H18: #8 Peugeot continues to close in
David Brabham may still be in the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours for Peugeot, but teammate Stephane Sarrazin -- now in for Franck Montagny – is closing the gap fast as the race for the lead is heating up.
Before he jumped out of the car, Montagny had reduced Brabham's lead to 80s, but this extended to 1m50s when he handed the car over to Sarrazin.
But the poleman set to work immediately and had taken half a minute out of that gap by the turn of the hour.
Sarrazin insists there are no team orders within Peugeot, and there is pressure to deliver an all-French victory, so if he catches the 43-year-old he may be allowed to pass the #9 car that has now led for more than 12 hours.
Back in a distant third and seemingly incapable of any response to the pace of the top two is Tom Kristensen in the #1 Audi. Unless a predicted shower mixes things up, or the two Peugeots race themselves in to the ground, it seems likely this is where the car will finish.
Tomas Enge remains in fourth position in the #007 Aston Martin, but the sister #008 has dropped out of contention after Jos Verstappen lost nearly an hour in the pits with a gearbox problem.
Soheil Ayari is fifth for ORECA, with the pressure from Pescarolo now off after Christophe Tinseau brought the car in for a change of brakes.
Neel Jani spun the Speedy Lola at the Dunlop chicane, but the car remains seventh.
Casper Elgaard still leads LMP2 in the Essex Porsche. The class has seen few changes in the last hour, with Team Goh still in second.
Antonio Garcia leads GT1 for Corvette ahead of team-mate Oliver Gavin who is 90s back.
The complexion of the GT2 race has changed somewhat though the Risi Ferrari still leads in the hands of Pierre Kaffer. The BMS Scuderia Ferrari has moved up to second after a failed clutch sent Rob Bell up an escape road.
The resulting pitstop demoted the Dunlop 360 to fourth, behind Patrick Long's Imsa Porsche.