Audi takes lead in the rain

The No.2 Audi Sport R10 with Tom Kristensen at the wheel has made the best of the wet conditions in the early morning of Le Mans 24 Hours, taking the overall lead for Audi from their French rivals, Peugeot.

#2 Audi Sport North America Audi R10: Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Jacques Villeneuve in the No. 7 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi-FAP battled hard to keep the advantage, but Kristensen, a seven-time 24 Hours winner, took time hand over fist from the Canadian former F1 pilot. Having closed the gap to just a few seconds, the Audi team took advantage of a scheduled pit stop, as Peugeot put Marc Gene the car: the driver change extended Peugeot's stop, and Audi was easily out of the pits faster. When it was all said and done, a 90-second advantage for Peugeot had turned into a 32-second deficit.

As the rain persisted, the Audis were consistently faster, but whenever the track dried the Peugeots were pulling back. The current lead at the top of the hour was almost 45 seconds for the Audi.

At 6:10 am local time Montagny took over the No. 9 Peugeot and McNish strapped into the No. 2 Audi, Kristensen handing the car over to the Scot in lead position.

Mike Rockenfeller held third place for Audi, defending against Ricardo Zonta in the No. 9 Peugeot. They were followed by Frank Biela and Alexander Wurz in yet another Audi-Peugeot pair.

Behind the dominant diesels, the No. 17 Pescarolo was just one lap behind the sixth-placed No. 8 Peugeot.

The Embassy Racing car the Embassy WF01 hit the barrier and limped back to the pits for repairs.