Audi is still on course for victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, despite a sudden and heavy rain shower with just under 90 minutes remaining that threw the race into disarray.
Leader Tom Kristensen had only just pitted his #2 R18 e-tron quattro unexpectedly after suffering a slow puncture when the rain began to fall across the circuit, forcing him to pit again on the following lap for a set of wets.
As that was happening, Nicolas Lapierre was suffering a front-end twitch at the entry to the Porsche curves and planting his fourth-placed Toyota into the tire wall at high speed. While the Frenchman – who had been seven laps clear of fifth-placed Benoit Treluyer – was able to drive back to the pits after a loss of around two minutes, he is now in the garage and could be passed by Treluyer's Audi before the end of the race.
The other Toyota, that of Sebastien Buemi, had been second and less than 30 seconds ahead of Oliver Jarvis' Audi, but with the Brit being delayed by a red light in the pitlane as a result of the safety car coming out, the gap is now more like half a lap.
LMP2 leader Bertrand Baguette was one of three drivers in the class to aquaplane off the track while on slicks on the run down towards Indianapolis, but managed to keep his advantage over his OAK Racing teammate Olivier Pla.
Pla had been closing by up to 4sec per lap prior to the rainstorm and had reduced his deficit to Baguette to just over a minute.
Jann Mardenborough's hopes of challenging John Martin for a podium finish appear to have been ended by a puncture prior to the rain arriving. The #42 Greaves Zytek-Nissan lying fourth.
Richard Lietz led the GTE Pro division, the #92 Porsche driver having stayed out on slicks when the rain hit.The rival #97 Aston Martin, handed over to Stefan Mucke by Darren Turner at the top of the hour, pitted for wets at the same moment, only for the team to put slicks back on before sending the car out in third spot.
The sister Porsche of Patrick Pilet was shod with wets at the same time, moving ahead of the Aston and into second. The Manthey-run 911 RSR's therefore hold the top two positions in the class, something that seemed unlikely when Lietz spun at Tertre Rouge at the start of the hour.
The #76 Imsa Porsche continues to climb the order after its near-faultless run. Jean-Karl Vernay is currently at the wheel.