Audis stay on top through the night

Audis stay on top through the night

The leading Audi trio continued to dominate the 70th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans as dawn approached on Sunday, in what is starting to look like a repeat of 2001. The ...

The leading Audi trio continued to dominate the 70th running of the 24 hours of Le Mans as dawn approached on Sunday, in what is starting to look like a repeat of 2001.

The #1 Audi (currently piloted by Frank Biela) has a two-lap lead over the #2 (Christian Pescatori), which, in turn, is about a minute ahead of the #3 (Michael Krumm).

Frank Biela.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

All three have suffered multiple punctures, and lost time getting back to the pits, but the #3 has had the worst luck, suffering the flats early on in the lap and limping through most of the 13 km lap with a shredded tire.

In the leading car, Biela, Emmanuele Pirro and Tom Kristensen have lapped steadily in the 3:40 range, clearly unmatched by any other team on the track.

The "Bentley Boys" held fourth throughout much of the night, but just after 4 AM the #6 Cadillac (Max Angelelli) took over the position from Eric van de Poele, four laps off the #3 Audi's pace.

The second Cadillac continues to recover from earlier mechanical woes as well, with Eric Bernard currently running in 12th place overall, and taking as much as 15 seconds a lap from the 11th-place LM GTS Ferrari 550 just ahead.

The #26 MG that ran so strongly throughout the evening and early night had to abandon the race, with a drivetrain failure near the Dunlop curve just after 1 AM.

The safety car has come out twice in the night, once for KnightHawk Racing's blown engine and ensuing fire, and once for the oil spread on' the trck by the #18 Pescarolo.

The primary concern for Audi with regard to the safety car? It now looks unlikely that the team will be able to better Porsche's 31-year-old distance record of 5,334 km.

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Frank Biela , Michael Krumm , Christian Pescatori , Max Angelelli , Eric Gilbert