Peugeot may have made a pit faux pas early in this 24-hour race, but at present they still have four of their 908 HDi FAP diesels in the running for both the win and overall victory.
Audi now has but one. It is the defending champions of Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Allan McNish in the #1 R15 TDI, but the others have hit severe problems as of the race's seventh hour.
At 9:30 p.m., Lucas Luhr lost control of his Audi Sport North America #2 Audi R15 TDI, suffering a serious smash into the barriers through Porsche Curve. Either a suspension breakage or puncture caused the shunt.
Luhr's car emerged from the tire barriers with its right rear corner completely mangled. The right rear wheel was completely perpendicular to the chassis frame. The engine still worked as Luhr tried in vain to restart the car, but officials and the laws of physics dictated he wasn't going anywhere.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich told Radio Le Mans' live commentary somewhat in vain, "I think the car could make it back. At present, we have no clue what happened. We will try to get the car back if possible."
That was possible, but no longer as Luhr indeed climbed out of the #2 Audi. He fought as much as possible to continue and limp the wounded chariot back to the pits but to no avail.
It's already been an abnormally fraught race for the factory Audis; the #3 Audi of Alexandre Premat, Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas has been in the garage with some turbo-related issues for about the last hour.
The accident drastically alters the P1 order. There is a battle for third between the #17 Pescarolo Peugeot of Benoit Treluyer and the #008 Aston Martin Racing Lola B09/60 Aston Martin of Anthony Davidson. Audi's lone remaining contending Audi R15 TDI runs second, the #1 currently driven by eight-time Le Mans champion Tom Kristensen.
Anyone who had money on the Kolles Audi R10 TDIs running ahead of two of the factory ones after nearly seven hours will be an extraordinarily rich individual at the moment. The #14, now down to two drivers following Narain Karthikeyan's freak shoulder injury in pre-race, is ahead of the sister #15. Charles Zwolsman and Giorgio Mondini run in seventh and eighth overall.
Not long after, GT1 lost another car at least temporarily. The #72 Luc Alphand Adventures Chevy Corvette C6.R of Patrice Goueslard went off and suffered front end damage.