The #1 Audi continued to lead the 2014 24 hours of Le Mans as the race started to enter its final stages.
Marc Gene handed driving duties over to Tom Kristensen in a routine pit stop for the leader.
The main interest at the head of the field is focused on the battle for second. Andre Lotterer, in the #2 Audi, has been setting blistering lap times and gained a lap back on the #20 Porsche. It now looks possible that the German driver could catch the Porsche for second before the end of the race, with the #20 seemingly having no answer to the pace of the Audis ahead and behind it.
The #8 Toyota continues its forlorn chase in fourth, with the #12 Rebellion being the only other LMP1 class car still in the race.
Instead, most of the interest in the previous hour has come courtesy of the LMP2 class. The long-time class leading OAK Racing Ligier suffered a delay in the pits following an engine misfire. It didn’t stay there for long, but the problem was enough to give the class lead to the similar #48 machine, with the #38 Signatech Alpine having dropped to fourth earlier in the day.
But, just as come to be expected this year, there was further drama not long later. Shortly before the end of the hour, the #46 TDS car slowed with an apparent front left puncture. It managed to limp back to the pits, but is likely to hand the lead back to the #35 OAK car.
The battle in GTE Pro is no longer as close, following problems for the #97 Aston Martin earlier in the day. The car was delayed with power steering problems, and has dropped behind the #95 class leading GTE-Am Aston Martin in the running order.
That development means the #51 AF Corse Ferrari now holds a comfortable two lap advantage over the two Porsches, #92 and #91.
Meanwhile in GTE-Am, as previously stated, the #95 continues its untroubled run at the front of the class, where it has been for most the race. But as the hour drew to a close, the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porche was wheeled back into its garage with Patrick Dempsey himself behind the wheel.
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 20 hours
1 – #1 Audi Sport Team Joest – di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen
2 – #20 Porsche Team – Bernhard/Webber/Hartley
3 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
1 – #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing – Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy
2 –#35 Oak Racing – Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy
3 -#38 JOTA Sport – Dolan/Tinknell/Turvey
1 –#51 AF Corse – Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella
2 –#92 Porsche Team Manthey – Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz
3 –##73 Corvette Racing Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor
1 – #95 Aston Martin Racing – Poulsen/Heinemeier Hansson/Thiim
2 – #88 Proton Competition – Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi
3 – #61 AF Corse – Perez Companc/Cioci/Venturi