Peugeot leads as safety car comes out

Peugeot leads as safety car comes out

Nicolas Minassian continues to lead the 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with ten hours now complete in the twice-around-the-clock marathon. The No. 7 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi-FAP holds a two-minute plus lead after benefiting from a...

Nicolas Minassian continues to lead the 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with ten hours now complete in the twice-around-the-clock marathon. The No. 7 Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi-FAP holds a two-minute plus lead after benefiting from a safety car period that latest most of the hour.

#7 Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908: Marc Gene, Nicolas Minassian, Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Team Oreca Matmut's race went from good to worse just minutes into the hour when Marcel Fassler crashed the No. 6 Courage-Oreca LC70 Judd in the Porsche Curves. The rather-serious accident brought out the first safety car period of the race, lasting for nearly 40 minutes. Fassler was taken from the car and appears to be shaken, but uninjured. To make things worse, the team's sister No. 5 car was wheeled to the garage for unspecified repairs, costing them two laps.

With the field split up by two separate safety cars, the two leaders up front were separated while under yellow. Allan McNish in the second-placed No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 TDI lost around 50 seconds before going back to green.

Team Cytosport's maiden Le Mans came to a rather abrupt end shortly after the field went to green, when Jan Lammers suffered from a stuck throttle - then noticed a drop in oil pressure.

"We were driving behind the pace car, and then as I went to the Esses, the throttle stuck wide open," Lammers explained. "That was a bit of a fright, but I could manage with the shift and braking against the throttle. So I was able to make it through half a lap. But then as I wiggled the throttle again, it was okay. But it had apparently swallowed a valve.

"From there on, it didn't sound right, but because you're running behind the pace car you couldn't put a good diagnosis on it. So we came in and checked everything and still looked ok. But as the light turned green, I started racing with the others and immediately noticed."

The car had suffered from various other setbacks throughout the race but made it back up to 16th overall before its engine failure.

In LM P2, the Van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche RS Spyder continues to lead, one lap ahead of the Team Essex entry with the Speedy Team Sebah Lola B08/80 Judd in third. The RML MG Lola EX265, which had a scary crash in the hands of Mike Newton, had rejoined the fray, over 58 laps behind the class leaders.

The No. 009 Aston Martn Racing DBR9 has taken over the class lead in LM GT1, ahead of the No. 63 Corvette and No. 007 Aston Martin.

The LM GT2 class still sees the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT still pace the way, despite making a long stop for a brake pad change while under the safety car. However, it now holds a two-lap lead over the No. 96 Virgo Motorsports Ferrari, which is suffering power steering problems.

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Series LEMANS