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24H Le Mans

Drama in LMP2 as Audi Continues to Lead at Le Mans

LMP2 race leaders hit trouble, Audi continues to lead…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

While Audi remains up front overall, drama has hit the LMP2 leaders in the closing stages of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The No. 35 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan, which had dominated the LMP2 ranks since the opening hours, lost nearly 10 minutes in the garage with engine-related issues and a rear brake change  in the 19th hour.

Mark Shulzhitskiy rejoined in second, giving the pole-sitting Ligier Nissan from Thiriet by TDS Racing the lead. However, Tristan Gommendy suffered left-front suspension failure and pitted his class-leading No. 46 car with four hours to go.

With engine concerns in the OAK camp, the third-placed No. 38 Team Jota Zytek Z11SN Nissan could be in the cat bird’s seat, with Simon Dolan only one lap behind Shulzhitskiy in the cost-capped prototype ranks.

Trouble also hit the GTE-Pro ranks, with the second-placed No. 97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE of Bruno Senna spending more than 20 minutes in the garage with power steering failure.

It came following an intense battle for the lead between Senna and the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni, who now enjoys a two-lap lead over the No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz in second.

The No. 73 Corvette Racing C7.R has been promoted to third following the delay for the No. 97 Aston Martin.

Up front, the race-leading No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Tom Kristensen slowed on track at the start of the 21st hour. The nine-time Le Mans winner continued but it may not be the end of the story.

Kristensen holds a one-lap lead over the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, with Andre Lotterer’s No. 2 Audi running in third.

GTE-Am continues to be led by the No. 95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim, who holds a three-lap lead over the competition.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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