Petit LeMans: 4-Hour Update A Peugeot retires and LMPC championship shifts gears. The American Le Mans Series presented by Tequila Patr¢n is now four hours into the 14th annual Petit Le Mans powered by Mazda.
Hour three began with the No. 1 Audi R18 driven by Timo Bernard losing the lead to the No. 10 Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP of Marc Gene. Audi Sport Team Joest brought the No. 1 in for a pit stop and driver change, but the stop lasted longer than usual allowing Gene to move ahead of the factory Audi. Team ORECA Matmut took the overall lead briefly before Stéphane Sarrazin made a pass in turn six at Road Atlanta to take the spot for the factory squad. He is followed by the No.1 Audi, now in the hands of Marcel Fässler.
The No. 7 Peugeot, which started on the overall pole, went behind the wall for repairs after losing drive on the back straight with Sébastien Bourdais at the wheel. The car officially retired shortly thereafter with a broken gearbox.
The No. 2 Audi also spent some time behind the wall to fix repairs following contact with the Robertson Racing No. 40 Ford GT. The car re-joined the race with Dindo Capello driving, but was unable to complete a lap before a clutch issue forced the team to take the car back behind the wall a second time. The No. 2 is now back on course with Capello.
In GTE-Pro, the No. 55 BMW M3 GT was leading in class with Bill Auberlen behind the wheel before a flat tire sent him to pit lane. It is now Extreme Speed Motorsports' Johannes van Overbeek leading in the No. 01 Ferrari F458 Italia.
Corvette Racing's Petit Le Mans assault has been cut in half, as the No. 3 Corvette C6.R of Olivier Beretta, Tommy Milner and Antonio Garcia retired with mechanical trouble.
Michele Rugolo continues to lead GTE-Am in the Krohn Racing No. 57 Ferrari F430.
LMP2 is a back-and-forth between Level 5 Motorsports' No. 33 HPD ARX-01g and the No. 26 Signatech ORECA 03 Nissan. Bouchut currently has the class lead for Level 5.
One of the most exciting storylines of this year's Petit Le Mans has been the championship implications of the LMPC race. After Genoa Racing's Eric Lux started from pit lane, it appeared the LMPC championship momentum was in CORE autosport's favor, but 11 minutes into the 10 hour race, CORE's No. 06 ORECA FLM09, in the hands of Ricardo Gonzalez was in the gravel at turn 12. The safety team was able to remove the Gonzalez machine and send the Mexican driver on his way, but three laps down.
CORE has mounted an incredible comeback. Ticking off the fastest LMPC laps of the race, Gunnar Jeannette has put the car in the class lead, while Genoa's No. 063 was being returned to the paddock via flat bed truck after losing power at turn six.
Lux leads Jeannette and Gonzalez of CORE autosport by three points in the LMPC drivers' championship - 30 points are awarded to winners at Road Atlanta. In the team category, Genoa leads CORE by two points.
TRG's championship hopes in GTC took a hit when the team was issued a stop and go penalty for running over pit equipment. The No. 66 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup driven by Peter Ludwig now runs third in class. Brain Wong leads in the No. 23 Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3 Cup, followed by Black Swan Racing's Sebastiaan Bleekemolen in the No. 54 Porsche 911 GT3 Cup.
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