Villeneuve leads Le Mans at halfway mark

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Race event, Le Mans 24 hours

At the Le Mans 24 hours race, the Peugeot 908 HDI FAP nr. 7 is leading after 11 hours of racing. In second place is currently the Audi car nr. 2 followed by another Peugeot, the number 9 driven by former Formula One drivers Montagny, Klien and Zonta.

At the lead is car nr. 7 which started from third place on the grid. Despite an early battle with the Audi nr. 2 , al three Peugeots pulled away quickly from the rest of the field. They initially confirmed their qualifying pace by completing the course on average 4 seconds faster than the fastest Audi.

Early gear shifter problems with car nr. 9 resulted in the leader to fall back 6 laps on the leader, while only 2 laps later car nr. 8 was ordered to come in to fix the headlights, a often occurring problem for the Peugeot in recent LMS races.

At 1am, Alex Wurz in car nr. 8 had to come in again to fix problems with the battery. The repair required 10 minutes and again hampered the team's progress.

Montagny meanwhile took the lead with a magnificent stint but later saw all his work ruined by Klien who got stuck in the gravel trap for around a lap. Car nr. 7, controlled by Minassian, Villeneuve and Gene then regained the lead as they managed to get through the first half of the race without any problems. Despite more pitstops, the Peugeot is ahead one lap to the first Audi which is in second place.

The rest of Le Mans promises to be excitingly close as the first 4 LMP1 cars are within 3 laps. More importantly though for car nr. 7 is Villeneuve who is apparently struggling to match the pace of his teammates. Jacques is at the wheel during most of the night and is approximately 5 seconds slower than Minassian who completed the stint before him. One should consider possible team orders in order to reduce the fuel consumption of the diesel powered V12.

You can follow continues results during the race at http://www.lemans.org/24heuresdumans/pa ... os_gb.html