the Japanese driver ahead. Nakajima trails his teammates in the #8 car by a full lap, and they are another lap off the overall lead.
The margin at the front is despite an ill-judged swap to wet tyres shortly before Fred Makowiecki’s crash brought out the safety car once again. The rain stopped and almost immediately the track began to dry out of the operating window for the wet tyres forcing a further pitstop upon the #2 team. As the race returned to green flag conditions the #2 Audi returned to the pits, new tyres replacing the treaded ones, with Loic Duval replacing Allan McNish in the cockpit.
As the race enters its final stages there are still several obvious battles to be resolved.
In LMP2, while the OAK Racing twins continue to dominate the class, Michael Krumm in the #42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek is within striking distance of the G-Drive Racing #26, driven by Roman Rusinov to the end of the hour.
The upper echelons of LMGTE Am are relatively spread out, the #76 IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche a lap to the good over the #55 AF Corse Ferrari, with a further lap to the Dempsey Del Piero Porsche in the final podium spot in the class.
The main battle, however, lay in the LMGTE Pro class. After most of the race had been a story of two Astons racing against a single Porsche Darren Turner found himself in the middle of the two works Porsches on the lead lap in class.
After pitstops for all the class front runners Turner lay around 11 seconds behind the lead Porsche. However, chipping away at the advantageTurner had reduced the lead to eight seconds at the end of the hour. The third placed Porsche trailed the Aston – now the lone Vantage in the Pro class – by 80 seconds
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 – #26 G-Drive Racing – Conway/Martin/Rusinov
1 – #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Lieb/Lietz/Dumas
2 – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner
3 – #91 Porsche AG Team Manthey – Bergmeister/Bernhard/Pilet
1 – #76 IMSA Performance Matmut – Narac/Bourret/Vernay
2 – #55 AF Corse – Perazzini/Case/O’Young
3 – #77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton – Dempsey/Foster/Long