H22: Peugeots maintain gap
Peugeot may have ordered its drivers not to race one another for the win, but Marc Gene and Sebastien Bourdais continued to trade punches at the head of the field.
Neither is pushing especially hard -- lapping around five seconds slower than the fastest times seen yesterday -- but Gene has resisted any attempts by Bourdais to nibble into the #9 Peugeot 908's lead. Meanwhile, the wounded #1 Audi continued in third place, six laps behind, with Rinaldo Capello at the wheel.
"We had a loss of power," Allan McNish told AUTOSPORT. "So I pitted for a new steering wheel. I did another lap and the problem was still there, so we changed the dash. And because it's a long job the team decided to replace the right rear suspension as well."
The #007 Aston Martin LMP1 shared by Tomas Enge, Stefan Mucke and Jan Charouz is in fourth place, a lap behind the Audi, but after picking up the pace in the early part of the hour the team has decided to peg back. The #007 has had the least problems of all three Astons thus far.
Caspar Elgaard remains in the LMP2 lead aboard the Essex Porsche RS Spyder, three laps clear of the Navi Team Goh Porsche.
The GT1 battle was rejoined as the lead Corvettes continued to pit out of sync. Having passed Johnny O'Connell for the class lead, Marcel Fassler rejoined 45sec in arrears and immediately put the hammer down so as to reclaim the lead when the #63 Corvette pitted.
But when O'Connell came in to hand over to Antonio Garcia - Jan Magnussen will take no further part in the race after succumbing to a stomach bug - the refuelling rig failed to deliver and #63 car lost crucial time.
"The basic team order is 'no contact,'" said Chevrolet crew chief Doug Fehan. "Jan has a little stomach distress so we thought it best for him to sit out for a while."
Just before the turn of the hour Fassler's gearbox oil temperature spiked and the #63 Corvette stopped near the pitlane entry.
Risi Competizione enjoy a comfortable lead in GT2. The #82 Ferrari F430 GT, driven by Jaime Melo, is reaping the benefits of a trouble-free run and stands two laps clear of Paolo Ruberti in the #97 BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari.
Porsche's class challenge looks to have come to an end; Patrick Pilet toured in slowly in the #76 IMSA Performance 911, a former class leader, and it remains in the garage.
Aston Martin are also out of contention for a good placing in GT2. Jonny Cocker halted the #87 Drayson Racing Vantage out on the circuit.