Rain returns to Le Mans for final hour

With less than one hour and 10 minutes remaining in the 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, drama has unfolded as a rain shower has covered parts of Circuit de La Sarthe. Overall race leader Tom Kristensen in the No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest...

With less than one hour and 10 minutes remaining in the 76th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, drama has unfolded as a rain shower has covered parts of Circuit de La Sarthe. Overall race leader Tom Kristensen in the No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest R10 TDI pitted for intermediate tires while the second-placed No. 7 Peugeot Team Total 908 HDi-FAP of Nicolas Minassian came in but stayed on slicks.

The strategy behind Minassian's strategy is that only about one-third of the 8.5-mile circuit is wet. However, the Frenchman's pit stop took longer than expected as he overshot his pit box and the crew was forced to put the car on rollers to reposition the diesel-powered LM P1 coupe.

Kristensen continues to lead but is running slower lap times compared to the slick-tired Minassian. However, on lap 367, Minassian spun at the wet Dunlop Chicane, losing more time. Minassian is now two minutes and 39 seconds behind leader Kristensen with less than 50 minutes to go.

<B>Update 14:16:</B> Minassian is now lapping faster than Kristensen as the rain begins to ease up over the front straight. The gap is now two minutes and 32 seconds with 40 minutes remaining.

<B>Update 14:24:</B> Frank Biela in the sixth-place Audi goes off at the Playstation Chicane, spinning into the gravel. For second straight lap, Minassian has missed one of the Mulsanne chicanes but is still gaining slightly on the leader.

<B>Update 14:37:</B> Minassian pits for full wet tires. The car is down and away in a quick stop.

<B>Update 14:42:</B> There are problems for Minassian. He loses a lap to Kristensen and is weaving the car back and forth - there is something wrong with the No. 7 Peugeot 908 HDi-FAP.

<B>Update 14:48:</B> Kristensen pits for ran tires while Minassian comes in for a new set of tires - apparently an imbalanced set of tires was the problem. The Audi now has a lap lead over the Peugeot.

More to come as it happens...

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Nicolas Minassian