With 12 hours to go, Toyota leads

LE MANS, France — With 12 hours left in the 82nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Man, it appears that only thing that can stop to the race-leading No. 7 Toyota hybrid is the No. 7 Toyota hybrid.

Driven by the trio of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, and Kazuki Nakajima, the No 7. TS040 HYBRID Toyota had set top time and was the pole-setter. It has shown speed and handling and at the mid-point of the race held an approximate two minute lead on the No. 2 Audi.

A heavy rain had a drastic effect on the  No. 8 Toyota, which was involved in a multi-car accident in very poor visibility on an extremely slippery track. Driver Nicolas Lapierre brought the car back to the pits where team members immediately began to replace the front and rear bodywork as well as the suspension assembly at the front left corner. Efficient work from the team saw repairs completed within 50 minutes but the damage was done.

That same incident also took out the No. 3 Audi, as the team Ingolstadt continued to be snake-bit. However, the No. 2 e-tron quattro Audi with Marcel FÄSSLER, André LOTTERER, and Benoit TRÉLUYER, two time winners, have pushed into second position. While they do not seem to have the all-out speed of the Toyota they have continued to keep the pressure on.

The No. 1 Audi, the defending Le Mans and WEC champion had been running as high as third (as of the mid-point) and on the same lap as the leaders before an injector problem forced the car into the garage for a repair session dropping it out of the top three. Team Porsche saw its No. 20 car driven by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber,  and Brendon Hartley take over third place when the Audi went to the garage. Interestingly enough, Bernhard won the 24 Hours of Le Mans driving for Audi.

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