A key moment in this years Le Mans 24 hours played out at 6:55 this morning when Marcel Fassler was forced to pit the second placed #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro after it lost half of its rear bodywork.
The engine cover became dislodged and then broke apart at the Porsche Curves. Fassler initially continued but a wide moment at Arnage was enough for the Swiss driver to head pitward.
No official explanation for the problem has been received from Audi but Fassler dropped back to fifth place and in all reality has lost a realistic shot at a fourth Le Mans 24 Hours race for himself and team-mates Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer.
Treluyer was unable to shed light on why the engine cover should have come loose in that fashion, telling Motorsport.com that “there was no warning of course, was a shock for all of us.”
Audi hopes for victory now appear to rest on the #9 car currently being driven by LMP newcomer Rene Rast.
Just over seven hours remain in the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours and the No.19 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Nico Hulkenberg currently heads Rast by just over two minutes.
Porsche is aiming to score its first works win at La Sarthe since 1998 with McNish, Aiello and Dalmas.