Factory Peugeot driver Anthony Davidson holds a slender lead over ORECA's Nicolas Lapierre as the French manufacturer took an early hold of the Le Mans Series 1000km race at Silverstone, following a shock retirement for the pole-sitting Audi in the first half an hour of the race.
Allan McNish made a strong start in the No. 7 Audi and led initially before engaging in a hugely enthralling battle with Davidson at the front. But the Englishman eventually got past on lap nine with a brave move down the inside into Abbey, despite McNish's robust defense, and quickly began to pull away.
Less than 10 laps later, the McNish/Tom Kristensen car was out of the race having exited the arena section very slowly and then trickled down the Wellington straight to a grinding halt.
"We lost drive very early on," said McNish. "It's something we've not had a problem with before so we have got to get the car back before we can really say what it is but it seems to be a mechanical issue. It was going to be a fantastic race, Anthony's overtaking maneuver was a good one. It was going to be a good battle between all four us, but now it is down to three."
Audi Team Joest's technical director Ralf Juttner speculated: "Sounds like an input shaft or something like that. We have to check the car out but it's a big disappointment for sure."
The ORECA Peugeot inherited second place on the spot, having moved ahead of the No. 8 Audi driven by Timo Bernhard when the German ran wide and briefly off the track.
Jonny Kane held a comfortable lead in LMP2 for Strakka, while Rob Bell took the lead of GT2 with the Aston Martin before being passed by Toni Vilander's AF Corse Ferrari on lap 11. Jaime Melo was third in the other AF Corse car.