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Raceday Two in La Sarthe

Hour 10-11 (24:00-01:00)

The race order as we move through into Sunday is:

Le Mans 2011

Please note that our coverage here was posted "live" as it happened. Our apologies for any typing errors made in haste. Thank you.

Race control advises that the restart has been delayed yet further, and will not now take place before 00:30.

The leader, and sole surviving Audi, pits for a refuel and screen clean, but no tyres.

Yet a further revision to the schedule for restarting the race. The safety car will now be called in at 00:45.

Tommy was getting bored and started checking his instruments. Inadvertently he's re-set the fuel. "Stop playing with your toys," suggests Phil. Tommy is grumbling just a little bit about the exceptionally slow pace of the safety car. It is making it almost impossible to retain any temperature in the tyres.

"I was very concerned for Mike (Rockenfeller). It looked very, very bad. The car was so badly damaged that I couldn’t really make out what it was. I didn’t want to see that every time I drove past, and not knowing how the driver was just made it worse. It highlights just how dangerous this sport can be, and especially here at Le Mans where the speeds are so high. But, I just had to keep on driving round, and you’ve got to be patient."

Restart extended until 00:50.

Somehow the #5 Hope Racing hybrid manages to spin. Those tyres must be really cold.

Race Control revises its calculations yet again, and we're now looking at 01:00 for the restart. This safety Car period started at 22:40, two hours and ten minutes ago.

Timing screens suggest that this will be the last lap under the safety car. Mike is getting ready for a driver change. However, the lights are still illuminated on the safety car.

Tommy into the Porsche Curves and preparing for a pitstop. Several other teams are also preparing to call in their cars. Could get busy down Pit Road.

Hour 11-12 (01:00-02:00)

01:00 PIT STOP (Erdos out, Newton in)
Tommy enters the pit lane. he removes his drinks tube and slackens off his belts in anticipation of the driver change. Mike will be returning to the cockpit. It's a straightforward pitstop, and Mike trundles off down the pitlane towards the exit, but is held there under the red light awaiting the arrival of the next safety car train. It is because of the way the pitlane exit is frequently closed waiting for the safety car to pass - and they use three at Le Mans - that it is usually best to pit when racing normally, and the perceived benefits elsewhere of pitting under the safety car no longer apply. Most teams will either wait until the very end of the period and try to come in while the safety car is still out, but time the end of the pitstop for when racing has resumed and the pitlane is open again.

"We always look to maximise the opportunities of the safety car," said Phil Barker. "Here we have three safety cars, so the strategy needs to be planned very carefully. You can lose as lot of track position by not getting the car out in the right slot. At most circuits it’s beneficial to stop when the safety car is going round, but at Le Mans you can actually lose more time by stopping then than you can by doing a conventional pitstop."

Tommy was not exactly overjoyed by the nature of his stint. "I drove through both the longest safety car periods. The first was bad enough, but then the second – over two hours! It seemed that every time I got into the car, the safety car came out. It’s not really why we go racing! The trouble with that second period was the way they kept delaying the restart. It just kept going on and on, and that didn’t help. It didn’t make for a good story, tootling around, and Phil said that even he could have driven a stint like that!”

Finally, after two hours and twenty minutes, racing resumes. Several others also pitted on that last lap, including nearly all the top LMP2 runners, such as the #48, #39, #42 and #33. The only one that didn't was the #41 Greaves Zytek.

Treluyer leads overall (#2 Audi) from Montagny in the #8 Peugeot with Bourdais third in the #9. We still have all four Peugeots running and in contention. Only that sole surviving Audi stands between them and a whitewash.

Sixth overall and fronting the "petrol class" is the #16 Pescarolo, with Tinseau in the cockpit, but the gap to Prost in the #12 Rebellion is under a second still.

Magnussen is now in the #74 Corvette, fronting GTE-Pro from Goossens in the #75 Porsche and then Vilander, just returned to the track in the #51 Ferrari.

The P2 leader is into the garage. The #44 is also in the pitlane, and likewise into the garage.

Bunched up by the safety car, it was only a matter of moments before the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek took the class lead. The stop for the #48 was only brief though, and it's back out again by quarter-past. Apparently it was a minor electrical problem..

Mike is circulating in 24th position overall, 9th in LMP2.

The #88 Felbermayr Porsche is next to venture under cover, and is hauled into the garage. Had been 39th overall.

Conditions out there are obviously suiting some drivers. Milner in the #73 Corvette has just set a new fastest lap for the car of 4:01.265.

The #49 Oak Pescarolo has pitted from 6th in P2, and almost immediately loses the position to Ordonez in the #26 Signatech Oreca.

The leader pits. It's a routine stop for Treluyer, who stays aboard the #2 Audi.

Pat Long pits the #80 Lizard and allows Mike Newton easy passage through to 23rd overall. Still four GT cars between him and an improvement in class though.

The #9 and #7 Peugeots also pit, virtually together. So that's the top three into the pits and out again within the space of five minutes.

In a bizarre sequence, the second, third and fourth cars in GTE-Pro all set quickest times respectively, each posting a time of almost four minutes exactly, the #51 Ferrari on 4:00.020, the #59 Ferrari on 4:00.788, and the #73 Corvette posting 4:00.907. The #74 leads.

Those times are all quicker than the Oak Pescarolo #35 ahead of them. Mike's time on the same lap was a 4:00.103. Ben has been summoned to the garage though, so perhaps Phil is considering a return to the track for the one-time Stig.

The quickest on track in LMP2 at the present is Danny Watts in the #42 Strakka HPD, currently fourth in class, 13th overall, but closing on Russo.

Danny Watts passes Russo for third. His last lap was a 4:48.

Phil confirms that Ben is ready and waiting, and there will be a driver change at the next pitstop for the RML AD Group #36.

GTE-Am is being lead by the #70 Larbre Porsche (Gibon) from the Larbre Corvette (Garcia) and the #61 Ferrari (Perazzini). These three are fairly well spaced and there are few close-fought battles anywhere within the class.

We have 8 confirmed retirements. Added to the two LMP1 Astons and the Jota GTE Aston, there are two Audis (#1, #3) and the #40 Quifel ASM Zytek. New to the list are the #62 Ferrari and the #24 Oak Pescarolo.

01:49 PITSTOP (Newton out, Collins in)
Mike heads down pit road to hand over to Ben Collins. The crew's quick with fuel, four fresh tyres and a fresh driver, but then carry out a few minor duties (including topping up the oil) before letting Ben head off. There's a significant amount of activity in the LMP2 pitlane, with #48, #42, #39, #33 and #26 all pitting as well.

The RML pitstop was a 1:53, so almost half a minute longer than usual, and has cost them a couple of positions. Ben's resumed in 25th place.

Hankook Ferrari arrives in the pitlane somewhat unexpectedly. Steam or smoke rising from the front suggests more than a routine stop. Sure enough, the car is hauled backwards into the garage.

The #39 Pecon Lola is off at Post 11. There's smoke rising from the rear of the car. The Lola came through the first right-handed sweep of the Esses and then appears to have headed straight on across the gravel, turning about as it did so, and rear-ending the tyre wall at the base of the slope.

We've had some changes in P2 order as a result of that spate of pitstops a few minutes ago. Lombard leads in the #41 Zytek from Kraihamer in the #48, with Watts third for Strakka. Bouchut is running fourth in the #33 Level 5 Lola, having just passed Russo in the stranded and probably damaged be-finned #39 Lola.

Ben has suggested that the car appears to be down on power, when compared to his previous stint. He is pitting this lap.

Hour 12-13 (02:00-03:00)

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

02:03 PITSTOP (Collins in)
Ben into the pitlane. The team refuel, as normal, then drag Ben and the car backwards into the garage. The team is working on the exhaust system again to replace a second blown turbo.

“We anticipated the turbo problems and made it easier to replace the unit if it went wrong,” explained Adam Hughes. “When the first turbo failed we felt such a buzz from knowing we’d already prepared for it.” Vince Mitchell, No.1 Mechanic on the #36, was chuffed to bits by the efficiency of the team’s work. “We fixed the first turbo in seventeen minutes, which was a bit disappointing really, but replaced the second in only thirteen, and thought ‘Yes!’ done it. That was very satisfying.”

The leader is into the pits. Fuel, screen clean and general tidy-up. No tyres. Treluyer resumes.

Bourdais sets fastest first sector of the race of 32.6 seconds.

The RML HPD remains in the pit garage, and has slipped now to 28th overall. Ben remains in the cockpit.

Another confirmed retirement, with the #57 Ferrari being added to the list, making nine in all.

Car 56, the BMW, is marked as being off the track and in the gravel at Post 96.

An unscheduled stop for the Strakka HPD for the fitting of a new front-end after a skirmish with the kerbs at Tetre Rouge. As the #42 arrives, so Ben resumes.

02:17 PITSTOP ENDS (Collins)
Ben rejoins, job done - second blown turbo fixed and sorted.

“As soon as the drivers start squawking about a lack of power you know it’s going to be a turbo issue.” explained Phil Barker, Team Manager. “It was the left turbo each time, and the waste gate mechanism was the problem. Right from the beginning of the season we’d known the turbos were a weak point and likely to give us problems, especially here at Le Mans. Adam developed a quick release system that cut down the usual replacement time from about an hour to under twenty minutes, and that largely solved it for us. The turbos were a great fix, but the race was saved by the preparation. A speedy fix kept us running, and without it each turbo might have cost us an hour to replace."

The #10 Team Oreca Peugeot 908 makes its first error of the race, and Duval has gone off at Post 42. The car is buried in the gravel, but the extraction crews are hauling it back towards the track.

The Strakka HPD returns to the track from the pitlane, and the #10 Oreca Peugeot is also on the black stuff once again.

The #16 Pescarolo has lost the illumination to its side number panels.

The #24 Oak Pescarolo, confirmed as a retirement, suffered a fire out on the circuit.

The #39 Pecon Lola has now joined the list of retirements.

The #60 Aston has gone off into the gravel bed at Post 115. The extraction crews are removing it, so it should rejoin shortly.

More drama for the Team Oreca Peugeot #10, which returns to the pitlane with signs of having made frontal contact with something solid. The nose and right front have taken most of the damage. The crew haul the broken car into the box.

The extended pitstop for the Strakka HPD has cost the #42 several places, and Watts has resumed in 15th overall, 6th in LMP2.

Ben is getting back into his stride and posting sub four-minute laps. The HPD stands 31st overall, two minutes clear of Frey in the #40 Race Performance Oreca Judd.

The Oreca 908 remains in the garage as the mechanics make repairs to the front suspension. In the neighbouring garage, the team's Oreca 03 LMP2 completes a scheduled pitstop for fuel.

Another rush of P2 pitstops - #48, #33, #26 and #26 all in and then back out without issue. The Strakka #42 has also been back in again too, but only a 3:52 stop this time.

Ben moves ahead of the #61 Ferrari to hold 30th.

It looks possible that the #42 Strakka HPD has stopped out on track. Danny Watts left the pit several minutes ago, but has yet to set a first-sector time. It has dropped down from 16th overall to 21st, and still no first-sector time.

Investigation confirms that the #42 is a retirement, with Danny Watts having pulled up at the exit to the first chicane. The earlier pitstop and front-end replacement was to repair damage sustained after hitting a kerb, and Paul Evans, the team's Press Officer, surmises that additional damage may have been sustained. For the time being the car is still showing on the timing screens.

The LMP2 leader, the #41 Greaves Zytek, is into the pits for a full service - fuel, tyres and driver. Karim Ojjeh takes over.

Ben passes the stricken Strakka HPD on the timing screen. Paul Evans here in the Press Room confirms that the car is retired, and that the earlier trip across the kerbs may have damaged an oil line or radiator. The car will not restart.

Ben has moved through to 26th position, having passed a string of GT cars, but is nearing the end of this stint.

Out at the sharp end, Treluyer maintains his grip on the outright lead after a monumental quadruple stint and has nearly a minute over the #9 Peugeot, Pagenaud driving, and the #7, with Wurz aboard. There's only eight seconds between these two.

Hour 13-14 (03:00-04:00) Half Distance

03:00 PITSTOP (Collins)
Dot on half way and Ben makes his next pitstop. Fuel only, and swiftly back out again.

The #40 Race Performance Oreca makes a pitstop, and in doing so ends up in the middle of the tightest battle of the race. GTE-Am is a worthy focus of interest at the moment, with the top four all on the same lap, and the leading Larbre Corvette just 20 seconds ahead of the chasing #81 Flying Lizard Porsche driven by Spencer Pumpelly.

The latest news on Mike Rockenfeller states that he's fine, but is being kept in hospital overnight, merely for observation. He has a few cuts, grazes and bruises but is otherwise OK.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

The race seemed to have settled down into a fairly predictable period, but then the #88 Porsche arrived in the pitlane with evidence of fairly extensive frontal damage, mainly to the right hand side. The wing had been ripped off, and the tyre is punctured. Could be mostly superficial though, except it may still take some time to repair.

Ben thinks he's flat spotted a tyre, but will "drive through it". What he doesn't mention at the time is that he's actually skidded off the track at post 42, but swiftly rejoined. His message over the radio was "I've locked a wheel", which sent several of the mechanics into a state of panic because they thought he'd "lost" a wheel.

It's that time again, when a gaggle of LMP2 runners heads for the pitlane. The #48, #33 and #26 (second through fourth respectively) have all completed a simultaneous pitstop. Ben completes 150 laps for the RML HPD.

Pitstop for the GTE-Pro leader. Magnussen brings the #74 Corvette in from 15th overall. Westbrook takes over.

Ben sets a new fastest first sector for the car of 35.5 seconds, but eases back slightly over the rest of the lap, but still posts 3:49.909.

The #73 Corvette is in the pitlane for a refit - new front disks. The guys are efficient enough not to need to draw the car into the garage, and complete the job in the pitlane.

The #64 Lotus has stopped at Post 76 on the Mulsanne. It resumes, albeit slowly, and then stops again.

Accident for the #60 Aston Martin GTE-Am. Looks fairly comprehensive, but no further details as yet. Had been running 39th, with Wainwright on his out-lap. (We later discovered that Michael Wainwright had sustained broken ribs and a punctured lung - probably the most serious injuries of anyone involved in incidents at Le Mans in 2011, despite the apparently far greater severity of several other accidents. We wish Michael a speedy recovery.)

03:44 PITSTOP (Collins)
A fuel-only pitstop for Ben. In, refuellers to work, quick wipe, and off again.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

Pitstops for both the first two Peugeots, from second and third. Fassler has taken over from Treluyer in the #2 Audi (missed the exact time, but about six minutes ago) and leads by 36 seconds. Gap between Pagenaud and Davidson is almost 45 seconds.

Ben Collins is setting consistent 3:50 laps, occasional ducking under, sometimes a little over, but nearly always quicker than almost everyone else in LMP2, and well faster than the ten GT cars ahead of him. Sadly, he's now ten laps down on the LMP2 leader, Kraihamer in the #48 Team Oreca 03, which took the lead from Karim Ojjeh a few minutes ago. Kraihamer has already opened out a 14 second lead on Ojjeh. Ayari is third (#26 Signatech Oreca) and Barbosa fourth in the #33 Level 5 Lola. De Crem is fifth for Oak #49 and Barlesi sixth . . . also for Oak, #35. This group occupies 10th through 15th, with Ben in 26th.

Hour 14-15 (04:00-05:00)

Our service stepped down a notch or two for about half an hour, but only a few significant occurrences:

04:27 PITSTOP (Collins out, Erdos in)
Ben handed over to Tommy at a little before half-four. Fuel, tyres, quick clean-round and Tommy sets off again.

04:49 PITSTOP (Erdos)
Straightforward pitstop for fuel only
, but the Brazilian started his out-lap and was immediately complaining of excessive vibration - more than he'd expect from simple pick-up. He then slid off and nosed the tyres at Arnage. Phil told him to come back in, reporting an accident in the Porsche Curves.

"I caught a gentle kiss on the tyre wall at Arnage after catching a patch of oil, but I was lucky. The Rebellion Lola hit the same trail of oil through the Porsche Curves and went off, ending their race," said Tommy later.

04:58 PITSTOP (Erdos in)
Tommy back into the pitlane to have the offending tyres replaced and a new nose section. The timing screen confirms car #13 stopped at post 121. "Tom had a slight off at Arnage, so we changed the nose, and then the tyres, and sent him out again," confirmed Phil Barker.

As predicted by Tommy, the safety car is deployed.

Tommy is pleased to say that the vibration has gone, It was the tyres (or one of them) causing the problem. The Rebellion looks to have gone head-first into the concrete wall, at the second right-hander through the Porsche Curves. Once again, Tommy is driving through a sefety car period.

Hour 15-16 (05:00-06:00)

We start the new hour with an eerie hush across the circuit, thanks to the presence of safety cars. In fact, as I write it's totally quiet, save the presence of the #51 Ferrari, currently in for a pitstop. The marshals are busily sweeping the track clear of debris through the Porsche Curves while others recover the remains of the #13 Lola. It is a certain retirement

The driver ion the Lola, Christophe Boullion, had been running in 8th position. No news yet on his condition, but he is out of the car.

The Top 30 is as follows:

Le mans 2011

Safety car should be coming in next lap. The period has effectively closed up all the tighter gaps, and the first three cars are together again, although the #2 Audi has already made its pitstop in the current "round", so should be in a good position at the restart.

Almost as soon as racing resumes, we have two further incidents. The #33 Level 5 Lola (Barbosa) is in the gravel at the bottom of the Esses, and the #59 has also gone off, briefly, somewhere in the Porsche Curves. As before, there were three safety cars controlling the flow of the race, and different re-start points around the track.

The #33 Lola rejoins, having lost just two positions. It is now holding 5th in LMP2. Tommy, meanwhile, made up a couple of places on the restart and is now 25th overall, and almost within sight of Pilet in the #76 Porsche for 24th. Guy Smith Tweets the retirement of the #13 Lola, while the #12 is in the pitlane for a routine stop. We have had 17 confirmed retirements now.

We have heard that Kauffman has been "excluded from the meeting" as a result of his move across the track that caused Rockenfeller's accident. Although the two cars are not thought to have made physical contact, there is no doubting that Kauffman's failure to leave space for the fast-moving Audi contributed directly to the incident. He will not be permitted to take any further part in the race. The #71 Ferrari is in the pits at present, with Waltrip sitting in the car.

Tom Kimber-Smith is back in the Greaves Zytek and now leads LMP2 by 18 seconds from David Hallyday in the #48 Oreca. We can expect the gap to grow steadily.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

Barbosa back in the pitlane with the #33 Level 5 Lola. Fuel, tyres and a few cursory checks in the wheelarches and away he goes.

All Hope is lost. The #5 is a confirmed retirement, although the car had been walking wounded for hours. The car covered 115 laps. So, we are now without Hope . . . .

The light levels have been increasing steadily for the last half-hour or so, and we have a spectacular dawn - bright shades of pink, blue and cerise spreading across a smattering of thin clouds. The forecast is for rain later today, but no signs at all yet of that threat.

The leader pits. Fassler is in for a fairly routine pitstop. He may resume without losing the lead, but Davidson is close in the chasing #7 Peugeot. The gap is down to 4 seconds.

Tommy Erdos moves through to 24th in the #36 RML HPD, and a worthy return to the first timing screen. It always seems significant!

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

05:51 PITSTOP (Erdos)
A straightforward stop for Tommy Erdos, with fuel and a fresh set of boots. The #36 is swiftly back out and racing once more, holding 24th place.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

Hour 16-17 (06:00-07:00)

This would appear to be for the recovery of the #58 Luxury Racing Ferrari, which has slowed to a snail's pace and then stopped through the Porsche Curves.

Goossens has pitted the #75 Porsche and Erdos moves through to inherit 23rd overall. The errant #59 Ferrari has stopped almost on the pit entry. Just to confirm that BOTH Luxury Racing Ferraris, the #58 and the #59 are involved in this stoppage. The #58 had made heavy rearward impact with the concrete walls near the entrance of the Porsche Curves, whereas the #59 had slowed to a halt and stopped at the entrance to the pitlane.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

The second-placed LMP2 Oreca #48 is reported as having stopped as well. We await clearer confirmation. David Hallyday is in the car.

We now have visual, and can confirm that the car has made heavy impact with the wall in the Porsche Curve, but seems to be moving. Unfortunately, the front right steering arm appears to be broken, so the wheel won't steer and is hampering progress. The nose of the car has gone.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Jakob Ebrey

Hallyday pulls over and stops, the car surrounded by smoke, or steam, and unsteerable. The #59 has been towed clear.

The #49 Oak Pescarolo is in the pits as well, with broken suspension according to one report.

A flatbed has gone to collect the #48. It looks like a certain retirement now. Various runners have elected to pit under the safety car, including Mailleux in the #26 Oreca.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

The situation is looking promising now for the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek, holding 9th overall and 2 laps clear of the #26 in second, and then the Level 5 Lola third. Considering the dire experiences the American squad went through during practice and qualifying, few would have predicted a podium for the black Lola.

Safety car predicted to come in at the end of this lap. We are effectively full daylight now.


No sooner has racing resumed than the #61 Ferrari crumps backwards into another section of wall. The drivers seem to be taking no account of the conditions. It is cold out there, and tyre temperatures drop away quickly under the safety car. They cannot push as soon as the lights turn green . . . yet some still do. Perazzini is thought to have got the car going again, but only very slowly. The Ferrari has sustained significant back-end damage. He had been lying second in GTE-Am.

We have the slightly incongruous sight - bearing in mind there are still 8 hours to go - of three factory Peugeots driving in formation. If they're planning a photo finish this early, they must be feeling very confident!

Audi prepares for a pitstop. Fassler leads by 46 seconds.

The #88 Felbermayr Porsche is into the gravel at Indianapolis. The car is being dragged out by a tractor unit, but the front wheels do not appear to be revolving cleanly. Even so, it is ploughed clear.

Fassler has exchanged with Lotterer, who heads back out in third. The marshals are displaying the red and yellow striped flag at Indianapolis - the sign of a slippery surface. Maybe that's what caused the #88 to run wide into the gravel.

Lotterer sets a new best lap of the race; a 3:27.710. Tommy Erdos has also just set a new fastest middle-sector for the #36. The conditions out there must be improving.

The Peugeot "train" has the #9 leading, with Montagny in the #8 just behind and hoping to unlap himself. Gene is a slightly more distant third (on the track), with Lotterer a mere 30 seconds behind, and closing.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

06:50 PITSTOP (Erdos out, Newton in)
Standard procedure for RML, as Mike clambers into the confines of the HPD's cockpit, tightens his belt and waits for the "clear to go" signal. He resumes in 22nd overall.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

Our first sight of the #88 Porsche reveals that it is much more than a simple "off", and the blue car won't be participating any further today.

Tom Kimber-Smith pits the #41 Greaves Zytek from the class lead in P2. He has three laps in hand over the second-placed #26. He wastes none of them, and is swiftly out and racing again..

06:58. Just before the hour, Lotterer chucks down another blinding lap; a 3:26.298 is a new fastest for the race. It's a second faster than Bourdais, who has simultaneously recorded a new fastest lap for the #9 Peugeot (3:27.388).

Hour 17-18 (07:00-08:00)

Bourdais responds to Lotterer's pace with, amazingly, an identical time: 3:26.298.

All three Peugeots pit at the same time. Lotterer sweeps through effortlessly and unopposed to take the lead. He promptly sets a new fastest first-sector. The order that the Peugeots have been released will be interesting - have they allowed Montagny to unlap himself.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

The #73 Corvette (not the leader) has gone straight on at Arnage and into the tyre wall - perhaps not too hard.

The Team Oreca 908 pits - fuel only. The Corvette has rejoined OK.

Lotterer re-establishes his supremacy in the "fastest lap" stakes with a 3:26.289. The team now awaits his arrival for a pitstop.

Lotterer pits. The lead Peugeots go through while Audi fit a new front-end to the #2.Lotterer remains on board.

Lombard sets a new fastest lap for the #41 Greaves Zytek of 3:44.589. He has more than two laps over Mailleux (#26), who in turn has another couple over Bouchut in the #33 Level 5 Lola. The gap back to Charouz in the #49 Oak (4th in class) is less than a lap.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

Both the #26 and the #33 pit for fuel.

The GTE-Am leader, the #81 Flying Lizard Porsche appears to suffer a blown engine on the run down the Mulsanne, and skips across the gravel on one of the chicanes before rejoining. Neiman adopts the sensible approach and drives carefully back to the pits, but the prognosis is not good. Gardel in the #50 Larbre Corvette takes the class lead, but promptly pits and loses it again.

The Flying Lizard pits and is fitted with new tyres, and immediately rejoins. Evidently not the blown engine it looked to be. However, the screens are now displaying the "Slow Car No 81" sign, so perhaps it was. No, seen TV coverage, and Pumpelly's not slow. Screen error.

Through all this Mike Newton pursues a steady course. Still in 22nd, he's clocking regular 3:55s or better, and between 8 and 10 seconds faster than those either side of him.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May

It's half-seven in the morning, and we have seven and a half hours to go. The duel for top honours in GTE-Am is resumed, with Gardel hot on the tail of Pumpelly, less than a gnat's whisker between them. There's a similar scenario brewing in LMP1, where Lotterer is only 8 seconds behind Gene, and Gene is a mere 19 seconds behind Bourdais, who leads.

Gardel takes the class lead in GTE-Am. Mike Newton in the #36 is preparing himself for a pitstop.

Coming together for the GTE-Pro leading Corvette, the #74, and the #83 Felbermayr Porsche #63. There is debris across the track at the entrance to the pitlane.

07:36 PITSTOP (Newton)
Routine pitstop for Mike Newton - in and out in 57b seconds..

TV replay reveals yet another serious accident. This race will be best remembered for these incidents, no matter who wins. As the two cars come through the final element of the Porsche Curves, Magnussen picks the inside line, and then twitches across the apex, loses control, and ploughs straight into the #63 Porsche, punching the car into the concrete side wall. Magnussen then spins backwards into the wall on the opposite side, the tail of the Corvette thumping extremely heavily. There is debris widely distributed across the track, and both cars are certain retirements.

Christian Reid*, the driver of the #63 Porsche, is being attended to by medics, still within the car. Magnussen is out of the Corvette. Further reviews of the replay seem to show Magnussen encountering Reid unexpectedly, and unable to take the wider exit from the corner, attempting to cut inside, but having too much speed to achieve this. The back end snapped away, which he corrected, but in doing so, lost the front, which then hit the Porsche. The Porsche was then sandwiched between the out-of-control Corvette and the unforgiving wall.

Stuck behind the safety car, Mike is concerned about the tyre temperature and the car in front, which is trailing fluid. On track, it's the Signatech Oreca, #26, but there's no visible trace.

*The transponder in the Felbermayr car must be incorrect, as Christian Reid has been spotted in the pitlane. It is believed that Felbermayr Senior is the driver in the #63 Porsche. The TV monitors have shown him being removed fro the car on a stretcher and waving his fingers. More news as and when we get it. (We were later advised that the Austrian driver, Horst Felbermayr Senior, had sustained a pelvic fracture and a number of other lesser - but no less painful - injuries. We extend our best wishes to him for a swift recovery.)

Pitstop for Lotterer from second. He's then held at the exit awaiting the next safety car. Once again, there are three separate cars controlling the flow.

Hour 18-19 (08:00-09:00)

Race control is stating Safety Car in this lap.

Lights out on the safety car, so we're going racing again very soon.


Back at full speed again, and it plays straight into Audi's hand. Treluyer was last in the train across the start line, and two of the Peugeots were held in the pitlane as he came by, with the lead Peugeot less than a second ahead on track. So, Pagenaud leads from Treluyer by one second.

The #35 Oak Pescarolo with da Rocha aboard spins out on the exit of Indianapolis, and crumps the barriers at the back. Mike narrowly misses the car as it trundles back across the road, and then a few moments later, it nearly catches the chasing Peugeots. It's another very narrow escape.

The #35 Oak pits for repairs. Total number of retirements is now 24, leaving just 32 cars racing, and under 7 hours to go.

The battle for the lead gathers a new intensity as Treluyer latches onto the tail of Pagenaud, but the other two Peugeots are equally close behind. We have four cars separated by a single second, and it's nerve racking to watch. It only takes one mistake now to end this race six hours early, because without that Audi, there is no race.

Someone must have had a word in a few ears, because the near-frenetic action has eased, perhaps momentarily, and the Peugeot-Audi-Peugeot-Pugeot battle-train has spread out for a while.

Wrote too soon. Back to square one, and they're tight as a drum again now, not a sheet of Bronco between them.

The #81, former GTE-Am leader, has pulled up and appears to be out of the race at Post 76.

Sarrazin unlaps himself on Treluyer in a very bold move that leaves the Audi driver with no option but to let him through.

In a simply stunning, sensational move, Treluyer takes the lap back! He sweeps wide out of the middle left hander in the Porsche Curves to go round the #50 larbre Corvette while Sarrazin was baulked on the other side. Stunning.

Spool through to 6:10 in the video sequence above to see the overtake from Treluyer

A spin for Mike in the Porsche Curves, the so-called "bastard left". He misses the wall, but is disconcerted enough to head straight for the pitlane, The exhaust flares as he restarts but no obvious damage. Just excess fuel burning off.

08:27 PITSTOP (Newton out, Collins in)
Fuel, tyres and a driver change. Ben's back in the car again.

Back to the battle for the lead, and it finally changes. Treluyer out-drags Pagenaud into the second Mulsanne Chicane, and then out-brakes him at the final moment, tucking in just across the Peugeot's nose.

Pagenaud has not given up! He's now pressurizing Treluyer, and bobbing and weaving under the Audi's rear wing. This is fantastic racing. There will be people here with nails down to the quick.

Ben yet to complete a flying lap, but has already moved up to 20th, passing both Da Rocha in the #35 Oak Pescarolo (in the pits for repairs after tail-ending the barriers at Indianapolis) and the #75 Porsche.

Now that he's ahead of Pagenaud, Treluyer is easing out a clear advantage. Ben's first flyer is a 3:51.314.

All that magnificent, unremitting racing, and then Treluyer simply drives into the pitlane pits. Astonishing. Pagenaud also pits! Wurz takes the lead but will probably pit next time around.

Ben is back into the groove he set earlier this morning and posting sub fifty times - his last was a 3:47.802

Sarrazin pits from 4th. Wurz continues for another lap.

Ben posts two fastest sectors on his next lap through and tops it off with a 3:47.736, moving ahead of the Flying Lizards #80 Porsche to take 19th overall.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

Wurz pits from the lead. Treluyer zips past on the straight and suddenly has a 9 second lead.

Full one-minute "stop and go" penalty awarded to the #8 Peugeot. Reason not clear, but possibly related to the last pitstop.

The #16 Pescarolo, for so long a quiet contender in this race, into the pitlane and backwards into the box, but it's only a minor issue, adding 9 minutes to the regular pitstop. The car resumes in 6th, still the leading petrol car.

Hour 19-20 (09:00-10:00)

Ben has been shown the in-board. He responds with a new first sector best.

09:11 PITSTOP (Collins)
A copy-book pitstop from the RML crew, refuelling the car, giving the HPD a quick once-over, checking for anything untoward, and then Ben was back out again in just 54 seconds, start to finish. No position lost.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

Various rounds of pitstops, including one for the leader, with Treluyer dropping down behind the Peugeots as a result. Two laps later, they start pitting as well, and before long the status quo is restored.

Ben moves through to 18th overall, passing the #55 BMW static in the pitlane.

Top Thirty at Nine-Thirty:

Le Mans 2011

Only the top thirty of those listed above are actually still racing, with 26 retirements now confirmed.

Alex Wurz is off the track at the second element of Indianapolis. The #7 has gone in nose-first and is dragged out by the extraction tractor. The damage doesn't look too bad, although the front-right wing is heavily rearranged.

Wurz gets the car going again, but is trailing bits of bodywork and gravel all across the track through Arnage and down the run towards the Porsche Curves. He's not hanging about either, adding to the problem. The #7 was leading the Green X Challenge. Doesn't seem to be a good omen these days. There would appear to be damage to the suspension. Front right corner will need replacing.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Michael Van De Velde

Sarrazin moves through into third. Treluyer has a lead of just 29 seconds over Pagenaud, but Sarrazin is a full lap down.

Ben Collins has moved up two more positions, and stands 16th, just 23 seconds behind Marc Lieb in the #77 Porsche for 15th. He's travelling about 15 seconds a lap quicker.

Treluyer has extended his lead to more than 30 seconds.

09:55 PITSTOP (Collins)
A straightforward fuel stop for Ben, twenty seconds stationary and then off again.

The Greaves Zytek continues to hold sway in LMP2, fronting the class by a healthy three laps. Ayari is in second place for Signatech Oreca, with the #33 Level 5 Lola third, one lap adrift. Fourth is the #49 Oak, and Ben holds fifth, albeit six laps further back.

The leader pits. Treluyer stays aboard the #2

The #7 Peugeot rejoins and retains fourth, after a 10 minute stop to repair the damaged suspension. Treluyer rejoins moments later.

Hour 20-21 (10:00-11:00)

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

The #10 Oreca Peugeot limps down the pitlane with a right rear puncture, riding on the inner rims. The car was holding fifth position. Soon back out though, not much lost.

Pagenaud pits from the lead in the #9 Peugeot. Treluyer moved through to take the position and is half way down the first segment of the Mulsanne before the Peugeot has exited the pitlane. Sarrazin arrives seconds later in the #9.

Having lost 56 seconds to Lieb at the last pitstop, Ben has re-closed the gap between the #36 HPD and the #77 Porsche to 27 seconds.

The gap for Ben has shrunk to 6 seconds. Lieb is in sight.

Ben takes Lieb for 15th. Those were the easy ones. the two remaining GTE cars are the leaders, and they're two or three laps clear. There are still four and a half hours to go, so not impossible, but each fresh place gets harder from now on.

The #66 JMW Ferrari has pulled off just yards short of the pitlane entrance, but on the wrong side of the track. Somehow Maassen gets the car across to the other side, but he's moving at crawling pace.

Maassen makes it back to the pitlane proper, and then continues to trundle slowly down towards the garage, right at the far end in the new pit garages.

Ben sets two fastest sector times for the #32 HPD, and then clocks a 3:45.772 to go almost two seconds quicker than the car has gone previously.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

The #49 Oak has pitted, done a single out-lap, and pitted again. It's now going backwards into the garage. The Pescarolo is currently running 12th overall, fourth in LMP2.

Ben sets another fastest lap for the HPD - 3:45.622, but it's his last lap. He'll be pitting at the end of the next lap and handing over.

10:37 PITSTOP (Collins out, Erdos in)
Ben comes in to complete what might be his last stint, and hands over the RML AD Group HPD to Thomas Erdos. The pitstop costs the team a couple of positions, but Tommy should have the pace to regain those, and perhaps more. The #49 Oak car is still pit-bound.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Michael Van De Velde

Puncture for the #35 Oak, but not in contention, running 23rd overall. The #76 Porsche is into the gravel at Dunlop.

Tommy has recovered all the ground lost by the pitstop and is back in 15th and running well, heading in pursuit of Garcia in the Corvette, although he may catch the still-static Oak Pescarolo #49 first.

After a period of relative calm, the leaders battle with Peugeot is hotting up again, although the fact that it's now starting to rain may affect the situation. It's not universal, and not steady, but maybe a hint of what's to come. It was forecast . . .

Davidson in the #7 Peugeot has Treluyer right on his tail, and is being shown the blue flags.

"Do blue flags mean anything to Ant?" comes one query on Twitter. Davidson himself replies after his stint: "Just finished my last 3.5hr stint of the race. Tired, drenched, bruised and battered. Great fun playing with the vulnerable solo Audi! :-) " Sadly, this is soemwhat indicative of the attitude of some Peugeot drivers in the latter stages of the race and, after heavy criticism of Davidson's driving at Le Mans in 2010, hardly a fitting response.

Hour 21-22 (11:00-12:00)

We start the new hour with confirmation from Tommy that it's raining more seriously through the Porsche Curves. Not a nice place to find a slippery surface.

The #49 Oak Pescarolo rejoins after a lengthy pitstop.

The overhead views help to demonstrate how stable the Audi is through the corners, and so fluid through the Porsche Curves, and through these demanding sections Treluyer can catch and threaten the Peugeot, but once they're on the straight, the 908 has the legs to pull free.

Some of Davidson's tactics are starting to look very questionable. His cut across the nose into the first chicane was too late to be justifiable.

Tommy is advised that the HPD has yet another slow puncture in one tyre. He's heading for the pits. The #49 Oak has made two further pitstops over the course of the last three laps.

The team manager from Audi has been summoned to the race Stewards. Reason not clear.

11:11 PITSTOP (Erdos)
Tommy makes a quick pitstop to have the problem tyre replaced and has opted to move to intermediate compound tyres. Times by the LMP2 leaders have dropped to well over four minutes as the marshals start displaying the "slippery" flags.

The #22 Aston is into the box and sliding down the order. The rain is growing heavier.

Treluyer now has a lead of 72 seconds over Bourdais.

Tom Kimber-Smith, leading LMP2, has moved up to 8th overall following the extended pitstop for the Kronos Lola Aston - which is still there even yet.

11:30 PITSTOP (Erdos)
Tommy admits that the inters were a close call, but the gamble didn't pay off, and they started to over-heat, so he's pitted for a full set of slicks. He apologise, but if the rain had held, it could have paid dividends.

Let battle re-commence! Bourdais leads, but by just 2 tenths from Lotterer. It's nail-biting time again.

We'll never know if Lotterer could get the better of Bourdais, as the Frenchman dives into the pitlane. The Kronos Aston is back out and racing again, currently ninth overall.

Tommy is 3 minutes behind de Crem in the Oak #49, but the times are pretty evenly matched, although both are catching Garcia and Vilander, the GTE-Pro leaders in 12th and 13th.

Duval in the #10 Peugeot takes 5th from Collard in the #16 Pescarolo when the petrol-powered prototype takes to the pitlane. It had only been a matter of time anyway, and watching the two through the Porsche Curves was like witnessing a cheetah chasing down a gazelle.

RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Michael Van De Velde

Lotterer adds another lap on Montagny in a very bold move down the inside into the Mulsanne Corner. Clean and tidy, he's through.

Car #26, the Signatech Oreca, is flagged as running slowly. Mailleux is in the cockpit and placed second in LMP2. The car has a rear-right puncture, and the driver is travelling very slowly to avoid excessive damage to the bodywork. It's a painfully slow progress.

Pitstop for the #33 Level 5 Lola and a new fastest lap for the #49, of 3:46.067. Tommy can't match the power and outright pace of the Oak Racing Pescarolo.

Hour 22-23 (12:00-13:00)

The #26 has pulled over at post 89. Mailleux appears to be getting out of the car, but the marshals are telling him to stay in. They have pushed the car further off the track.

Tommy says that the rain is increasing again.

Mailleux is attempting to remove the rear panel of the car. He then gets the car moving again. Tommy says it's raining heavily at Arnage. Red and yellow flags being waved around most of the track.

The #26 has made it back to the pits and is in the garage being attended to.

12:14 PITSTOP (Erdos)
Refuel and fresh tyres for Tommy, who takes on the new rubber then sets off again. The #26 is also heading back out, leaving the pitlane at 12:15.

Pitstop for Tom Kimber-Smith in the Greaves Motorsport Zytek leading LMP2 by a huge margin of around 8 laps.

Tommy says it's raining hard now, and several have suffered, including the #22 Kronos Aston and the #10 Team Oreca Peugeot. The Aston survives unscathed, but the Peugeot sustains some damage after hitting the barriers sideways at Indianapolis. It recovers the track, but loses the rear bodywork. That doesn't deter Loïc Duval from a speedy return to the pit garage, where the team, haul the car inside for repairs.

Tom K-S is off at the top of Dunlop, spinning on the greasy track and ending up in the gravel. He has a six-lap lead, so some cushion, but it depends on how quickly the extraction team can get him back on track. He does, at 12:24, but he's driving a cautious road back to the pits.

Tommy reports that the rain is getting very heavy, especially in the south-eastern sector of the track. The leader, Lotterer now in the #2 Audi, has just completed a 28th pitstop. The second-placed Peugeot, the #9, has only stopped 25 times. Audi's quicker performances in the pitstops have kept them ahead.

Erdos continues to circulate in 15th overall, unable to make progress in the changeable conditions, and really only aiming to keep going safely and exploit other's mistakes or misfortunes. Two hours fifteen remain, but that's not enough to make up the deficit on track, although he and De Crem might yet move up overall, if they can catch Vilander, leading GTE-Pro for the #51 Ferrari, and Milner in the #78

A tragedy at the entry to the Porsche Curves where the #16 Pescarolo has gone straight on into the barriers, almost exactly where Andy Wallace went off with RML three years ago. The car is evidently a write-off - so no miracle finish for Henri this year, despite being clearly the "best of the rest" in LMP1.

Signatech Oreca spins at the first Mulsanne Chicane. Several cars have pitted for a change of tyres.

Tommy says that it remains dry down towards the bottom end of the Mulsanne, and he thinks that the rain is passing.

12:53 PITSTOP (Erdos out, Collins in)
Tyre change as well as refuel and driver change. Lotterer is staying out as long as he can on the slicks, and it may pay off, as the rain is definitely easing. Even so, his lead has been cut to 25 seconds.

Pagenaud pits unexpectedly, refuel and fresh tyres. Five minutes alter and Minassian pits as well, for fresh slicks.

Hour 23-24 (13:00-14:00)

Ben starts the new hour for RML with immediate concern for his pace. He repeatedly asks Phil what the other drivers are setting, and there's no denying that Ben is among the quickest in P2. The conditions remain difficult, and few are bettering 4:10, but Ben is clocking regular 4:06 laptimes.

Ben enquires again about his lap times. Phil confirms that his last was a 4:03 - the quickest of anyone in LMP2 and four to six seconds quicker than most. The weather continues to be changeable.

Some astonishingly bad driving from Marc Gene, weaving to prevent Lotterer, the race leader, from passing and then attempting to force him onto the hard shoulder as they speed down the Mulsanne. If there was any justice, that would earn an instant penalty.

The skies are visibly clearing again, although it continues to drizzle lightly in some sectors.

The leader is in to the pits. Fuel only.

Ben continues to be concerned about his pace, and is convinced that staying on the intermediates is slowing him down, yet his laps are still among the quickest in the class, and only two of the top five are even matching his pace of around 4 minutes.

The Peugeots are pushing themselves almost as hard as they're pushing the remaining Audi, and making mistakes as a result. The #7 nearly goes off at the second Chicane.

Pagenaud pits from second. Fuel only.

13:44 PITSTOP (Collins)
Ben comes in to swap back to slicks., The inters were starting to lose their edge and Ben was worried he was losing ground to the others, although his pace remained excellent throughout.

Oreca Peugeot into the pits for attention. Had been holding 5th, and with a speedy rectification (of whatever problem) Lapierre returns to the track still in 5th.

Ben is pushing on, determined. The #35 Oak is slowing, but is 23rd overall and out of contention.

Ben approaches the final hour with a flourish of quick laps, rounding off with a 3:50.930 that's the quickest by anyone in LMP2 at the moment.

Final Hour (14:00-15:00)

The race enters the final stretch - one more hour to go. The order stands as follows:

Le Mans 2011

The leader, Lotterer, stops for fuel only. He won't make it to the flag, so another splash'n'dash may be necessary later.

After 23 hours of racing, we still have genuine competition on our hands. Lotterer leads overall, and LMP1, by just 22 seconds. LMP2 is more decided, with Lombard some six laps clear of Ayari in #26 Oreca. In GTE-Pro, Garcia leads for Corvette, with the #51 Ferrari second by almost a whole lap. GTE-Am is in a similar situation, with the #68 Ford GT leading from the #83 Ferrari, but by a more generous two laps plus.

There are 28 cars still officially running - just over half the starters, but only just. The #12 Rebellion Lola is now the leading petrol-engined LMP1 contender, 6th overall and well within a lap of the #10 Oreca Peugeot in 5th.

Perhaps a final pitstop for the LMP2 leader, Lombard staying strapped into the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek during a leisurely 1:17 pitstop.


Pitstop for Gene in the #7 Peugeot, fourth, and also the #56 BMW, 15th overall (behind Ben) and third in GTE-Pro.

Final pitstop for the leader perhaps - Lotterer takes on fuel, gets a clean screen, and resumes.

Oak #49 also makes what should be the car's final pitstop. For the first time in several years there won't be an Oak on the podium here, unless something untoward happens to the top three in the next half hour or so.

Ben just posted a 3:51.874, nearly ten seconds faster than all but one of his rivals in LMP2.

14:28 PITSTOP (Collins)
Ben makes the final pitstop for the RML AD Group HPD #36. Phil advises there's no need to push now, just drive responsibly and take her home to the flag. Half an hour to go.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord

Less than half an hour to go after 23 hours of intense racing, and there still just 10 seconds between first and second. Pagenaud in the #9 is pushing hard through Tetre Rouge as he guns to close the gap. With the teams other 908s in third and fourth, he has little to lose, except his own pride. Peugeot can be assured of two steps on the podium, provided we don't have a repeat of last year's final minutes, but they could let Pagenaud win, if he has the pace and skill.

Lotterer has managed to stretch the lead to 12 seconds.

Race control advises that there will be a full lap of the track after the chequered flag. It is assumed that this is so that the cars can take up a finishing formation, which they daren't do now because of the very tight finish predicted for this race.

Ben sets another 3:51 lap, and the gap to 13th place is 79 seconds. He's clawing back 25 seconds out of that margin with each lap. Maths is not my strong point.

Ben is passed by the leader through the Porsche curves. For a moment it's almost a heart-stopper, and they pass very close, but Lotterer is through.

These cars are still racing. That's not usual at this stage in a 24 hour race.

Ben has been in the midst of the battle for victory, but he escapes unscathed, and may even have grabbed a tow as the three front-runners sweep by. The gap to Fisichella and 13th overall has shrunk to just 39 seconds, and Ben recovered 19 on the last lap.

A stonking lap from Lotterer stretches the lead to 17 seconds, having seen it shrink to nearer ten on the last.

Ten minutes to go and Ben wants to know that everything on the telemetry is looking OK. Phil reassures him.

The stress visible on the faces in the Audi and Peugeot camps is extraordinary. Tiredness has been forgotten, for now, and the adrenalin must be pumping. When was the last time we saw a finish like this at Le Mans? Not just the narrow margin between first and second, but between the top five.

Six minutes to go. Leaders advantage is 17.8 seconds. Gap between Ben and Fisichella is 13 seconds. The pace differential on the last lap was 16 seconds. It is not a duel for class honours, but it is strangely compelling.

The #49 is smoking very badly, just five minutes from the flag.

The marshals have started waving their flags. The #49's problem appears to be a puncture to the right rear.

Ben takes Fisichella for 13th overall. He's now a minute behind Nakano in the #49 Oak, with one lap to go, and the puce and slate Pescarolo is hardly moving. This hardly bears thinking about.

"There was a massive gap to make up in such a short time," said Phil Barker later. "There seemed no way we could reach the #49 Oak unless they fell over, and then they did fall over! We couldn’t believe it. They’d lost a minute and a half in their last pitstop because the engine had been reluctant to re-start and the driver kept on stalling it. He was having to push hard just to stay in front of us, and then we caught sight of the car smoking heavily. I just told Ben to get after him! I thought they’d blown the engine or something, but I heard later the rear suspension had collapsed."

Leaders margin has moved to 15 seconds

Ben takes Nakano for 12th, and makes it fourth in LMP2. It's an astonishing final hour from the Stig.

Last lap.

The emotion in the press room is more tangible than I can remember in years. Everyone here is craning to see the monitors and the finish line.

The leader rounds Arnage, thirteen seconds clear of Pagenaud.

Porsche Curves.

The chequered flag! Audi takes a remarkable victory, so much against the odds in the end, one car against four. For RML, in its own way, an equally emotional achievement. Knocked down so far by a succession of relatively minor problems, the team's HPD still takes the flag fourth in class - and not a distant fourth either. Without the turbo issues, one has to wonder where the #36 might have finished.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

In a historic "first", Mr and Mrs Robertson win GTE-Am in their Ford GT, co-driven by the highly experienced David Murry. Bob Berridge and Amanda Stretton were the first husband and wife team to race at Le Mans together (in 2008) but the Robertsons are the first couple to end up on the podium. What's more, Sunday 12th June was also David and Andrea's wedding anniversary. Andrea is the first woman to finish on the podium since 1931.

GM take class wins in GTE-Pro and Am, with the #73 Corvette taking over when the #74 so spectacularly left off, and the Larbre Corvette, #60, setting up an impressive one-two for the French squad, with their #70 Porsche running home second in GTE-Am.

Congratulations also to Lucas Ordoñez, who progresses from armchair racing enthusiast and PlayStation champion to Le Mans podium stepper in just two short years. Some achievement for the young man who made his racing debut in the Dubai 24 Hours in January 2009, and this week finished second in the #26 Signatech Oreca 03.

LMP2 win after a see-saw battle to Greaves Zytek, with the Level 5 Lola HPD third - some achievement there too, after a troubled practice and qualifying session.

RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

All credit as well to the three RML drivers. Tommy had to endure some frustrating hours within safety car periods - around four hours in total. Mike held the middle stints together with composure and consistency, and then Ben brought the car home, taking two track positions in the final five minutes to record an impressive 12th overall, fourth in class - and setting fastest lap for the car along the way too. A stunning achievement.

Le Mans 2011

That concluded our "live" coverage here. Please accept our apologies for any typos and spelling mistakes made in haste. We will be adding more images to the Gallery and in our race report over the next few days, as our photographers come through with the fruits of their artistic talents.

Thanks to everyone who stuck with us through the race, and also posted kind remarks about the depth and quality of the coverage here on forums, other websites and Facebook. We look forward to Imola at the start of next month.

Post-Race Comment

Most of the team's thoughts on the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hour are included in the Race Report, but here are a few more observations made after the event . . .

The team’s efforts came to the fore and the guys did a great job and deserved 4th place. We’ve won this race twice, and finished third last year, but considering the issues we’ve had, and the penalties we’ve overcome, we see fourth as an incredible result. Ben also did a great job of clawing back so much of the lost time at the end, and taking that extra place in the final minutes was a real bonus. I’m really delighted by the result."

We always felt that a podium was a possibility, given the strategy we’d prepared, and we’d have been there if we hadn’t encountered the problems with the turbo. In practice and qualifying we concentrated on a set up that best suited us for the race itself, and we never went for a qualifying time. From my own point of view, I was pleased that I held the position between 5th and 6th throughout my stint. I was also pleased to have gone quicker in the race than I'd done in practice, and Ben wrung out a time that was well beyond anything we’d achieved before."

Mike’s stint was made doubly difficult by the fact that, at least for the latter segment, he was driving with a broken turbo. "It was very disorientating," he admitted. "It means I was arriving at corners later than I expected, because the car wasn't picking up speed as quickly as it should have done, and that also meant I was having to use different gears from the ones I'd normally have used for each corner. I was glad when Ben confirmed that it was the engine, not me!"

"Someone on the Mulsanne waved a chequered flag at me, and that made me realise what we were about to achieve. It’s just a fantastic feeling – more so than any other race I’ve ever done."

Phil Barker
“This one nearly got the better of me,” admitted Phil Barker. “I don’t usually get quite so emotional, but when you see the delight on the faces of these guys, for finishing here at Le Mans, you can’t help but feel emotional yourself. Without the two turbo issues, and maybe seven different punctures, we’d almost certainly have finished second, so I think that’s an excellent job by everyone. After we lost two turbos in the first twelve hours, there was a time when we started to worry that we might not have enough spare to last the race, but the second one went the distance in the end."

"It was a miserable night as well – very cold in the garage, where we were having to wear thick coats, and even colder in the car too, for Tommy especially. He spent more than three hours on track during the safety car periods, unable to get heat into the tyres, or into himself."

Please read our brief Race Report for a post-race round-up .

Pitstop Details for RML AD Group HPD #36
Please note that these are listed in reverse order, with the race finish at the top, and start at the bottom.

Le Mans 2011 - Pitstops

Click here to open the Radio Le Mans home pageFollowing the action at Le Mans
Aside from reading through our record of the race here, one of the best ways to catch up on what happened at Le Mans in 2011 is to tune in to Radio Le Mans. Those familiar voices at RLM followed events from start to finish, and now offer highlights and podcasts to remind and inform. Click the button for access.

Le Mans 24 Hours 2011

Saturday June 11th 2011
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RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011



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RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: David Lord



























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RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

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RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Peter May






















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RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts








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RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts





























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RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts



























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RML AD Group at Le Mans 2011. Photo: Marcus Potts

















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RML AD Group, Le Mans 2011. Photo: Michael Van De Velde






































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Robertson Racing










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