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LIVE COMMENTARY: LE MANS 2013 - 81ST LE MANS 24 HOURS
   GO TO LIVE INDEX ALL TIMES GMT  
As it happened: 81st Le Mans 24 Hours
By Geoff Creighton, Matt Beer, Sam Tremayne, Jamie O'Leary, Gary Watkins and Scott Mitchell
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Sat 06:58 Good morning and welcome to AUTOSPORT's live coverage of the 81st Le Mans 24 Hours.

Toyota WEC Le Mans 2013

Sat 06:59 It's dry at the moment but the rain is threatening behind the big grey clouds as the crews prepare for warm-up, which is due to start in about a minute at 0900 local time (0800 UK).

Sat 07:01 The green lights are on at the end of the pitlane and Neel Jani is the first man to take to the track in his #12 Rebellion Lola-Toyota, the Swiss leading out a train of about 20 cars that had queued up behind him.

Sat 07:03 LMP2: Mike Conway is having a bit of trouble getting the #26 G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan started in the pitlane. He's being pushed back into the garage by his mechanics.

Sat 07:05 LMP2: Ryan Briscoe is the first spinner of the session, the IndyCar race winner gyrating the #33 Level 5 HPD he shares with Scott Tucker and Marino Franchitti at the second Mulsanne chicane. He keeps going without too much drama.

Sat 07:09 LMP1: After just the one flying lap for some (and none for others), the pace is being set by polesitter Loic Duval in the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro on 3m26.769s.

Audi has confirmed that Duval will start the race in the #2 machine with Marcel Fassler and Oliver Jarvis doing likewise in, respectively, the #1 and the #3 cars.

Sat 07:11 LMP1: If you want to brush up on what happened in qualifying, you can read about how Duval ended up on pole right here.

Sat 07:15 GTE Pro: Oliver Gavin goes straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane in his #74 Corvette. He rejoins without problem.

Sat 07:16 LMP2: And while Gavin does that, Thomas Dagoneau is busy spinning the #40 Boutsen Ginion ORECA-Nissan at the second Mulsanne chicane.

Sat 07:17 LMP2: The #34 Race Performance ORECA-Nissan of GP3 racer Patric Niederhauser has stopped in the pitlane and is having to be pushed along back to the garage.

Sat 07:19 LMP1: Tom Kristensen looks to have spun the #2 Audi at the exit of Indianapolis. He's facing the wrong direction and attempting to straighten himself out.

Sat 07:22 LMP1: A TV replay shows that Kristensen tried to go around the outside of Pascal Gibon at Indianapolis and made contact with the Frenchman's #67 GTE Am Porsche.

Kristensen is now going again while Gibon's car is stuck at the side of the track.

Le Mans 2013Sat 07:23 GTE Am: We have a Corvette embedded in the tyres at the Dunlop chicane.

It's the #70 Larbre Corvette of Philippe Dumas. The Frenchman lost it under braking and spun around, nerfing into the barrier with the front end of his car.

Sat 07:27 LMP2: The #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan tops the timesheets in the class for baby prototypes; Brendon Hartley having set a time of 3m44.1s in the car now being driven by Mark Patterson.

Archie Hamilton is currently second in the #25 G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan, while the sister car has now got out on track in the hands of John Martin and lies ninth in class.

Sat 07:28 LMP1: Marc Gene sets the fastest first sector of all in the #3 Audi. This could be a belter...

Sat 07:28 Random fact: the ACO has calculated that 3615 drivers have participated in the Le Mans 24 Hours since the first running of the event 90 years ago.

Sat 07:31 GTE Am: More bad news for the #67 Imsa Porsche - after colliding with Kristensen's Audi earlier, it's now been reported to the stewards for speeding in the pitlane.

Sat 07:31 GTE Pro: It's Porsche at the head of the GTE standings with Romain Dumas having gone round in 3m38.796s in his Manthey-run works car to get himself ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella's AF Corse Ferrari by 1.2 seconds.

Aston Martin Le Mans 2013Sat 07:33 GTE Pro: The Aston Martins, which dominated GTE Pro qualifying, are down in ninth, 10th and 11th spots at the moment; clearly not bothering about setting a fast time.

Sat 07:34 LMP2: Tony Burgess spins the #30 HVM Status Lola-Judd exiting the Dunlop Chicane. He has got going again and is now powering up towards Tertre Rouge.

Sat 07:35 LMP1: What looked to be a fast lap by Gene last time around ended up being aborted. Lucas di Grassi is now in the #3 car.

Sat 07:36 GTE Am: Gianluca Roda goes straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane in the Proton Porsche that starts second in class.

Sat 07:37 LMP1: Allan McNish sets a new session best in the polesitting #2 Audi - a 3m26.730s.

Toyota WEC Le Mans 2013Sat 07:38 LMP1: Scratch that - Nicolas Lapierre now goes top with a 3m26.737s, which is four tenths quicker than the Japanese marque's qualifying best.

Sat 07:40 LMP2: John Martin in the #26 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan has moved that car to the top of the class timesheets for the session. They had been the lead LMP2 car for much of qualifying before the #24 OAK Morgan-Nissan claimed class pole.

Sat 07:40 LMP1: Encouraging stuff for Toyota, especially as last night Stephane Sarrazin questioned whether Audi would be able to sustain its qualifying advantage in the race.

Sat 07:41 Red flag - looks like a big shunt for the #25 Delta-ADR car.

Sat 07:42 Session will not restart, organisers confirm.

Sat 07:42 LMP2: It's a big hit for Tor Graves in the #25 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan at the start of the Porsche Curves.

Sat 07:44 That's our fourth early close to a session this week at Le Mans - third qualifying being the only run to finish under the chequered flag rather than reds.

Sat 07:46 So, we have a Toyota head of the pile in our final session before the 81st Le Mans 24 Hours gets underway.

All three Audi R18s were within one second of Nicolas Lapierre's time though. The #12 Rebellion Lola meanwhile was fifth, almost two seconds faster than the second #8 Toyota TS030.

Sat 07:49 LMP2: The #25 Delta-ADR car, with Graves still at the wheel, is towed back to the pits. It doesn't look as badly damaged as first feared - still with all four wheels on - but the team will be keen to check it properly as soon as possible.

Sat 07:50 Over in LMP2, the #26 G-Drive ORECA-Nissan once again sits top, and once again by a sizeable margin - its closest challenger, the #48 Murphy Prototypes car, is almost one second down the road.

Nissan power dominates, with the #25 Delta-ADR and #24 OAK Racing machines next up (although of course the #25 ended the session in the barriers).

Sat 07:50 Plenty of damage to survey too, with the #70 Larbre Corvette arriving back at the pits with a severely bruised front end, and the #25 Delta-ADR being towed back as we type.

Sat 07:53 GTE Pro: For the first time there's no Aston in the top five, with Ferrari and Porsche instead sharing the GT honours. The #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Olivier Beretta, Kamui Kobayashi and Toni Vilander is top, half a second ahead of the #92 Manthey Porsche 911.

Le Mans 2013Sat 07:57 Aston were also beaten to top spot in GTE Am - the #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche of Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster and Patrick Dempsey was quickest, several seconds faster than the #95 Aston Martin.

Sat 08:00 This isn't the only AUTOSPORT window you'll need open for this weekend. Don't forget, Race Centre Live will be bringing you updates from Formula Renault 3.5, Superstars, WRC, BTCC and IndyCar.

Sat 08:12 LMP1: Great moment for ORECA boss Hugues de Chaunac last night – he was presented with his Spirit of Le Mans award by Henri Pescarolo at the dinner that was part of the Le Mans 90th anniversary celebrations. ORECA has an anniversary of its own this year – it's 40 years old. It would take too long to list all its achievements here.

Sat 08:15 With the Le Mans warm-up over, on track now is the Legends support race. Drizzle before the start made for a rather cautious first lap - poleman Ludovic Caron slipped to eighth by the Mulsanne straight!

Sat 08:22 AUTOSPORT has a soft spot for the #71 Lotus 11 Series - driven by David Cooke - after passing it on the drive here.

If the way it cut through the traffic in Rouen on the way here is anything to go by, it should progress beyond its current position of 23rd.

Sat 08:41 The rain's been falling a lot heavier - in fact, just before the lead duo came into the pits, right under our noses. Buncombe, pictured, rejoined a lot, lot quicker than the chasing Caron - which means Jon Minshaw now leads the chase in his '59 Lister, 19 seconds adrift.

Sat 08:56 It's a Legends win for Alex Buncombe, who mastered tricky and changeable conditions. Minshaw's Lister and Gary Pearson's Jaguar C-Type, with a last lap pass on Roger Wills, join him on the podium.

Incidentally, Shaun Lynn - father of Euro F3 race winner Alex - finished fifth, while David Cooke unfortunately slipped to 26th.

Sat 09:06 As one of our team heads off to the Legends paddock for a full debrief - watch our for the report in next week's magazine - we've been talking to Nissan about the targets it is setting for its 2014 Garage 56 car, the ZEOD RC.

In addition to pioneering new technology, it wants a full lap on EV power and 300km/h. You can read it here.

Sat 09:13 Meanwhile, another AUTOSPORTer (OK, it's probably not a real word) returns. And he's buzzing.

The reason? It's not the excellent Audi cappucino in his hand. Oh no. We've Le Mans legend Gerard Larrousse for a chat, the jist of which will no doubt become a Race of my Life in AUTOSPORT magazine in the coming weeks.

Sat 09:29
Earlier on Alex Buncombe won the Le Mans Legends race in a Lister Jaguar. Here's what he looked like on his way to victory.

Many thanks to our good friends at LAT Photographic - who braved the rain - for the shot.

Sat 09:34 The second support race of the day, the Ferrari Challenge Trofeo Pirelli, is about to get underway with Grand-Am regular Jeff Segal on pole

Grabbing AUTOSPORT's attention is 'Adamski' in 19th on the grid. Wonder if he'll be putting in a 'killer' performance...

Sat 09:43 LMP1: Toyota's Alex Wurz, who starts fifth, with a cliche, albeit a very true one:

"This race is all about 51 weeks of preparation and 1 week of excecution."

Sat 10:05 Apologies for any issues we may have with bringing you coverage from the track over the next 27 and a bit hours.

The internet here in the Le Mans press room is being a bit tempramental to say the least.

With any luck we'll run trouble-free during the race.

Sat 10:23 A quick shifty through some of the pre-race stats turns up some interesting information.

Did you know that the most experienced Le Mans driver in the field this year is Lotus LMP2 man Christophe Bouchut, who won the 1993 race for Peugeot, and is contesting the event for the 20th time.

Right behind him on the starts front is Emmanuel Collard; who contests his 19th Le Mans in the #75 ProSpeed Porsche in GTE Am.

Sat 10:27 Internet troubles prevented us from bringing this to you earlier, but if you want to to recap what happened in this morning's warm-up, our report is right here:

Lapierre puts Toyota on top in warm-up

Sat 10:51 The fever has started early - there's a parade of the 11 'Le Mans Legends', featuring one car from every decade as part of the 24 Hours' 90th anniversary celebrations.

Sat 11:03 In the build up to today's race, AUTOSPORT spoke to Aston Martin's polewinner Frederic Makowiecki, who said the team will go into the 24 Hours with lingering uncertainty about its set-up.

Read it here.

Frederic Makowiecki Le Mans 2013Sat 11:06 GTE Pro: We also quizzed Makowiecki about his reaction to our recent opinion piece, asking whether he was the best GT driver in the world.

His reaction (aside from laughter)?

"I'm happy some people think this, but to be clear I think every factory driver is very close to the same level - we see that in how close the races are. The most important thing is just to do a good job. If people think I'm great I'm happy though."

That last bit was said with tongue firmly in cheek.

Sat 11:27 Remember the Asian Le Mans series? After being trimmed to four races and having its opener postponed back in April, series boss Mark Thomas told AUTOSPORT it is now on course to hit its 16-car entry target.

Read it here.

Sat 11:50 It's starting to rain with the cars on the grid, just as forecast. This could throw a massive spanner in the works for a lot of cars.

Sat 11:50 We do still have over an hour to go though, so maybe it won't matter so much.

Sat 11:52 LMP2: Everything is calm down in the G-Drive/Delta-ADR pit – the damage to the #25 car from the warm-up was superficial only. Tor Graves says he lost the rear end and then hit one of the bumps in the Porsche Curves as he was piling on the lock in correction.

Sat 11:55 LMP2: Stalwart engineer Greg Wheeler, who's in the headphones for the KCMG squad here, is revelling in his first Le Mans. "Who wants to go to grand prix circuits when you can come here," says the former Minardi man. Well said, we reckon.

Sat 11:59 The 11 legendary cars of Le Mans are waiting just ahead of the start-finish line. They will be escorting the new Le Mans trophy around the lap ahead of the start procedure.

Sat 12:02 LMP2: OAK Racing has the class pole, thanks to the late efforts of Olivier Pla on Thursday night. He and team-mate Alex Brundle spoke to AUTOSPORT about their chances of keeping the #24 Morgan-Nissan at the front of the class battle.

You can read their thoughts here.

Sat 12:03 This was the scene on the Le Mans grid about 20 minutes ago. Since then the French police, sorry, Marshals, have been escorting people away from the cars.

Sat 12:08 LMP2: In other news, we have Caterham Technology chief Mike Gascoyne's latest exclusive blog from the pitwall.

You can read what Gascoyne has to say about the Greaves Motorsport team's newest recruit for this weekend - Caterham Formula 1 reserve Alexander Rossi - right here.

Mike Gascoyne: From the Le Mans pitwall

Sat 12:16 Speaking of Le Mans grids, 15 cars have been demoted for qualifying infringements (namely not completing the requisite number of laps). The most high profile casualty is the #21 Strakka Racing HPD, which had been due to line up eighth, but will now start from the outside of row 18.

The #46 TDS ORECA-Nissan is the only other car inside the top 20 to have been demoted - it drops to 37th.

In GTE Pro, the fifth-place #98 Aston Martin of Bill Auberlen, Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana drops seven spots (to 40th overall).

In GTE Am meanwhile the #88 Proton Porsche, which had been due to line up second in class, drops three spots to 43rd.

Sat 12:21 We have a full list of starting drivers to hand. Here are the most important in each of the classes...

Overall/LMP1
1. #2 Audi (McNish)
2. #1 Audi (Lotterer)
3. #3 Audi (di Grassi)
4. #8 Toyota (Davidson)
5. #7 Toyota (Lapierre)
6. #12 Rebellion Lola-Toyota (Heidfeld)

LMP2
1. #24 OAK Morgan-Nissan (Pla)
2. #26 G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan (J Martin)
3. #43 Morand Morgan-Judd (Mailleux)

GTE Pro
1. #99 Aston Martin (Bell)
2. #97 Aston Martin (Turner)
3. #92 Porsche (Lieb)

GTE Am
1. #95 Aston Martin (Simonsen)
2. #88 Proton Porsche (Ruberti)
3. #96 Aston Martin (Campbell-Walter)

Sat 12:34 LMP2: Several giggles are heard in the press room as a message flashes up on the timing screens that Johnny Mowlem, in the #30 HVM Status Lola-Judd, has been reported for speeding in the pitlane.

The race hasn't even started yet!

Sat 12:34 The intermittent internet problems we've been contending with for the past three days have struck again. We'll do our best to keep you updated when we can - everyone here has their fingers and toes crossed.

Sat 12:34 The weather is really making things difficult for the teams today as another shower moves in over the circuit. Rain is falling heavier than it has been so far this afternoon.

StrakkaSat 12:35 Wet track declared, meaning teams can change to wets without any penalties.

Not ideal news for the Strakka squad though - aside from their grid penalty (see 12.16), the team also confirmed to AUTOSPORT that it is short of spares following repairs after Jonny Kane's qualifying three shunt. Keeping it clean and tidy just got that much harder.

Sat 12:36 Rain tyres are being hurriedly dispatched out onto the grid in front of our commentary position.

Sat 12:38 The pitlane is now officially closed. Twenty-two minutes to go until the 81st Le Mans 24 Hours gets underway.

Sat 12:42 Rain still falling on the grid, with many outfits getting intermediate tyres ready to fit to the cars.

Sat 12:47 We're sat with a very nervous Caterham PR team. The Anglo-Malaysian (that's the preferred term) marque is lending its support to the #41 Greaves-run Zytek Nissan this weekend.

Sat 12:47 Confirmation that we have five minutes until the formation lap.

Sat 12:49 And just as we write that, the rain starts coming down harder. Plenty of wind too - hardly ideal conditions. Spare a thought for all the photographers getting wet down at Turn 1, waiting for the famous start shot.

Le Mans 2013Sat 12:53 We have engines, and we have a formation lap. We also have a cheat photo (from last year's race). The crowd, in the grandstands and the media centre, is on its feet.

Sat 12:55 The field heads down to the second Mulsanne chicane, with a certain Henri Pescarolo - a four-time winner, and a 33-times Le Mans veteran (that's a record, incidentally) leading them in the safety car.

Sat 13:00 The Audis lead the pack towards the final complex of corners. Windscreen wipers on, umbrellas aplenty in the crowd...

0h0m The safety car peels off and Le Mans 2013 is underway.

0h1m LMP1 The two Audis go side by side into the first corner, and Lotterer goes around the outside of McNish to lead under the Dunlop bridge.

0h1m LMP1 Nicolas Lapierre brings the lead Toyota up to third past Lucas di Grassi's Audi.

0h2m LMP1: Lapierre is going for it early on, in second place.

0h2m LMP1: McNish retaliates on the Mulsanne, but Lapierre holds the Audi off and keeps second.

0h04m LMP1: Further back, Danny Watts has got the penalised Strakka HPD up to 25th overall. The Rebellion Lolas are far ahead, falling away from the works quintet ahead.

0h4m LMP1: Lotterer leads Lapierre over the line, and there's another Toyota on the move as Anthony Davidson passes Lucas di Grassi's Audi into the final chicane.

0h6m LMP1: Big battle between Davidson and di Grassi over fourth, allowing the Rebellion duo to close up.

Darren Turner holds the GTE Pro lead for Aston still.

0h7m LMP1: Lapierre takes the lead but Lotterer is not keen and immediately fights back ahead. McNish is right behind as well.

0h7m LMP1: Lotterer gets back ahead by Arnage. What an outstanding start with 23 hours and 57 minutes still to run.

0h16m LMP1: Absolutely nothing to choose between Lotterer and Lapierre in the first two positions.

0h17m GTE Am: Safety car out, a big crash for an Aston Martin. It's Allan Simonsen in the GTE Am polesitting car.

0h17m GTE Am: The accident happened at Tertre Rouge and has caused huge damage to the Aston. We're on lap three.

0h16m GTE Am: We're still under safety cars here, and this could be a long one. Devastating for the #95 Aston squad.

0h17m LMP1: The accident came after a scintillating start, with Toyota taking the fight to Audi right from the outset.

Le Mans 20130h20m LMP2: Across in LMP2, Olivier Pla had established an early lead over the rest of the field (although that has obviously now been eradicated). Shinji Nakano has just pitted from fifth in the #25 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan.

0h22m GTE Am: Simonsen was leading the class before his shunt, so the #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche - in the hands of Patrick Long - is now the GTE Am leader.

He heads a Porsche 1-2-3; the #67 Imsa and #88 Proton machines following behind.

0h25m The twin-safety car system used by Le Mans had briefly created an intriguing problem - everyone from 31st position down (that's from the #91 Manthey Porsche) was caught behind the second car, and lost three minutes as a result.

We think they've now been let by, to group the field together and run under one safety car - we'll let you know for certain as soon as we can.

0h26m LMP2: Plenty of work going on in the #25 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan garage. Nakano has stayed in the cockpit, but we're now at six minutes and counting for this impromptu stop.

0h29m LMP2: Brendon Hartley now pits in the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan, which was running sixth in class. Early reports suggest the car might have an electrical problem.

0h30m Clean up nearly finished down at Tertre Rouge. We've been underway for 30 minutes now, 21 of which have been run under the safety car.

0h34m GTE Am: Dumas pits the #70 Larbre Chevrolet - Manuel Rorridgues takes over.

0h36m GTE Pro: Confirmation that the dual safety car policy has indeed split the field, most severely affecting the Pro field.

Darren Turner, Marc Lieb and Rob Bell (in the #97 Aston, #92 Porsche and #99 Aston respectively) are behind the safety car, but the rest of the group is now stuck behind the second vehicle and half lost half a lap as a consequence. The #91 Porsche, #51 Ferrari and the two Corvettes are at the head of that second group.

0h37m LMP2: John Martin now pits in the #26 G-Drive ORECA-Nissan, which had started second in LMP2 and was running fourth.

0h39m Most of the debris from Simonsen's accident has now been removed, and there's talk over team radios that the safety car period might be ended soon. The lights are still flashing for now though.

0h39m LMP1: As we edge nearer to a resumption of racing, an update on the #21 Strakka HPD: Danny Watts had got the car up to 10th before the safety car.

0h43m GRAND-AM boss Jim France waved the flag to start the 90th anniversary Le Mans 24 Hour and will return the favour next year. He's invited ACO president Pierre Fillon to start the Daytona 24 Hours. That's an equally important race as the first round of the new-for-2014 United SportsCar Racing series.

0h45m LMP2: Confirmation that Martin pitted for a slow puncture, while Nakano was struggling with gearbox issues.

Le Mans 20130h48m GTE Am: Paolo Ruberti pits aboard the GTE Am-leading Proton Porsche. New driver getting in, not sure who. Ah, it's team boss Christian Ried.

0h51m GTE Pro: Marc Goosens is running 10th in class in the #53 Viper he shares with Ryan Dalziel and Dominik Farnbacher.

The GTS-R had lacked pace in qualifying, but Dalziel told AUTOSPORT that it didn't attempt a qualifying run and has pace in hand - even suggesting that, should it have a completely clean run, a podium is not out of the question.

0h53m Meanwhile TV replays show huge sections of the barrier down by Tertre Rouge are being replaced. Simonsen's Aston Martin, which caused the damage, has returned to the back of the paddock on the back of a low loader.

0h56m LMP1: Incidentally, we're now onto lap nine here at Le Mans - roughly the point we expected to see the first Audis start to pit. Toyota is expected to have a fuel advantage, although we're not sure by how much - it spent time on Thursday evaluating how much longer than Audi it could feasibly run.

1h02m Well, we're officially 1/24th of our way into this year's Le Mans, and after 51 minutes behind the safety car race direction reporters we have one more lap to wait before the track goes green once more.

1h03m The leaders are behind safety car B, which will pull off at Arnage this lap.

1h07m LMP2: Pitstops for both the #43 Morand Morgan-Judd of Franck Mailleux and the similar #45 OAK example of Jacques Nicolet.

That's an interesting strategical switch by Morand, which has Natacha Gachnang at the wheel of its car now.

1h08m We're racing again; the lead safety car pulling in at Arnage and allowing the lead battle between Lotterer and Lapierre to resume.

1h09m LMP1: As Lotterer leads the front group round in the #1 Audi, he's edged about a second clear of the two chasing Toyotas.

1h11m LMP2: A gaggle of LMP2 cars pit, including Pierre Kaffer in the Pecom Racing ORECA-Nissan that currently leads the FIA Trophy standings in the WEC.

There was a significant gain for Ryan Briscoe, who got ahead of Jann Mardenborough during those stops in his #33 Level 5 car.

1h12m LMP1: Lapierre drops behind Toyota team-mate Davidson, while McNish and di Grassi in the #2 and #3 Audis are also past the #7 Toyota.

1h15m LMP1: McNish is now having to defend from Lucas di Grassi into Mulsanne Corner, but the pair have dropped Lapierre - who had been rather animated on the radio to his Toyota team just now.

1h15m LMP2: Olivier Pla brings the #24 OAK Morgan-Nissan into the pits for fuel. That gives the category lead to Jota's Oliver Turvey.

1h16m LMP1: McNish pits in the #2 Audi.

1h16m Not for long. Turvey's dropped to third on that lap with Alexandre Imperatori (#47 KCMG Morgan-Nissan) and Tom Kimber-Smith (#41 Greaves Zytek-Nissan) go by.

1h17m GTE Am: Before that stop for McNish - who stayed in the car - the #81 8Star Ferrari span but continued.

1h18m GTE Am: ...And shortly afterwards, Rodrigues spins the #70 Larbre Chevrolet.

1h18m LMP2: The #31 Lotus-Praga of Christophe Bouchut is in the pits with the team investigating the rear of the car.

1h18m LMP1: Andre Lotterer gets the call to box this lap - that's after setting two fastest laps, and then a new fastest middle sector, in the #1 Audi.

1h19m LMP1: Which means Anthony Davidson leads in the #8 Toyota. How much longer can he stay out for?

1h20m What's happening with the Toyotas? Lapierre, who led the team's challenge early on, is now lapping three or four seconds slower than team-mate Davidson. A split fuel strategy perhaps?

1h21m GTE Pro: Marc Lieb has snatched the lead of the class; the Porsche man overtaking Darren Turner's Aston Martin since the safety car came in.

The GTE cars have much better fuel-consumption than the LMPs, so it will be another lap or two before we start seeing most of the front-runners stipping.

1h21m LMP1: The safety car allowed Lotterer to run 13 laps. He pit for fuel only. If they're to match their pre-race prediction, Toyota will hope to finish this lap and then pit at the end of the next.

1h23m LMP1: Davidson does indeed complete the 14th lap, but Lapierre is in. He'd just set a personal best in the middle sector.

1h25m LMP1: Davidson's just finding traffic on the Mulsanne straight and lost quite a bit of time in the middle sector - and then again at the beginning of the third sector.

Le Mans 20131h25m LMP2: Bad news for the Lotus team. After the effects of a burning smell were investigated, Christophe Bouchut's car caught fire briefly and has now been pushed back into the garage.

1h26m LMP1: Davidson pits in the #8 Toyota - so he runs two laps longer than Lotterer and three laps longer than McNish.

1h28m Here's a full report on the opening hour of the race, including the full running order at the 60-minute mark.

1h28m LMP1: He rejoins behind the trio of Audis - so the #3 car of di Grassi is now second, fractionally ahead of McNish and being forced to defend at the end of the Mulsanne straight.

1h30m LMP1: McNish is really hounding di Grassi for second. As they make their way through traffic at Indianapolis and Arnage he closes right up, but the #3 holds firm for now.

1h32m Maxime Martin goes straight on at the second Mulsanne chicane in the #46 TDS ORECA-Nissan. He's eighth.

1h33m GTE Am: The #67 Imsa Porsche in the hands of Wolf Henzler leads GTE Am, with Darryl O'Young in the #55 AF Ferrari second.

1h34m Olivier Pla is flying – no less than you would expect. He's increasing his lead in P2 over Bertrand Baguette in the battle of the OAK Morgans. It's up to nine seconds now.

1h34m LMP1: Lotterer in the #1 Audi now has an 18s advantage of the squabbling di Grassi and McNish. Davidson is five seconds behind that pair, while Lapierre is holding station a further 10s in arrears.

1h34m GTE Pro: Ooh. Toni Vilander and Jorg Bergmeister collide in the pitlane. That's not the way to do it.

Bergmeister was minding his own business in the pits when Vilander's #71 AF Corse Ferrari was released into his path.

The collision has prompted the message: "Team manager car 71 immediately to race director" to be shown on the timing screens.

1h37m GTE Am: Henzler pits the #67 Imsa Porsche, so the #61 Ferrari takes over the lead. Marco Cioci is driving that.

1h37m Baguette responds on the next lap in the internecine OAK Morgan battle to bring the gap down by a more than a second.

1h38m LMP1: McNish passes di Grassi for second.

1h39m LMP2: Briscoe has a nibble at Imperatori at Arnage; the #33 Level 5 HPD tagging the rear of the #47 KCMG car.

Briscoe runs wide, allowing Tom Kimber-Smith to breeze by in the #41 Greaves Zytek-Nissan, and the Brit - a two-time P2 class winner here - makes up further ground at the Ford chicane as he slices inside Imperatori in traffic.

Kimber-Smith is now fifth in class.

1h39m The Scot hauled the #2 Audi in front at the start of the Porsche Curves - he's 25s behind Lotterer now.

1h40m GTE Am: Rodrigues' stint - and the #70 Larbre Chevy's in general - gets worse as he's reported to be travelling slowly on the second half of the Mulsanne straight.

1h41m LMP2: Imperatori is in the gravel at Arnage. He had been sixth in class but appears to have made contact with one of the Imsa Porsches on his way in.

1h41m Very slow lap there from Lapierre, eight seconds shy of team-mate Davidson. What's going on? Probably traffic, but the #7 car appears a little shy of the pace of its sister car.

Le Mans 20131h43m Baguette is closing down Pla — he's only just over a second behind now.

1h45m GTE Pro: The top three are pulling away from the rest with Turner, Lieb and Bell separated by only 10s and Bruni a minute behind in his AF Corse Ferrari.

1h45m LMP1: 21 laps completed by Lotterer, who has seen his lead cut to 19.6s - that's the first time it's been under 20s for a few laps. McNish set the #2 Audi's best lap of the race that time around.

1h47m LMP1: And having said that, McNish loses a bit of time in the first sector to traffic, and again in the second, and now has di Grassi on his tail once more.

1h50m LMP2: The #28 Gulf Lola is in the garage and is having significant repairs being made to the front end. Looks like something wrong internally.

1h51m GTE Pro: The battle for second in class is raging between Lieb and Bell; just a tenth of a second separating them as they cross the line for the 21st time. A slow Larbre Corvette being lapped helped bunch them up through the Ford chicane.

1h52m LMP1: McNish - who was the first of the leaders to stop first time around - pits the #2 Audi.

1h54m It's drizzling on the front straight. Toyota had reported during the safety car period that they didn't foresee rain for a couple of hours, but that's not what our eyes are telling us.

1h55m LMP1: Lotterer brings the #1 Audi in to the pits.

1h56m LMP1: Now di Grassi is also in - with rain reported at Porsche Curves.

1h58m Rain reported across the circuit - but it's not enough to warrant a change of tyres, we reckon, so the Toyotas - who haven't made their second stops yet - don't quite have an ace card.

1h59m GTE Am: The AUTOSPORT team has just seen video footage from on-board one of the Corvettes on the third lap.

There was no contact between Simonsen and any other car. Visually the Dane got on the kerb at the exit of Tertre Rouge, got a slide on and then turned sharp left towards the barrier.

We still wait to hear from Aston Martin for an update on his condition.

2h00m LMP1: Davidson crosses the line to complete another lap - his time a 3m46.178s, some 16s slower than he was doing before the rain started.

2h00m LMP2: Pla pits from the lead of the class, handing the advantage to the sister OAK machine, currently driven by Bertrand Baguette.

2h01m LMP1: That lap from the #8 Toyota looks traffic-assisted, and Lotterer is now just eight seconds behind.

2h02m LMP2: One lap later and Baguette is in the pits in the #35 car. Just as happened last time, this promotes Turvey into the lead. We'll bet the order will stabilise once he and the rest of his rivals pit.

2h02m GTE Am: Howard Blank spins the #54 AF Ferrari at the Dunlop chicane, but continues.

Cioci still leads the class for the sister #61 car.

2h04m LMP1: Davidson pits the #8 Toyota from the lead. Lotterer is again in front, just ahead of Lapierre who is yet to stop in the #7 Toyota.

2h05m GTE Pro Getting increasingly slippery out there as the class-leading #97 Aston Martin rumbles past the pits with an eight second margin over the #92 Manthey Porsche.

2h06m LMP1: Lapierre takes the lead into Mulsanne Corner.

2h06m Davidson pits after only 10 laps. That's not expected - 11 or even 12 was the plan at Toyota. The increasing drizzle might have something to do with it - but no tyres.

2h07m LMP1: The #7 Toyota heads the #1 Audi, and not for the first time. Lapierre loving these conditions.

2h07m LMP1: As we type that, Lapierre pits, and Lotterer once more resumes the lead.

2h09m LMP2 The #31 Lotus with Kevin Weeda at the wheel has been off at the second chicane in these greasy conditions.

2h09m Lapierre has done 12 laps by the way - looks like he's gone onto the Michelin intermediates.

2h09m LMP1: di Grassi runs wide into the gravel on the exit of Indianapolis but it's only a brief excursion across the edge.

2h10m LMP2: #31 is reportedly stuck in the gravel at the entrance to the second chicane and TV pictures show the car being dragged to safety.

2h12m GTE Am: Henzler leads in the Imsa Porsche ahead of Cioci's AF Ferrari - that pair have both stopped once.

2h13m Weather-watch: things are looking brighter over the pits with that recent shower having eased to a light drizzle.

Le Mans 20132h13m LMP1: Lapierre is flying, he took a huge chunk of time out of the three Audis and his team-mate in the second and third sectors of that last lap.

2h16m LMP1: Lotterer's last lap - a 3m40.054s - is matched by McNish, beaten by two seconds by di Grassi, and quicker than either of the Toyotas. His lead is 23s, with Davidson - fourth in the #8 Toyota - nearly a minute behind now.

2h19m GTE Pro: The breakaway pack of #97, #92 and #99, formed during the safety car, are being slowly reeled in by the rest of the Pro field. Bruni in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari is leading the chase, around 1m20s behind.

2h20m LMP1: Lotterer puts five seconds on McNish on that lap - and 10s on both Toyotas.

2h22m LMP2: Pla continues to pull away; he's now over a minute clear of Turvey.

2h23m LMP2: Keiko Ihara in the #28 Gulf Middle East entry is the latest to come to the attention of the stewards for speeding in the pitlane. That may be the least of the worries for the car in 55th place, which has been slow in the second sector.

2h25m LMP1: The #1 and #2 Audis remain separated by a gap that ebbs and flows each lap, but it's not shifting much. di Grassi's still in touch in the #3 with the Toyotas either side of the minute mark behind.

2h27m GTE Pro: An off for Oliver Gavin in the #74 Corvette, running wide onto the gravel in the slippery conditions approaching the Dunlop chicane. He's out of the gravel and getting back up to speed.

Le Mans 20132h28m GTE Am: Cioci makes the #61 AF Ferrari's second stop, handing second place on the road to O'Young in the similar #55 machine.

2h30m P2 leader Pla takes a trip across the gravel at the Dunlop Chicane, but his lead remains healthy. Team-mate Baguette is now up to second.

2h32m GTE Pro: Gavin brings the #74 Corvette in for service after his recent off. Tommy Milner takes over at the wheel.

2h34m LMP1: Drama on the Mulsanne! Lapierre's #7 Toyota stops coming out of the first Mulsanne chicane. Can he get going again?

2h34m LMP1: McNish brings the #2 Audi in to the pits.

2h35m LMP1: Lapierre is motoring again. But he's lost some 30-40 seconds. He's down to fifth spot.

Le Mans 20132h36m GTE Pro: More pitstops for the lead Pro cars, with Aston #97 now leading from #99 after a driver change for the chasing #92 Manthey Porsche as Romain Dumas takes over.

2h36m LMP1: Lapierre didn't stop at the pits; Toyota must have a clear idea of what the problem was.

2h37m LMP1: Now Lotterer pits in the #1 Audi.

2h38m GTE Am: Cioci and the #61 AF Ferrari are once more in front in the Am battle; Pascal Gibon's now at the wheel of the Imsa Porsche.

2h38m LMP1: di Grassi pits, so all three Audis have now made their third stop.

2h42m LMP1: Davidson continues for another lap, Toyota keen to make their fuel advantage count when they can.

2h44m LMP2: Pitstop for the LMP2 leader as Pla hands over to Alex Brundle for the second stint. That puts Baguette in the other Oak #35 car back to the front.

2h46m LMP1: Davidson round again, so this stint will go to 12 laps at least. He's 17s behind Lotterer, with McNish now 54s behind his Audi team-mate.

Le Mans 20132h46m GTE Pro: Definitely getting slippery at Dunlop as the #74 Corvette repeats its off through the gravel, followed by a brace of other GTE machines. There's now a bit of gravel on the road, we're told.

2h48m The rain was definitely getting a lot heavier on the start/finish straight - though it's eased off to some degree. Enough to keep the drivers very much on their toes.

2h49m LMP1: Davidson finally pits the #8 Toyota.

2h51m LMP2: The #32 Lotus is in trouble with officials after reports that the left door is opening. A black and orange flag is going to force that car into the pits.

2h53m LMP1: The class-leading #67 Imsa Porsche has a big problem, the carcass of the tyre flies off at the start of the Porsche Curve after suffering a left-rear puncture.

2h54m LMP2: Plenty of pitstops for the LMP2 leaders, with Baguette in #35 leading them in for service. That puts Brundle in Oak's #24 back at the head of the class.

2h55m LMP1: An impressive stint from Lapierre, who finally brings the #7 Toyota in. You wouldn't have thought he'd be running in the top five still when he pulled off at the second Mulsanne chicane!

2h56m LMP1: There was no change of tyres for Lapierre - so we're now wondering whether he did fit inters at the last stop, or maybe he's just revelling on a damp track.

3h00m GTE Am: The drama for the Imsa Porsche means Cioci continues to lead for the #61 Ferrari while Lorenzo Case, now aboard the sister #55 machine, is completing a Prancing Horse 1-2.

3h01m GTE Pro: Turner in #97 building an advantage of around 10 seconds over Rob Bell in the sister #99 ahead of the first driver changes for the Pro Aston squads.

3h02m LMP1: A couple of good laps for McNish brings Lotterer's lead down to 45s, but incredibly the Scot cannot shake off the attentions of di Grassi, who is putting in a very credible stint in the #3 R18 e-tron quattro.

3h07m
GTE Am: It's our very sad duty to report that Allan Simonsen has died in hospital following his crash on the fourth lap of the race.

AUTOSPORT's thoughts and prayers are with his family.

3h11m LMP1: Lotterer's responded to the pressure from McNish, who still has di Grassi for company. At this point in the race, the Toyotas are both slipping back 3-4s a lap.

3h12m GTE Pro: The #71 AF Corse Ferrari has been given a stop/go penalty for that earlier unsafe release straight into the path of a Porsche.

3h13m LMP1: Davidson's 1m30s behind after a particularly slow lap , though Lapierre fared little better. He's more than two minutes behind the #1 Audi.

Le Mans 20133h16m LMP1: McNish pits in the #2 Audi, leaving di Grassi 50s off the race leader.

3h16m LMP2: Trouble for the #36 Signatech Alpine as it is wheeled back into the garage. That car had a gravelly off a couple of laps ago.

3h17m LMP2 The Caterham-backed Greaves #41 is touring slowly out on to the Mulsanne straight as Alex Rossi struggles to get up to speed.

3h18m LMP1: Lotterer enters the pits, so far a faultless performance in the #1 Audi.

3h19m LMP1: di Grassi comes in as Lotterer leaves the pits.

3h21m GTE Pro: Still static at the front of Pro with Turner nearing the end of his first stint in Aston #97, holding that 10 second gap over the #99.

3h21m LMP1: That means we have the first of the driver changes at Audi. Treluyer takes over the #1, Duval is in for McNish in the #2 and Jarvis is now in the #3 Audi.

3h22m LMP1: Davidson splits the Audis as he stays out, 20s behind Treluyer.

3h23m GTE Am: The #54 AF Ferrari - running 53rd overall - takes a trip into the gravel at Mulsanne Corner, but continues.

3h25m LMP2: The #41 completes a very slow lap around the circuit as Rossi brings the Greaves machine back to the attention of its mechanics. The right rear suspension on that car looks to be deranged.

3h25m GTE Pro: Turner, still in the lead #97 Aston, is lapping two seconds faster than the chasing pack. His advantage is now just over 45 seconds. Rob Bell in the sister #99 machine is second, just ahead of Romain Dumas in the Manthey Porsche,

3h26m Meanwhile, it is raining once again on the pit straight.

Le Mans 20133h27m GTE Am: The #75 Prospeed Porsche, in the hands of Francois Perrodo, runs off track at the Dunlop chicane.

3h28m LMP1: ...And moments later Lapierre does the same, a trip across the kerb for the #7 Toyota.

3h30m LMP1: A spin for the #12 Rebellion - up until then Nick Heidfeld had put in a very solid stint. He's dropped it at Tertre Rouge.

3h32m LMP2: Ricardo Gonzalez in the #35 Oak Morgan is now right on the case of Brundle in the class-leading #24, while Conway in the #26 is reeling in that pair.

3h34m LMP1: Lapierre passes Duval for third - he's again excelling in the tricky conditions.

3h34m LMP2: #26 is in the pits with Conway back underway at the wheel, as a pack of P2 cars dive in for service this time.

3h35m LMP1: Davidson pits in the #7. It's a first driver change for Toyota, with Buemi now in the car.

3h36m GTE Pro: Darren Turner finally hands over control of the leading #97 Vantage. Stefan Mucke takes over, resuming ahead of the #92 Manthey Porsche and #99 sister Vantage.

3h37m LMP1: Lapierre is refusing to yield to Duval - who pulls alongside the Toyota on the straights but cannot get by at the moment.

3h37m LMP2: A spin for the #40 Boutsen Oreca at Mulsanne Corner, with Romaine Brandela now getting going again after causing a bit of a traffic jam.

3h38m GTE Pro: Drivers have also changed for the #99 Aston - Frederic Makowiecki is in, replacing starter Rob Bell.

3h39m GTE Am: Le Mans organiser the ACO has issued a statement about Allan Simonsen's fatal accident during the opening hour of the race.

3h39m LMP2: A stop for the #35 Oak Morgan takes the pressure off class leader Brundle in the #24 for now.

3h39m GTE Am: Patrick Dempsey pits in the #77 Porsche.

3h40m LMP1: Lapierre is in, and that releases Duval. That's timely, because Jarvis was beginning to creep up on that duo.

Le Mans 20133h41m GTE Pro: Makowiecki flying - he's just done a new overall best in the #99 Vantage, and takes four seconds out of Mucke and Dumas in one lap. He's quick next time round too, setting an overall best in the middle sector.

3h41m LMP1: Wurz takes over the #7 Toyota. Meanwhile, behind, Congfu (Franky) Chen is in to the #13 Rebellion Lola with Neel Jani into the #12 car.

3h44m GTE Pro: Another great lap from Makowiecki, as he drops down to a 3m57.535s. Mucke and Dumas have upped their pace in response, but Makowiecki gains another second.

He's now 13 seconds behind Mucke, and 13 behind Dumas.

3h44m LMP2: Stops for #38 and #46 put Conway in the #26 G-Drive Oreca up to second in class, though clocked over a minute behind the #24. Gonzales in the #35 is now just a couple of seconds behind Conway on the road.

3h45m LMP1: Treluyer has picked up exactly where Lotterer left off. If he's not the quickest Audi on track he's not far off it, and the #1 car still has a handsome lead - 48s at the last check.

3h50m LMP1: There's little between the three Audis - but when they hit traffic, the #1 seems to glide through compared to the chasing pair. Buemi and Wurz have upped the ante in the #8 and #7 cars respectively, but are still losing 2-3s on outright pace.

Le Mans 20133h55m GTE Am: The #61 AF Ferrari is yet to make a fourth stop, and leads ahead of the #67 Imsa Porsche. Gibon is ahead of Case, in the second AF Ferrari, despite his tyre troubles from before.

3h56m Two offs at Mulsanne - Conway in the #26 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan dives down the inside of Stuart Hall in the #96 Aston Martin, but both fall foul of water in the braking zone and run on through the gravel before rejoining.

3h57m LMP2: A spin for Lucas Luhr in the #38 Jota Zytec but is back underway, having fallen to 16th overall, behind Franchitti in the #33 HPD

3h57m LMP1: Buemi gets a touch frustrated trying to get by slower machinery, but he manages to make it through without incident.

3h57m LMP1: Duval stops in the #2 Audi.

3h58m LMP1: ...as Jarvis locks up in the #3 and runs straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane.

3h59m LMP1: And Treluyer brings the #1 Audi in to the pits.

4h03m GTE Pro: Makowiecki passes Dumas for second and is flying.

4h04m LMP2: Alex Brundle continues to extend the #24 OAK Morgan's class lead.

4h08m LMP2: Driver change for the LMP2 leader as Brundle comes in to hand over to David Heinemeier Hansson.

4h09m LMP2: Alexander Rossi brings the Caterham-backed Greaves Zytek back into the fray. The car had been back in the garage with broken rear suspension.

4h11m LMP2: After OAK's pitstop, Mike Conway moves into the class lead in the Delta-ADR car.

4h13m LMP2: Trouble for the #33 HPD as Franchitti completes a very slow lap back to the pits. He's out again on fresh rubber so the likely cause there would be a puncture.

4h16m LMP1: Duval is doing his utmost to prevent Treluyer extending the #1 Audi's advantage to one minute - and so far he's succeeding. The lead has been built on, but it's 52s at the moment.

4h17m GTE Pro: Dominik Farnbacher has gone off at the Ford chicane in the #53 Viper, which is running 10th in class.

4h18m LMP1: Buemi is third in the #8 Toyota, yet to stop of course as they continue to run long, 38s behind Duval and the same ahead of Jarvis.

4h18m GTE Pro: Makowiecki takes the lead from Aston Martin stable-mate Stefan Mucke.

4h18m LMP1: ...And now the #8 pits.

4h19m GTE Am: Some reaction from Aston Martin to the death of Allan Simonsen earlier in the race:

Aston Martin Racing team principal John Gaw, said: "On behalf of all of us at Aston Martin Racing, I would like to extend our deepest sympathies and condolences to the individuals, and families whose friends or loved ones were involved in today's terrible tragedy."

4h21m LMP1: Those pitstops have shaken out rather poorly for the #3 Audi, which is now almost 40s behind Duval in second.

4h22m LMP1: Wurz pits the #7 Toyota.

4h28m LMP2: The order is changing at the front of the class with David Heinemeier Hansson in the #24 having reclaimed the lead from Conway's #26 G-Drive ORECA-Nissan.

Heinemeier Hansson had previously dropped to third, but is now back ahead. Conway has pitted his car for the sixth time in the race to hand over to Roman Rusinov, while his rival has only made five stops.

4h29m LMP1: It's all very stagnant at the front, where the #1 Audi leads the #2 car by 50-odd seconds, with the #3 car a further 40s back. The #8 Toyota of Buemi strives to stay within the 2m barrier.

4h32m GTE Pro: Makowiecki and Mucke have brought the #99 and #97 Astons into the pits for their fourth stops. Romain Dumas had managed to split the Vantages as a result, but he's now been into the pits too and remains third.

Just 24 seconds separate the top four after four and a half hours while Matteo Malucelli - fourth in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari - over two minutes back.

4h34m GTE Pro: The #53 SRT Viper of Dominik Farnbacher looks like it could be about to get going again. Plenty of tape now surrounds the left-front wheel arch. That car has had a battery change while it was in there too.

4h36m Allan Simonsen: 1978-2013.

Read AUTOSPORT's tribute here.

4h39m GTE Am: The #57 Krohn Ferrari of Tracy Krohn is in the gravel at Indianapolis. That car had been 11th in the class.

4h39m LMP1: The #1 and #2 Audis make their sixth stops of the race.

4h40m GTE Pro: And as that's happening, Paul Dalla Lana, eighth in GTE Pro in the #98 Aston Martin, spins at the Dunlop chicane, but does not find the gravel.

4h40m LMP1: ...As does the #3 R18 e-tron quattro.

4h42m GTE Am: Fortunes for the other Ferraris are a little better - namely the AF machines, which are still running first (the #61) and second (#55). The Proton and Imsa Porsches are third and fourth in class.

4h44m LMP2: Romain Brandela's been off again. This time he's run straight on at Arnage in the #39 DKR Lola-Judd. That car's 19th in P2.

4h48m GTE Pro: Makowiecki is really going some at the head of the class. 45 minutes ago he was 10 seconds behind team-mate Stefan Mucke in the #97 Aston. Now he's 19s ahead. Sensational speed from the Frenchman who may, or may not be, the best GT driver in the world.

4h48m LMP1: Duval is on the move — he's just posted the #2 car's fastest lap of the race and has cut the gap to Treluyer to 40s. It was up near 50 before the last round of stops.

4h51m LMP1: Franky Cheng has run straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane in the #13 Rebellion-Lola, but continued.

4h52m LMP1: Jarvis has just done his car's best lap too, though like Duval, he's three seconds shy of Lotterer's fastest lap set early on.

4h53m LMP2: The class-leading #24 OAK Morgan-Nissan of David Heinemeier Hansson pits for a sixth time and drops to third.

The Dane had been being steadily reeled in by Roman Rusinov in the #26 G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan at a rate of 3-5 seconds per lap and had seen his advantage reduced to under 28s.

The top three cars in the class are all Nissan-powered currently.

4h55m LMP2: There's a car off at Arnage, and unsurprisingly it's Brandela in the #39 DKR Lola-Judd... Again.

4h56m LMP1: Anthony Davidson: "The crazy weather has continued and has been making everyone's job difficult. I was trying my best to keep the car on the track at a good pace. That was some of the hardest driving I have had to do; slicks in the rain is tough but you have to balance that with the time you lose in the pitstop."

5h00m LMP1: There's little to separate the #2 and #3 Audis in terms of pace - Duval and Jarvis lapping around the 3m27s mark on a regular basis. With traffic, Treluyer's lead reduces to 40s - although having said that he's just gone quicker than either of the other two Audis have managed the entire race.

5h01m LMP2: Marino Franchitti brings the #33 Level 5 HPD into the pits from ninth in class and sits as calmly as you like.... while his car catches fire!

A couple of squirts from the extinguisher and the flames are extinguished, so Franchitti gets going again.

5h03m GTE Am: Howard Blank has dumped himself in the gravel at Mulsanne, but he manages to get out again, with a little assistance. His #54 AF Corse Ferrari is 13th in class.

5h04m LMP1: A change of position to tell you about. No, not between the Audis or Toyotas. But in the last few laps, the Status HPD in the hands of Jonny Kane has passed the #13 Rebellion-Lola.

5h07m GTE Am: The class-leading #61 AF Corse Ferrari is spun at the Ford chicane by Jack Gerber.

Amato Ferrari breathes a sigh of relief as Olivier Beretta in the Pro-class #71 car misses his gyrating team-mate by centimetres.

Gerber is still nearly three minutes clear in the category.

5h07m Safety car is out.

5h07m LMP2: Tristan Gommendy crawling onto the Mulsanne straight - he's picked up a bad left-rear puncture, and we have a safety car for the debris.

5h09m LMP2: Plenty of debris from that puncture, mainly from the rear of Gommendy's Signatech Alpine-Nissan.

5h11m Massive rush to get out of the pitlane before the second safety car comes round. We'll let you know who made it and who didn't as soon as we can. Loic Duval in the #2 Audi was among those to dive straight into the pits.

5h15m LMP1: Treluyer pits and they've taken on new tyres - we think they've done that because they knew the car would be held at the end of the pitlane.

That also potentially brings Toyota right back into play.

5h16m Safety car in this lap.

Audi Le Mans WEC 20135h17m LMP1: Treluyer has lost more than one minute to Duval in the pitlane during this safety car period, although he might actually have gained time overall if Duval has come out behind the second safety car.

5h18m GTE Pro: Meanwhile the #73 Corvette, which is eighth in class, has been wheeled into the garage, with some frantic work at the front end.

5h22m Safety car(s) pull in, and we're back racing.

5h23m LMP1: Treluyer does indeed appear to have benefited from that safety car period - we'll bring you the new gap once the second half of the field comes round.

5h23m LMP2: David Heinemeier Hansson spins at the Porsche Curves, in the class-leading #24 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan...

5h24m LMP1: Jarvis moves above Duval in all of that, so the #2 Audi drops to third. Jarvis is 54s behind Treluyer - a significant amount less, so he's a big winner there.

5h25m LMP1: ....Although Treluyer's lead actually extended (it was 40s to Duval).

5h25m And we have another safety car.

5h26m LMP2: Replays show that Loic Duval in the #2 Audi R18 tapped Heinemeier Hansson into that spin.

5h26m LMP1: ...Which means Treluyer's lead will evaporate to nothing as the field bunches back up behind the safety car.

5h26m Which, incidentally, has been called for debris heading onto the Mulsanne straight.

Le Mans 20135h27m GTE Am: In all of that, we had a lead change. The #55 AF Ferrari now leads the #61 sister car.

5h30m Safety car in this lap.

5h32m The safety car dives in, and we're back to greens.

5h33m LMP1: Jarvis pits in the #3, that's why he'd made up such ground in the previous safety car.

5h34m LMP1: So after all of that...it's how it was before both safety cars! For the Audis anyway. #1 leads #2 by 40s. Where have we typed that before?

5h35m LMP1: Meanwhile, having made a pitstop less, the Toyotas are both 90s behind the lead Audi.

5h35m LMP2: Luis Perez Companc spins the #49 Pecom ORECA-Nissan at Mulsanne corner. He gets going again, but that could be a crucial loss of time for the car lying fourth in class.

5h36m GTE Am: Jason Bright is touring around slowly with a left-rear puncture. The Australian's 8 Star Ferrari had been sixth in class, but could well lose a handful of places as he crawls past Maison Blanche.

5h40m LMP2: The tap from Loic Duval that sent Heinemeier Hansson around has been a huge factor in changing the look at the front of the category.

The #24 OAK, which had led the first four hours, is now back to sixth, having made a stop to allow the car to be checked by the mechanics.

Martin Plowman is now OAK's top man in second in the #35 Morgan-Nissan, 1m40s behind Roman Rusinov's #26 G-Drive machine and lapping at a very similar pace.

5h42m LMP1: Duval has Treluyer's gap under 40s for the first time in a long while. Trouble is, they are now lapping almost identically through each sector.

5h46m GTE Pro: Pitting behind the safety car seems to have had a bad effect on the #99 Aston Martin. Bruno Senna has now taken over from Frederic Makowiecki, but is now down from first to third.

The sister #97 car is now leading, having stopped under green-flag conditions, with Peter Dumbreck at the wheel.

Richard Lietz has managed to get his Porsche inbetween them, and both Lietz and Senna are lapping around 0.6s quicker than Dumbreck, albeit 7s back from the Scot.

5h46m GTE Pro: Brilliant move by Senna as he sweeps past Lietz for second at the first Mulsanne chicane. The pair continue their chase of Dumbreck.

5h48m LMP1: Duval sets another personal best - 3m25.183s - for the #2 Audi - although it's still 0.2s slower than Treluyer manages.

Remember, the #1 Audi's fastest lap was a 3m23.313s.

5h48m LMP1: And we we type that, Treluyer goes purple in the second sector.

5h50m GTE Am: Gerber spins again in the #61 AF Corse Ferrari at the exit of the Porsche Curves. He was put off when a Toyota came past to lap him, ran onto the tarmac run-off area and simply spun on the slippery asphalt.

The South African is continuing to undo all of the good work of Matt Griffin and Marco Cioci and is now down to fourth; Jean-Karl Vernay in the #76 Imsa Porsche having got by for third.

5h50m LMP1: ...and Treluyer sets another 3m24.9s lap. Although Jarvis - 1m07s further back - set a PB for the #3 on the previous tour, which was also 3m24.9s.

5h52m GT Pro: Senna and Lietz are really gunning it; the pair lapping in 3m57.2 and 3m58.5s respectively while Dumbreck is struggling to break the four-minute barrier.

5h54m LMP1: New fastest lap of the race for Duval! Very much game on as he takes almost 6s out of Treluyer's lead in one lap. Good effort.

5h54m LMP1: That was a 3m23.269s for Duval - 1.7s quicker than the Frenchman had previously managed (on the lap before). He's definitely in the groove.

5h55m LMP1: Meanwhile, Buemi pits the #8 Toyota.

5h57m LMP1: Duval loses 1.8s on that lap - a very poor middle sector - so the #1 Audi's lead grows to 37s.

5h59m LMP1: Treluyer pits from the lead.

6h03m LMP2: The top two in the class have made their eighth stops; John Martin taking over from Roman Rusinov in the leading #26 G-Drive car and leading by 53s from Martin Plowman in the #35 OAK machine.

6h04m LMP1: Duval having pitted, the #2 Audi resumes the chase 40s behind the #1 R18. That gap seems to be rather popular - though we'd imagine more with the leader than the man in second.

6h09m LMP1: Wurz pits from fourth, having stretched his fuel mileage a little too far. His in-lap was around 40 seconds slower than normal and so needed to slacken his pace hugely to make it back to the start/finish area.

6h11m GTE Am: A new personal best for the #76 Imsa Porsche outfit, courtesy of Jean-Karl Vernay. He's got some way to go to catch Gianluca Roda, who is second in class, 1m20s up the road.

Le Mans 20136h13m GTE Pro: Bruno Senna is just edging away at the front of a three-way scrap for the class lead. He gaps Peter Dumbreck and Richard Lietz by two seconds on that last lap - although both men respond and are quicker next time around. Just six seconds to choose between the trio.

6h15m GTE Am: Roda, second in class, goes straight on at the second Mulsanne chicane in the #88 Proton Porsche.

6h16m LMP1: Neel Jani sets a new best for the #12 Rebellion squad - a 3m29.328s, which puts him on a par with Sebastien Buemi in the lead Toyota, and is more than three seconds faster than Alexander Wurz in the second TS030. Audi is around two seconds per lap faster, however.

6h19m GTE Pro: Plenty of green on the timing screens now - this time its the turn of Richard Lietz, who closes back in on Peter Dumbreck in this three-way GTE Pro lead fight.

6h23m GTE Pro: Oliver Gavin takes over from Richard Westbrook in the #74 Corvette, which was running sixth in class (after that stop, it is now sixth).

6h24m Questions are being raised as to whether the timing screens are green or blue. We say green makes more sense, so it can stay.

6h27m Thomas Dagoneau has just set the fastest lap for the Boutsen ORECA - he's banged in a 3m55s. That's a good dozen seconds off the pace, in case you were wondering.

6h29m Senna into the pits from the GTE Pro class lead - just fuel and a quick polish of the screen.

6h31m Lietz is right with Dumbreck now at the top of the GTE Pro order and then they duck into the pits for their pitstops.

6h32m LMP1: Benoit Treluer continues to edge away from Loic Duval, thanks largely to his ability to maintain a 3m24s pace. Duval - and Jarvis for that matter - are in the mid 25s.

6h33m And Dumbreck and Lietz leave the pits together, too. But Senna is back in the lead.

6h25m We're 30 minutes past quarter-distance. So, if you're just joining us - or if you want to recap anything - here's what's happened so far:

Hour 1: Audi fend off a spirited Toyota attack

Hour 2: Toyota briefly lead but Audi establish an early advantage

Hour 3: Andre Lotterer extends the #1 Audi's lead to almost one minute

Hour 4: Audi lockout of the front three positions continues

Hour 5: Second-placed Duval hauls in the #1 Audi as Toyota slip back

Hour 6: Treluyer/Duval duel continues

We also had the tragic news that Allan Simonsen died from injuries sustained in his heavy crash early into the race.

You can read AUTOSPORT's tribute here

6h35m LMP1: Buemi pits from fourth in the #8 Toyota.

6h35m LMP1: And now Treluyer in the race-leading Audi joins him.

6h38m LMP1: Problem for Benoit Treluyer exiting the pits, and he loses a chunk of time - which is all the more apparent given that Duval followed him in and out. The gap has come to down to around 15s.

6h38m LMP1: Stephane Sarrazin meanwhile has taken over from Buemi in the #8 Toyota, which is now fifth.

6h38m GTE Am: Gianluca Roda is edging towards Piergiuseppe Perazzini at the top of the GTE Am order. The gap between Ferrari and Porsche is still close to a minute, though.

6h40m LMP1: We now have a top three (all Audi) covered by just 23 seconds. Jarvis in third is due to pit, but Treluyer and Duval are on the same cycle and just 14s apart.

Le Mans 20136h42m LMP1: Jarvis has just stopped at the Dunlop Chicane - he's got a puncture. The carcass of the tyre has already gone, so he's going to have to do a full lap on the rim. Looks like a sudden deflation sent him into a spin.

6h44m LMP1: The Joest Audi boys are getting a rear body section ready. Jarvis is flying back to the pits on three wheels, sorry three tyres and one wheel. Wonder what damage he's going to sustain.


6h45m LMP1: Treluyer heads back into the pits, and the #1 Audi has hit problems. Its up on the jacks and being wheeled into the garage.

6h46m LMP1: That means Duval slots into the lead, with Wurz and Sarrazin set to take over in second and third.

6h47m LMP1: Oliver Jarvis has finally limped his #3 R18 back to the pitlane.

6h48m GTE Pro: As the drama has been unravelling out front, we've neglected a great GTE Pro battle, as Lietz has closed to within four tenths of Dumbreck in the fight for second.

6h49m LMP1: Amazing. The Jarvis Audi needs nothing but a new set of tyres and some fuel. They build 'em strong in Germany.

6h50m LMP1: And a driver change. Gene has jumped in.

6h50m LMP1: Wurz is in from second to hand over to Nakajima.

6h52m LMP2: Baguette is getting a move on in the #35 OAK Morgan. He's just done the car's fastest lap, but he's still a minute and a half down on Martin in the G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA.

6h56m LMP2: Mardenborough launches the Nissan-sponsored Greaves Zytek over the kerbs on the exit of the second chicane on the Mulsanne. Spectacular stuff! Wonder if his sofa ever jumped five foot in the air when he was on his PlayStation a couple of years back.

6h57m GTE Pro: Porsche sandwich time. Lietz is splitting the Astons. He's got ahead of Dumbreck but still trails Senna - by nine or so seconds.

6h59m LMP1: The #12 Rebellion Lola is in its garage - the car that has had perfect runs for the past two years is in the wars this time. A point of interest is that Nico Prost hasn't driven yet.

7h00m LMP1: They're still working on the #1 Audi in its garage. It looks like Lotterer and co aren't going to be joining the Le Mans hat-trick club - they are four laps down already.

7h03m LMP1: Duval is three minutes ahead of Sarrazin in the #8 Toyota and lapping a couple of seconds faster every lap. At this rate Audi will be a lap up long before minute. That's the good news for the Germans; the bad news is that all its eggs are in danger of disappearing into one basket. Shades of 2011.

7h06m GTE Pro: Lietz is holding station with Senna. The gap is 10 seconds or so.

7h07m LMP1: The spanners are still out in the #1 Audi pit. The car is now six laps down.

7h09m LMP2: Pla has banged in the fastest lap for the #26 OAK Morgan as he attempts to make up lost ground. The car behind him in sixth in class is Jann Mardenborough - who's just gone half a second quicker than the king of P2.

7h12m We've just heard the term 'three-peat' on Radio Le Mans. At least one of our number is feeling sick.

7h13m LMP1: Tom Kristensen heads out in the #2 Audi, now leading the race following problems for the sister R18s.

7h15m LMP1: Audi reporting an issue with the motor generator on its #1 machine, which has now dropped to 17th and is still being worked on.

Allan Simonsen7h18m FIA president Jean Todt and ACO president Pierre Fillon have spoken of their "profound sadness" regarding Allan Simonsen's death.

"We wish to express our profound sadness regarding the death of Allan Simonsen at today's 24 Hours of Le Mans. We would like to convey our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to Allan's family and friends. Our thoughts are also with his Aston Martin team-mates at this difficult time.

"Allan was an extremely talented and experienced sportscar driver who had raced in every corner of the world and was highly respected by his peers and his team. For many in endurance racing, Allan was above all a good friend who displayed his passion for racing on and off the track.

"His loss will be felt by the FIA, the ACO and the greater motorsport family."


7h18m Decent time there from Ludovic Badey in the TDS ORECA, which is running fourth in class. He's only a couple of seconds off the pace of Baguette, belying the lack of prototype experience of this GT regular.

7h19m LMP2: Bad news for the class-leading #26 G-Drive Racing squad, with John Martin pitting with issues. They're changing the bodywork as we type.

7h20m GTE Pro: The gap at the front is more or less static - Senna leads Lietz by 10 seconds.

7h20m Heavy rain is being reported at Tertre Rouge...

7h23m LMP2: Pla is right with Simon Dolan in the Jota Zytek. With Martin's problems in the G-Drive/Delta-ADR car this is now the battle for second in class. That's a distant second - they are the best part of a lap behind Baguette in the leading OAK Morgan.

7h23m LMP2: And Pla is past and into second.

7h25m GTE Pro: Senna pits from the lead.

7h26m LMP2: Meanwhile Mardenborough exits the pits in the #42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek-Nissan.

7h27m LMP1: The #1 Audi is back in the race! It spent 43 minutes in the pits.

7h28m LMP1: Fassler rejoins with the #1 Audi 24th on the road...so, podium?

7h29m LMP1: As the #3 pits - but for the right reasons. It's making its 10th stop of the race.

7h29m LMP1: Just over forty minutes in the pits then for the #1 Audi - or 12 laps of Le Mans, if you like.

Le Mans 20137h30m LMP2: The #26 Delta-ADR spent about eight minutes in the pits. That drops the erstwhile class leader to seventh in class.

7h31m GTE Pro: Bruno Senna returns to the front of the Pro class after Richard Lietz and Peter Dumbreck pit. Still less than 20 seconds between the trio.

7h33m LMP1: Sarrazin takes four seconds out of Kristensen's lead on that previous lap in his pursuit of the race leader.

7h34m LMP1: 2m44s is that gap...

7h34m LMP2: The sister #25 car, now being driven by Tor Graves, spins at Porsche curves. That's exactly where he did it in warm-up. He's 19th in class.

7h37m LMP1: Nakajima makes his ninth stop of the race. Had you offered Toyota P2 and P3 at this stage before the start, they probably would have enthusiastically taken it.

7h37m LMP2 Up front in P2, Baguette in Oak #35 extends his lead as the recovering #24 driven by Pla comes in for routine service.

7h40m GTE Am: Paolo Ruberti is driving a storming stint in the #88 Proton Porsche. The Italian is closing in on the class-leading AF Corse Ferrari of Darryl O'Young at a rate of 3-4s per lap and is only 29s behind.

7h40m LMP1: For those on the lookout for Fassler and the #1 Audi - he's not made up any places (ridiculous, he's had 10 minutes), but he's lapping in the 3m25s.

That's significantly quicker than Kristensen or either Toyota.

7h44m LMP2 Eric Lux has taken control of the Caterham-backed #41 Greaves Zytek, which was delayed earlier by a rear suspension problem. It is back up to 31st overall after some strong pace from Alexander Rossi over the last few hours.

7h46m LMP1: Sarrazin continues to take small bites into the #2 Audi's lead, while Fassler has passed the #47 KCMG Morgan-Nissan and the #91 Manthey Porsche, so he's now 22nd.

7h47m The dramas of others have brought the leading LMP2 machine of Bertrand Baguette up to eighth.

The best GTE Pro car, the #99 Aston Martin of Bruno Senna, is 19th while the top GTE Am machine, that of Darryl O'Young, is 34th.

7h48m LMP2 Jota #38 has been making progress recently and is running second in class for the moment, though clocked over two minutes behind the leading #35.

7h48m LMP1: In the battle for third, Marc Gene is closing in on the #7 Toyota, which is 34s up the road.

7h50m Safety car is out - there's an incident at the Porsche Curves.

7h51m There's debris on the track, and car #25 - "Graves again!", we exclaim - is on the left-hand side of the track.

7h52m LMP2 The #33 Level 5 Motorsports car has returned to the pits with some major smoke billowing from the rear of the machine.

7h53m LMP2 But it is the #25 Delta-ADR in the hedge at the entry to the first part of the Porsche Curves. Tor Graves it is indeed at the wheel of that damaged machine.

7h54m LMP1: Tom Kristensen pit in the #2 Audi before that, with the team in the pitlane now - presumably for the #3.

7h55m LMP1: Yep, seems di Grassi is ready to jump aboard the #3.

7h55m LMP2 Cars being told to keep right at the scene of Graves' off, with plenty debris on the circuit.

7h56m LMP1: ...And in does come the #3 Audi - but it's being wheeled into the garage!

7h58m LMP1: The #3 has gone up on the jacks in its garage and the Audi squad go to work on some running repairs.

8h00m LMP1: This continues to put the #3 further behind the Toyota pair, having already dropped to fourth after an earlier puncture.

8h02m Safety cars in this lap.

8h02m LMP1: Meanwhile, Toyota is taking the opportunity to service #8 and Sarrazin heads off to join the queue at the end of the pitlane.

8h04m LMP1: The #3 Audi returns to the track - it looked slow but seems to be okay now.

8h05m LMP1: We're hearing that Audi #2 is reported to have overtaken a Corvette at Tertre Rouge under the safety car...We'll keep you posted.

8h06m We're racing again.

8h07m LMP2: #35 remains in control of P2, while the battle for second in class is very much on as Pla in the Oak #24 and Mardenborough at the wheel of Greaves' #42 are just a couple of seconds apart as we resume racing.

8h09m LMP1: How that's shaken out at the front is like this: The #2 Audi leads the two Toyotas (headed by the #7), with di Grassi now in the #3 Audi in fourth.

8h09m GTE Am: Tracy Krohn spins coming out of the second Mulsanne chicane; the #57 Ferrari coming so close to being clouted by Maxime Martin in the #46 TDS ORECA-Nissan. Martin is now sixth in LMP2.

8h11m LMP2: But trouble for the other Greaves car as Eric Lux has been off at the second chicane. #41 is back on the road now after a long delay.

Le Mans 20138h11m GTE Pro: A big moment in the victory fight. Richard Lietz spins his #92 Manthey-run works Porsche at the ironically-named Porsche curves.

That drops the Austrian to third in class, behind Peter Dumbreck's #97 Aston Martin.

8h11m LMP1: Once again the safety car puts the two Toyotas together - well, they are 17s apart - but they are a lap behind the #2 Audi.

8h14m LMP1: The #1 Audi pits from 21st, and it's away again. That was about 42 minutes faster than its previous stop.

8h14m LMP2: Oreca #34 is reported slow on the Mulsanne straight. Bleekemolen has just triggered the beam in the second sector and seems to be touring back to the pits.

8h14m LMP1: Marc Gene reports 'several things weren't going right' on the #3 Audi, which caused its long pitstop behind the safety car. Damaged front and side bodywork was changed, although the smart decision to pit under caution meant the car did not lose a lap.

Gene handed over to Lucas di Grassi at the same time as switching from hard to soft-compound Michelins.

8h15m GTE Am: Paolo Ruberti pits from the class lead, takes fuel and tyres, and gets going in what looks to be second place, behind Pat Long's now-leading #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche.

8h17m LMP2: Lux has made it back to the pits in #41 and the Caterham-backed Zytek looks ready to resume after a spell in the garage.

8h18m LMP2: That looks to have sorted the drama for Greaves #41, while the #42 is in for service from third in class.

Le Mans 20138h19m LMP1: Sarrazin now has the gap to his Toyota team-mate down to 10s - the #8 possibly lining up the #7 soon.

8h22m LMP1: A personal best time of the race for the #7 Toyota - the perfect response to that pressure from Sarrazin.

8h23m GTE Pro: A brake-disc change for the #53 Viper of Marc Goossens. That car has had terrilble luck today and is down in 47th overall and 12th in class.

8h24m LMP1: Kristensen straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane, but it hasn't troubled the #2 Audi's progress.

8h25m LMP1: Marcel Fassler has made up a another spot on the last lap. He's in among the GTE Pro leaders now in 17th overall.

8h27m LMP2 Pla is getting a move on in the #24 as it battles back towards the front of P2. He's now just over a minute off class leader #35, which has recently been in for a stop.

8h28m LMP1: The Toyota team are in the pits and awaiting one of the cars.

8h31m LMP2: News from the #41 camp is that Lux had a moment under safety car that put the delayed Greaves Zytek into the barriers. He did eventually get it back to the pits and Tom Kimber-Smith is up to speed in 39th overall following a replacement of the front bodywork.

8h31m LMP2: The Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan is down in 14th in class following an ECU change, but Brendon Hartley is now aboard and probably has a good shout at making up ground if he can avoid any more technical problems.

8h33m LMP2: Pitstop for the chasing #24 car with a routine fill of fuel for Pla in the Oak Morgan.

Audi Le Mans WEC 20138h34m LMP1: Fassler-watch: He's up to 16th, ahead of all the GTE Pros, but two laps behind the last of the lead eight LMP2s.

8h37m GTE Pro: The third-placed Porsche pits to allow Richard Lietz to hand over to Marc Lieb.

The #92 machine remains third, behind Rob Bell's #99 Aston Martin. That's eight stops in the bag.

8h38m GTE Pro: Richard Lietz - "Aston Martin are doing triple stints, so we have to do the same thing. It's the only option."

8h38m LMP2: Quick lap there from Turvey in the #38 Jota Zytek. He's now just four seconds behind Mardenborough in the class-third Greaves #42.

8h39m LMP1: In comes Kristensen; out goes Kristensen. 12th stop of the race for the #2 Audi.

8h41m GTE Am: American actor Patrick Dempsey clambers into the #77 Dempsey Del Piero-Proton Porsche, currently second in class.

8h42m LMP2: Pla in #24 flashes past the pits with a gap of just over two minutes to the class-leading #35.

8h43m LMP1: Sarrazin and di Grassi pit for Totota and Audi respectively. They were second and fourth on the road.

Darryl O'Young Le Mans 20138h44m GTE Am: And speaking of the Am class, previous leader Darryl O'Young is now flying. He's now just 26s behind Dempsey, after setting a new race-best of 4m01.661s. He's gone fastest in the first sector next time round too.

8h45m LMP2: Turvey pushing on Mardenborough now as the pair both set fastest sector times in that scrap over third in P2. #38 is quicker through the middle part of the lap, closing the gap even further.

8h47m GTE Pro: Despite Lietz's spin, Pro is still mighty close. Lieb, now in the #92 car, is within 48s of leader Rob Bell, with Darren Turner roughly halfway between the pair.

8h47m LMP2: Another spin for the KCMG #47 as Imperatori loops it around again. He resumes, 18th overall.

8h47m LMP1: Reports of Kristensen suffering vibration in the #2 Audi.

8h50m LMP2: Pit action at Oreca as the #46 and #26, running 12th and 13th overall, drop in for a tank of fuel.

8h51m LMP1: Nakajima is very, very close to Sarrazin now - he's pressuring for second.

8h52m GTE Pro: Bit of a case of 'what might have been' for Corvette. After struggling to understand its qualifying deficit, getting caught out by the early safety car split and then a few offs, the #74 C6.R is two laps down but running at the same pace as the class-leading Aston. Good stuff from Tommy Milner.

8h52m LMP2: More smoke from the #33 HPD as a blaze erupts again during Briscoe's latest stop. There's little concern in that camp though and he's down and away.

8h54m GTE Am: Yellow flags at Porsche Curves - the Krohn Ferrari is stopped and looks like it is backwards in the wall.

8h54m Safety car(s) deployed.

8h58m This is our fifth safety car of the race. The #57 is indeed backwards in the wall in the second part of the Porsche Curves. Marshals now streaming out to recover it.

9h00m LMP2: Opportunistic stop for the class leader as Baguette in #35 refuels and resumes behind a safety car train.

9h01m LMP1: Kristensen, the race leader, is right behind the two Toyotas on track. We thought the #7 and #8 cars might be let go, the safety picking up the #1 Audi, but it hasn't happened.

9h08m Safety car lights are going out on this lap.

9h09m LMP1: The big question is whether TK can put the Toyotas a lap down to create a safety margin for what is now perhaps a one-car bid for victory by Audi.

9h10m Green flag and the race is on again as the pack thunders past the pits.

9h12m LMP1: Just a couple of seconds between the pair of Toyotas as they continue to keep the pressure on the Audi squad.

Toyota WEC Le Mans 20139h13m LMP1: It's Toyota, Toyota, Audi across the line. Sarrazin, Nakajima and then Kristensen bidding for that one-lap safety margin.

9h14m Jean Todt is in race control. You wouldn't have caught the FIA president in there 25 or so years ago. Jean-Marie Balestre would have been shown the door.

9h16m GTE Am: A stop for the #88 Proton Porsche puts Patrick Dempsey in the #77 up into the class lead.

9h16m LMP1: TK pumps in a 3m26, Sarrazin a 27 and Nakajima lags behind on a 3m31.

9h17m GTE Pro: More bad luck for the #73 Corvette, which once again gets stuck behind the second safety car and loses ground. Antonio Garcia has just taken over from Jan Magnussen.

9h19m GTE Pro: The opposite is true of Rob Bell in the lead #99 Aston Martin, whose lead has stretched to just over two minutes following that safety car.

9h19m LMP1: Nakajima is now a lap down on the leader.

9h23m LMP1: TK pits out of the lead and Nakajima follows him in.

Le Mans 20139h23m GTE Pro: Second changes hands, as Marc Lieb demotes Darren Turner.

9h25m GTE Pro: The #93 has been handed a 30-second stop and go penalty for a pit light infringement (or Article 82 for those in the know). It was the first car waiting in the pitlane during that safety car period.

9h29m LMP1: Sarrazin is pumping in the times a couple of laps away from his next stop.

9h30m LMP1: Now he's in, a lap or so early. That was only 11 laps, despite the safety car.

9h30m GTE Am: Patrick Dempsey, now free of an embarrassing photographer pitlane scrum, is circulating in the 4m10s, just a few seconds slower than class leader Gianluca Roda. Dempsey is currently second in class.

9h34m LMP2: Plenty of pace in the #46 TDS Oreca as Maxime Martin presses on. He's closing down Mike Conway in the G-Drive #26.

9h36m LMP2: Yellows out again as #34 takes to the gravel at the Mulsanne corner. Patric Niederhauser had just set two quick sectors before that off.

9h37m GTE AM: Leader Roda is in the gravel at the Esses. Dempsey takes the sister Proton car into the lead.

9h39m GTE Am: Roda well and truly beached, but the snatch vehicle is at least on scene.

9h39m LMP1: As that happened, the #3 and #1 Audis have dived into the pits for standard stops. Lucas di Grassi and Marcel Fassler at the respective wheels.

9h41m LMP2: After his off at Arnage, Niederhauser is now reported to be slow through the Porsche Curves.

9h42m LMP1: Kristensen is slowly pulling away from Sarrazin, who's one lap down of course. He's lapping in the 3m29s whereas the Toyota is around the 3m32 mark.

9h42m GTE Pro: Rob Bell has been able to pit in the #99 Aston Martin and return in the lead, 21 seconds ahead of Darren Turner in the sister #97 machine.

9h45m GTE Pro: Turner heads into the pits for his ninth stop, putting him on the same cycle as leader Bell and the #92 Manthey Porsche currently being driven by Lieb.

9h45m Oil being reported at the Porsche Curves.

9h47m GTE Am: Jean-Karl Vernay had closed to within 14 seconds of Patrick Dempsey, but then dives into the pits. The American now has a 30s advantage over the second-place #55 AF Corse Ferrari.

9h47m LMP2: Leader Gonzalez is into the pits.

9h49m LMP1: The #13 Rebellion Toyota has been handed a 30-second pitlane speeding penalty. Belicchi is two laps up on the Strakka car, so he will retain the lead of the privateer ranks when he takes his punishment.

9h51m LMP2: Pla is now within 40 seconds of OAK Racing team-mate Gonzalez, though he is due a pitstop in the next few laps.

9h55m GTE Pro: Second-placed Turner has taken a trip through the gravel at Mulsanne Corner. That has reduced his lead to just under half a second over Lieb.

9h58m GTE Pro: Lieb moves past DT for second in class, but he's still a minute behind the leading Aston in Rob Bell's hands.

9h59m LMP1: TK brings the leading Audi into the pits. Fuel only - he's just starting the final leg of a quintuple stint.

10h03m LMP2: The lead enjoyed by Gonzalez is slowly being eroded by Pla, but not dramatically. The Mexican is putting in a pretty tidy performance.

10h04m LMP2: Now Pla pits to bring the end to an impressive quadruple stint. Brundle climbs in.

10h07m LMP1: Nakajima pits and Lapierre climbs aboard. Nakajima couldn't match Sarrazin's pace; wonder what Lapierre will manage.

10h10m LMP1: Now the other Toyota is in, following the #3 Audi down the pitlane. Davidson gets in - the Toyota that is. Di Grassi only got a dump of fuel.

10h19m LMP1: Lapierre has got the hammer down. He pumps in a 3m29s faster than any of LMP1 car bar one — that's the #1 Audi in the hands of Fassler.

Le Mans 201310h20m GTE Am: Jean-Karl Vernay has now deposed Patrick Dempsey in the fight for class lead, although he is on a different pitstop cycle, having only made nine stops to Dempsey's 10.

10h22m GTE Am: Speaking of Dempsey, he's just spun at the start of the Dunlop Esses, and rejoined in third.

10h23m GTE Pro: Slight delay in the pits for the #98 Aston Martin, currently seventh - the fiddle of changing wiper blades to blame.

10h24m LMP2: The G-Drive/Delta-ADR ORECA is in the hits for a driver change, Conway to Rusinov. The car is fourth in class after its earlier delay.

10h25m GTE Am: Yellow flags down at the exit of the Porsche Curves - its the #70 Corvette being driven by Cooper MacNeil, who has nosed into the wall on the outside.

10h28m GTE Am: Not the most dignified of exits - seems MacNeil can't locate reverse - but he's eventually back underway.

10h30m LMP1: Belicchi pits from fifth in the lead Rebellion Lola.

Le Mans 201310h32m LMP2: Gonzalez has just pitted out of the lead; his margin to OAK team-mate Brundle is down to half a minute.

10h32m GTE Pro: Darren Turner closing in on the #92 Manthey Porsche in a battle that has raged pretty much all race. Lieb responds by setting a new personal best in the middle sector.

10h33m GTE Am: Smoky scenes down at the #70 Corvette garage, which is reportedly down to a clutch issue. Doesn't look like a quick fix...

10h34m Yellow flags down at Mulsanne Corner...

10h35m GTE Am: ...and its for Vicente Potolicchio in the #81 8 Star Ferrari, which is beached in the gravel.

10h35m LMP1: Leader TK is in the pits at the end of another 10-lap stint. Nishy climbs aboard and gets a new set of tyres.

10h37m GTE Am: The #57 Krohn Ferrari becomes the fourth official retirement of this year's race.

10h38m GTE Am: Meanwhile Dempsey is reporting that his #77 Porsche 911 is pulling to left under braking, and also that its telemetry is broken.

10h38m GTE Pro: Routine stop for Lieb in the second-place #92 Manthey Porsche. Darren Turner slides by and into second.

10h39m GTE Pro: The #66 JMW squad's recent stop is under investigation - not sure why though.

10h42m GTE Am: Jean-Karl Vernay pits, exits and retains the class lead in the #76 Imsa Porsche.

10h42m LMP2: Brundle is lapping significantly quicker than Gonzalez in the internecine OAK battle. The gap is down from over half a minute to 22 seconds.

10h44m LMP1: Lapierre is on the move two - he's brought the gap to Davidson down to 21 seconds. It was up nearer 30 a few laps back.

Le Mans 201310h44m GTE Pro: Looks like Turner's LED door square has stopped working, which could mean he has to stop for the team to fix it. There's certainly precedent for such a decision.

10h48m GTE Pro: Bergmeister is putting in some decent laps in the #91 factory Porsche. He's a lap down on the class leaders, but he's matching their pace.

10h50m GTE Pro: Make that some very decent laps - he's just done a 3m56.8. The Corvette drivers would have been over the moon to have done a lap like that in qualifying.

10h54m LMP1: Davidson and Lapierre have both made pitstops and the gap is now 17 seconds.

10h58m LMP1: Lotterer is the fastest man on the circuit, as you would expect. He's doing 3m27s or 28s, while McNish is well above the 3m30 mark.

Le Mans 201311h03m LMP2: Fast man in class is Brendon Hartley in the Murphy Prototypes ORECA. The Kiwi is down in 12th, six laps of the lead after earlier delays.

11h04m LMP1: Lapierre is still inching towards Davo - the gap is down to 13 seconds now.

11h07m GTE Pro: The Lieb versus Turner battle is still raging. They turned almost identical lap times last time around, both faster than leader Bell. Mind you, Bergmeister is still setting the pace in class.

11h12m LMP1: Leader McNish is in the pits bang on 10 laps after climbing aboard. Just fuel for the wee Scot.

11h14m LMP2: Gonzalez is in to change over to Plowman. He was a shade over a minute ahead of Brundle, which means the gap between the two OAK Morgans has come down from 1m30 a couple of stints ago.

11h17m GTE Pro: Stop and go penalty for the #66 JMW Ferrari for a pitstop infringement.

11h20m Big shunt in the Porsche Curves. Tony Burgess has gone off in the Status Lola LMP2 and ripped off the back of the car.

11h21m LMP2: Good news: Burgess is out of the smoldering wreck and walking away.

11h23m LMP1: Bad news for Lapierre - he's in a different safety car to Davidson so all his hard work has been done. That's sportscar racing.

11h27m LMP2: Confirmation that Brundle did jump Plowman during the latter's stop - the #24 OAK now leads its sister #35 Morgan-Nissan by 12 seconds.

Le Mans 201311h28m LMP2: Burgess's Status Lola has been loaded onto the back of the rescue vehicle, but a second trip is needed to recover the rear axle and gearbox after that massive impact.

11h32m LMP1: Anthony Davidson pits in the third-place #7 Toyota. He's followed in by Audi's Oliver Jarvis, currently fourth.

11h35m This sixth safety car period will end this lap, organisers confirm.

11h39m The lights go out on the safety cars, and we're moments away from a restart...

11h40m LMP2: And just as we type that, the #33 Level 5 HPD is in trouble at the end of the pitlane. A huge pall of smoke billows from the rear as Marino Franchitti tries to find the gas.

11h40m Safety cars dive in, and we're back racing.

11h41m LMP1: Lapierre is right on McNish's tail. You might think he has a chance to unlap himself, but he's actually due a pitstop.

11h44m GTE Pro: The safety car has stretched Bell's lead a bit; it's back out to 1m20.

11h44m LMP2: Ditto LMP2. Plowman leads Brundle by 1m40s.

11h45m LMP1: Lotterer has clawed back one of the #1 Audi's lost laps. McNish has just let him past.

11h48m LMP1: Jarvis passes Davidson - that's an unlapping move of sorts that could be significant come 3pm this afternoon.

11h49m LMP1: Lapierre has made that pitstop he was due - a quick in-and-out for fuel.

Le Mans 201311h51m GTE Pro: We have a new class leader - Marc Lieb takes over at the front, but only after Bell handed over to Makowiecki in the #99 Aston Martin.

11h54m GTE Pro: And as we write that, there's another shift - Lieb pits and Turner now leads, three seconds ahead of Makowiecki, who has made an extra stop.

11h56m LMP1: Lapierre now trails Davidson by a minute - remember Davo made his stop under yellows.

11h57m GTE Pro: Turner pits and hands over to Mucke. He leaves the pits just as it flashes up on the timing screens that Aston will have to fix the number on the driver's side. It has somehow peeled itself off.

12h02m LMP1: Lotterer bangs in the fastest lap of the race on a 3m22.746s.

12h03m LMP1: Davo is edging away from Lapierre - the gap is now up to a minute and four seconds.

Le Mans 201312h06m Another safety car, the #54 AF car has had an off.

12h07m LMP1: Nish pits and takes tyres this time. Audi has got time to play with.

12h09m LMP1: A bit of a hold at the end of the pitlane for our race leader, though.

12h11m GTE Pro: AMR hasn't taken advantage of the safety car to bring Mucke in for attention to that peeling decal. Maybe someone is arguing the toss somewhere. Bet they can do it quicker than AUTOSPORT sportscar reporter Gary Watkins. You ought to see his attempts to put the numbers on his VW Golf.

12h15m GTE Pro: We reckon AMR are reading AUTOSPORT.com Le Mans Live - Mucke has just come in for his unscheduled stop for a bit of stickerage. No call to the press room to bring in Gary Watkins to help.

12h18m More barrier repairs are going on in the Esses where the Ferrari went off. The yellows flags could be around for some time.

12h21m LMP2: Tony Burgess is okay, but he's been taken, via the circuit medical centre, to hospital for tests.

12h26m Organisers estimate barrier repairs will take around 30-40 minutes.

12h35m Plenty of damage to the barriers between the Dunlop Esses and Tertre Rouge, hence this lengthy safety car spell - the seventh of this race.

12h35m Very disjointed so far.

12h39m We're 30 minutes past half-distance. So, if you're just joining us - or if you want to recap anything - here's what's happened in the last six hours:

Hour 7: Leading Audi hits trouble

Hour 8: Kristensen leads under caution

Hour 9: Toyota on verge of slipping one lap down

Hour 10: Kristensen takes command

Hour 11: Allan McNish keeps Audi in control

Hour 12: Audi in control at half distance

We also had the tragic news that Allan Simonsen died from injuries sustained in his heavy crash early into the race.

You can read AUTOSPORT's tribute here

12h40m Rain is now being reported down between Mulsanne and Indianapolis.

12h43m LMP1: Confirmation that Toyota has moved back onto the lead lap, although both cars are more than three minutes down on leader Allan McNish.

12h45m GTE Am: More bad news for the #70 Corvette squad - Philippe Dumas has gone off at the first Mulsanne Chicane.

12h46m GTE Pro: Frederick Makowiecki pits in the class-leading #99 Aston. Looks like a brake service as the team seeks to capitalise on this safety car period.

12h48m LMP1: Slight but continuous drizzle in the pitlane, according to Toyota. We're nearing the 45th minute of this safety car period.

Le Mans 201312h50m GTE Am: We have another car stopped on track - this time its the #55 AF Corse Ferrari that was third in class. Piergiuseppe Perazzini was reported to have halted, but has got going once more.

12h56m Safety car in this lap.

12h56m Although organisers are urging caution due to wet conditions at the restart.

12h59m It's chucking it down - the proper stuff this time. The Toyotas have been in, no news yet on the tyres they've taken.

13h00m The safety car period has been extended because of the rain. We've no quibble with that. Today is not the time to take risks.

13h03m LMP1: McNish in early, Duval gets in. Tyres would have motivated that stop. #3 comes in to (on schedule) and #1. Wets appear to be the order of the day or rather night.

13h05m LMP1: Apologies, Lapeierre hadn't pitted, but he is in now.

13h06m The safety cars (there are three of them, remember) are about to come in.

13h08m Looks pretty grotty out there. We're wondering if anyone has gambled on inters.

13h10m Go, go, go - we're green!

Le Mans 201313h17m LMP2: Ho-Pin Tung is wheeled back into the KCMG garage. He was running ninth in class.

13h19m LMP1: Oliver Jarvis runs off track briefly as he fights his way through traffic.

13h21m Track temperature has now dropped below 13 degrees for the first time.

13h25m LMP2: Ludovic Badey spins in the #46 TDS ORECA-Nissan at the first Mulsanne chicane, but is able to continue.

13h34m GTE Pro: During that last safety car, and the cycle of pit stops, Makowiecki has lost around 80 seconds to the now-leading #92 Manthey Porsche.

13h34m GTE Am: The #67 Imsa Porsche looks like it takes on slicks in the pits.

13h35m LMP1: Lotterer, now back to eighth overall, is reportedly suffering with windscreen wiper problems in the #1 Audi R18.

13h37m GTE Pro: Stefan Mucke in the #97 Aston Martin pits for slicks now. He loses time in the first second sector, but makes it up in the second and third.

13h37m LMP2: Stephane Raffin runs straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane but continues.

13h38m GTE Pro: And now both Dumas in the lead and Makowiecki in second head for the pits.

13h41m LMP2: Brundle has edged the #24 OAK Morgan-Nissan 5.5s clear of fellow Brit Martin Plowman in the similar #35 car, though the former still has another stop to make.

13h43m LMP1: Sebastien Buemi chipping away at Loic Duval's lead gap - he's consistently a handful of seconds faster in these cold conditions. Duval is also due to stop before the ex-F1 racer. What chance of a lead change?

13h43m LMP2: The #40 Boutsen Ginion car gets wheeled into the garage. That car was 43rd overall.

13h43m LMP2: And the #40 rejoins. That was quick.

13h44m LMP1: Incidentally, Duval has led without interruption since the seventh hour, when the #1 Audi R18 was hit by alternator woes.

13h45m GTE Am: Perazzini, second in class in the #55 AF Corse Ferrari, runs straight on at the second Mulsanne Chicane.

13h46m GTE Pro: Patrick Pilet pits in the Manthey Porsche, switching to slicks - making it three of the top four cars in the category on dry tyres.

13h47m GTE Am: Darryl O'Young takes over from Perazzini in the #55 Ferrari.

13h49m LMP2: The #24 OAK car pits from the lead, so Brundle hands first place to the team's #35 machine.

13h50m LMP1: Duval pits from the lead, but he's able to return with his lead intact even before Buemi, in the chasing #8 Toyota, follows him in.

Toyota WEC Le Mans 201313h53m LMP1: Lapierre now just over one minute behind Duval, although he's due to pit shortly. Buemi, on the same sequence as Duval, is a further 60s down the road.

13h54m LMP2: Now it's the turn of the #35 OAK to pit - a gain of 12s in the pitlane alone, and they retain the lead. Before, they were handing it back to the #24.

13h56m LMP1: Slight delay in the pitlane for the #7 Toyota, but its back out now.

13h57m GTE Am: Raymond Narac pits in the class-leading #76 Imsa Porsche. He still has almost one lap over the chasing pack, now led by WTCC regular Darryl O'Young in the #55 Ferrari.

13h58m GTE Pro: Nip and tuck for laptime in the battle for the lead between Dumas in the #92 Manthey Porsche and Makowiecki in the #99 Aston.

What is a bit more substantial there is the 1m23s separating the two. 'Mako' will need a sterling stint to regain that, short of a Dumas error.

13h59m LMP1: Problems for the #12 Rebellion Lola, which is being rolled into the garage. Neel Jani is currently driving - or not as it may be.

14h03m LMP2: Matthew Howson in the #47 KCMG Morgan-Nissan spins at the first Mulsanne chicane but continues.

14h03m LMP1: Jonny Kane meanwhile spins into the gravel entering the pits, but is soon able to extricate himself and head down to his waiting crew.

14h05m
LMP2: ...As one of our member expresses his incredulity at another spin for Romain Brandela in the #39 DKR. He's back going now, in 48th place - that's last but one of the runners.

14h07m LMP2: Brandela, recovering from his error, then causes a worrying off for the #55 and #88 GTE Am cars - that's the second-placed AF Ferrari and the Proton Porsche - on the run from Dunlop to Tertre Rouge.

The Porsche, which was fourth in class, is in the gravel, and so is the Ferrari.

14h07m LMP2: ...And as we type that, the incident comes under investigation.

14h10m LMP2: Quite unbelievable driving from Brandela. That's about the 15th time he's spun or hit someone in this race.

14h11m LMP1: The race is heading right back towards Camp Audi. After the heroics of the Toyotas in the wet, Duval is now lapping consistently in the 3m30s while the Japanese machines are in the 3m37s and dropping back.

14h13m GTE Am: The #88 Porsche of Paolo Ruberti is back in the race, having got going again after being taken behind the wall.

Ruberti is now ninth in class and will certainly lose even more time by pitting at the end of the lap. What a shame for the Italian, who had driven brilliantly in this race.

14h13m GTE Pro: The #99 Aston Martin is making inroads into the lead of the #92 Manthey Porsche - he's been quicker by at 1.5s the last three laps.

14h14m LMP2: For goodness sake. Brandela exits the pits after about a five-minute check.

His first act? Doin his best to run Buemi's Toyota clean off the road at the Dunlop chicane. Rubbish. Just rubbish.

14h16m LMP2: This is getting stupid now. Brandela gets as far as the first Mulsanne chicane.... and goes straight on.

The DKR squad needs to get him back in the pits and out of the car NOW!

14h18m LMP2: Duval is properly ekeing out his advantage now. His last lap was a 3m28.1s while Buemi and Wurz were in the 3m33s and 3m35s respectively.

14h21m LMP2: At the sharper end of LMP2, Pla is gaining on Plowman. A lap in traffic put the gap back up over 10s but the class polesitter is now just 6.6s behind.

14h23m LMP1: More problems for the #1 Audi of Lotterer. Running eighth - and last of the LMP1 machines - the R18 has been wheeled back into the garage after a few futile efforts to recharge... something in the pit stall.

14h24m GTE Pro: Tommy Kendall in the #93 SRT Viper is in the gravel at Mulsanne Corner. It's being treated with localised yellows.

14h25m GTE Am: The #88 Proton Porsche is in the pits now having repairs made to its front. That's the car that was Brandelad earlier.

14h27m GTE Pro: Stefan Mucke pits the #97 Aston from third.

14h28m LMP1: Duval stops again in the leading #2 Audi and rejoins still leading. His advantage is down to 1m33s. That's his 20th stop whereas the Toyotas have made 17 each.

14h29m GTE Pro: Mucke rejoins right ahead of the class-leading Manthey Porsche, and is passed on the the run down to Indianapolis. While Dumas in the #92 is yet to stop, the Aston is now a lap down.

14h29m GTE Pro: The #93 Viper of Tommy Kendall is driving around slowly with a left-rear puncture.

14h30m LMP2: The battle for the lead rages between Plowman and Pla, with less than a second covering the pair of OAK cars.

14h31m LMP1: Buemi pits for the 18th time from second and that will ensure that Duval's advantage goes back up by a minute or so.

14h34m
LMP2: Pla pits in the #24 OAK car, so the lead battle ends - on track, at least - for now as the #35 (pictured) pulls clear.

14h35m The #55 Darryl O'Young AF Corse Ferrari didn't lose too much time with that Brandela-ing. He still has a minute in hand over Matt Griffin in the sister #61 machine and is lapping only about a second slower.

14h36m GTE Pro: Makowiecki pits, interrupting his chase of the #92 Manthey Porsche - which now has Richard Lietz at the wheel.

Before that stop, he'd brought the gap down to almost a minute - a gain of 20-odd seconds - in about half an hour.

14h37m LMP2: Plowman makes his stop in the #35 OAK car...Baguette steps in, and Pla is though and into the lead!

14h38m GTE Pro: Romain Dumas: "In the wet or the damp is the only conditions in which we can catch the Astons. In the dry they are much faster."

14h43m GTE Pro: As Senna takes over the #99 car - further in arrears after the stop - Mucke in the #97 has Pilet in the #91 Manthey Porsche for company. There's just half a second between that scrap for third.

14h47m LMP2: Pla's lead in the #24 OAK is now 34s - and he's still lapping quicker than Baguette. It looks like that #35 has a pitstop in hand, though.

14h53m GTE Am: The class-leading #76 Imsa Porsche of Raymond Narac is in for fuel. His last lap - complete with pit entry time loss - was the same as second-placed Darryl O'Young in the #55 Ferrari.

O'Young had a brief off on that lap, which he may wel be cursing himself for.

14h54m Here's how many cars remain in the race in the various classes..

LMP1: 8 (everyone still running)
LMP2: 18 (4 retirements)
GTE Pro: 12 (everyone still running)
GTE Am: 10 (4 retirements)

14h58m LMP2: Lucas Luhr has been off at the Esses before Tertre Rouge and is now crawling back towards the pits very slowly.

The #38 Jota Zytek-Nissan driver still, for the moment, holds third in the class, but with only a 1m20s lead over fourth-placed Michael Krumm, he's bound to drop back by the end of this lap.

He could well find himself back to about sixth very shortly.

14h59m LMP1: Marc Gene has had a moment at the second Mulsanne chicane; the Spaniard straight-lining it and losing himself a handful of seconds.

15h04m LMP2: Luhr has made it back to the pits, having dropped back to fifth. The front-right tyre is very askew. This will drop the car further down the order as Simon Dolan is instructed not to get in the car yet.

15h06m LMP2: Matt Howson goes off at the same place that Luhr had done recently. He takes a bit of a trip through the gravel before rejoining the circuit; the driver of the #47 KCMG Morgan-Nissan 12th in class.

15h08m
The desks here in the Le Mans press room have lockable drawers to keep your laptops/overalls etc in.

We opened ours and found this... Yuk!

Sam Tremayne informs us that AUTOSPORT had these very same desks last year. Not pointing any fingers, but....

15h14m GTE Am: The #75 ProSpeed Porsche of Emmanuel Collard enters the pit with a puncture.

15h15m LMP2: Mardenborough runs straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane - not long after a minor mistake at the Ford esses- he's third in the #42 Greaves car.

15h17m LMP2: The #33 Level 5 HPD, in the pits with Marino Franchitti handing over to Scott Tucker, is on fire in the pitlane. It's not the first time - though on this occasion there's a much bigger burst of flames - and as before, it pulls out to rejoin the track.

15h20m LMP2: Bertrand Baguette pits the #35 OAK car to hand the lead back to the team's other Morgan-Nissan - the #24 in the hands of Pla.

15h24m LMP2: Marino Franchitti on the fire-happy #33 Level 5 HPD: "It's definitely affected the car's driveability. The balance has not been ideal. Ryan [Briscoe] seems to be able to deal with a little bit better. With all the setbacks we've had I'm just happy we're still in there."

15h26m LMP1: Audi's advantage at the front is 3m15s as Duval continues his charge. Buemi cannot get within 3s of the #2 Audi's time on each lap and the second Toyota - the #7 of Wurz - is not just 2m15s clear of Gene in the #3 Audi.

15h28m LMP2: At Mulsanne Corner, Brandela is off yet AGAIN in the #39 DKR Lola-Judd.

15h30m LMP1: Benoit Treluyer is lapping faster than anyone - 3m24.174s the last effort - and you'd have fancied him to move further forward had Jonny Kane's own pace in the Strakka HPD not been quite as impressive.

Kane's been steadily lowering the #21 car's pace and his last lap, a personal best, was 3m30.88s - quicker than the #3 Audi and the #12 Rebellion.

15h31m LMP1: Gene's likely to need to pit soon in the #3 Audi but for the time being he's just one minute now behind Wurz in the #7 Toyota.

15h33m GTE Am: The #70 Larbre Chevrolet Corvette - last of the runners - is not having a good tme of it. Rodrigues spins again - he was a regular offender in his first stint - this time on the exit of the Porsche Curves.

15h36m LMP2: The #32 Lotus-Praga runs wide at Mulsanne Corner and goes deep into the gravel. Dominik Kraihamer's in the car. It's being towed by a tractor at the moment.

15h36m LMP1: The 22nd stop of the race for the #2 Audi.

15h38m LMP2: Mike Conway's on it in the #26 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan. Two best times of the race for that car in a row is impressive, but it's a long way behind the third-placed #42 Greaves car.

15h40m GTE Pro: Unseen by us, class leader Richard Lietz has lost around 90 seconds in the pits after stopping last time around.

That's dropped the #92 Porsche 45s behind the #99 Aston Martin, which had a trip through the gravel at Indianapolis a lap earlier with Frederic Makowiecki at the wheel, and is now driven by Bruno Senna.

15h43m
GTE Pro: News from the pits is that the #92 Porsche had a brake-disc change at that last stop. That's how he lost the time.

15h46m GTE Am: Matt Griffin has brought the #61 AF Corse Ferrari - which led the class for the first four hours, remember - back up to second. He's 52s ahead of the #55, which is now driven by Lorenzo Case, but has made one less stop.

15h47m LMP1: The #13 Rebellion Lola-Toyota of Mathias Beche has a loose engine cover. That will almost certainly necessitate an extra pitstop to avoid a technical penalty.

15h53m GTE Am: The picture has changed again in the fight for the podium spots. Leader Narac has just pitted again to hand over to #76 Imsa Porsche's fastest driver; Jean-Karl Vernay.

The #61 Ferrari has been back into the pits with Matt Griffin handing over to Jack Gerber.

That's dropped it to fourth, behind team-mate Lorenzo Case in the #55 AF Corse machine, while Pat Long has recovered to third in the #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche.

15h54m LMP2: Rodin Younessi, 16th in class, has been given a 30s stop/go penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

15h57m LMP2: Jann Mardenborough, third in category, rejoins the track after another stop for the #42 Greaves Zytek-Nissan.

He's now just 14s ahead of fourth-placed Mike Conway. A Great battle is in store for the final podium spot in the class.

15h58m LMP2: Not for the first time in the race, the #32 Lotus-Praga, now being driven by Thomas Holzer, is being reported as having a door open.

16h01m LMP1: Benoit Treluyer is now only 2m25s behind seventh-placed Nick Leventis, and is lapping around 15s faster than the Strakka HPD.

Remember, every position is crucial in the race for the FIA World Endurance Championship and with Le Mans counting for double points, the #1 Audi crew can ill afford to lose ground to their rivals.

16h07m GTE Pro: Senna has been into the pits in the #99 Aston Martin and has fallen from first to third. Lietz is back in the lead in the #92 Porsche with Peter Dumbreck third in the #97 Aston.

Senna should get the lead back once the other two make their next stops, but with Lietz off-sequence, this could get interesting...

16h11m GTE Am: A spin for the third-placed #61 AF Corse Ferrari of Jack Gerber, and not for the first time today either.

That will allow the #77 Dempsey Del Piero Porsche, now being driven by team owner Patrick Dempsey, to close in.

16h13m LMP1: Leader Duval makes his 23rd stop and hands his car over to Tom Kristensen. His lead is well and truly intact.

16h14m LMP2: The #41 Greaves car is suffering from suspension damage and Tom Kimber-Smith is limping the car back to the pits.

16h17m GTE Pro: Senna, third on the road, is the fastest of the lead trio in the #99 Aston Martin. He's nine seconds behind Dumbreck in the #97 Vantage - having made a stop more than the sister car.

16h19m LMP1: Lucas di Grassi pits in the #3 Audi. That car is steadily working its way towards a podium spot and will soon be challenging the #7 Toyota.

16h21m LMP2: Kimber-Smith finally gets the hobbled #41 car back to the pits.

16h22m LMP1: Buemi comes up to lap Wurz but loses a bit of time at Tertre Rouge as they both catch a slower GTE Pro car.

16h26m
LMP1: Slow stop for Jani in the #12 Rebellion-Lola, which spent three minutes in the pits.

16h28m LMP1: Pla leads Baguette by 28.8s in LMP2 but is very much out of sequence in terms of pitting as he's yet to make stop number 21.

16h29m LMP1: Sarrazin takes over from Buemi and a tyre change for the #8 Toyota too.

16h32m LMP1: Yowza! Benoit Treluyer squeezes himself into a tiny gap between Mark Patterson's #48 Murphy ORECA and Sarrazin's #8 Toyota out of Tertre Rouge and nicks a lap back from both. It was close though, the Frenchman just inches away from a nasty accident.

16h33m LMP1: Treluyer has made it past Nick Leventis' Strakka HPD over the past few laps and is now 30s ahead of the Brit.

16h33m A warning to all drivers about respecting the track limits on the exit of the first Mulsanne chicane.

16h41m LMP2: The #45 OAK - that's Jacques Nicolet at the wheel - is limping round, and he seems to be have issues controlling it at low speed.

16h41m LMP1: Treluyer pits in the #1 Audi.

16h43m LMP2: Bertrand Baguette pits the #35 OAK car from the lead.

16h44m GTE Pro: Meanwhile, Senna's lead for Aston Martin remains 36s. Dumbreck's third for the British manufacturer.

16h45m LMP2: #33 in yet another big burst of flames as it rests outside the garage during its stop.

16h45m LMP2: The hobbled #45 is put on the trolleys and wheeled into the garage.

16h47m LMP2: ...Meanwhile the previously hobbled #41 Kimber-Smith car is back on circuit.

16h47m LMP1: Tom Kristensen pits from the lead.

16h52m
LMP2: The #46 TDS-ORECA is getting a nose change in the garage.

16h53m LMP1: Wurz pits in the #7 Toyota.

16h54m LMP1: And di Grassi brings in the #3 Audi.

16h56m LMP1: di Grassi stops in the wrong box and loses a few seconds as he's pushed back.

17h05m GTE Pro: A problem for the #98 Aston Martin. Bill Auberlen is coasting out of Mulsanne Corner.

17h07m Safety car(s) deployed, the #98 Aston is parked.

17h08m Most cars are carrying battle scars as we complete 17 hours at Le Mans. That Aston problem is the eighth retirement - here's a reminder of the seven other unfortunate cars - spanning LMP2 and GTE Am - so far:

LMP2:
#30 HVM Status Lola-Judd
#25 Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan
#28 Gulf Lola-Nissan
#31 Lotus-Praga

GTE Am:
#54 AF Ferrari
#57 Krohn Ferrari
#95 Aston Martin

17h09m That safety car is indeed down to oil on track at the entry to the second Mulsanne chicane.

17h10m LMP1: The #8 Toyota is in the pits - they make the most of the enforced delay at the end of the pitlane to change the tyres. Unfortunately, they miss the light at the end turning green...could that be crucial?

17h11m GTE Pro: On the other side of the coin, Senna and Aston Martin are big beneficiaries of that. As is Dumbreck. They both close right up to Lietz's Porsche despite already stopping.

17h13m LMP1: A big loss to Sarrazin in the pits. More than three minutes.

17h13m
If you've just got up, here's a recap of what's gone on at Le Mans over the past hour, for your reading pleasure.

17h25m LMP1: Neel Jani's #12 Rebellion Lola is still in the pits with plenty of bits that are supposed to be on the car, erm, not on the car.

Jani has now dropped behind Fassler's Audi and Kane's Strakka HPD.

17h28m Light rain is beginning to fall around the area of the Dunlop chicane. Could this throw a spanner in the works?

17h32m Safety car will pit this lap.

17h34m There's a lot of water off-line as the field runs down to the second Mulsanne chicane.

17h36m Green flag, and we're racing again!

17h38m LMP1: A lot of damage to the front of the #13 Rebellion. Coming out of the second Mulsanne chicane Belicchi snakes out of control and noses the barriers hard.

17h38m LMP1: Belicchi nurses the damage Rebellion back to the pits.

17h39m Safety car for the debris at the second Mulsanne chicane.

17h39m That didn't last long at all, did it?

17h42m The damaged #13 Rebellion Lola returns to the garage.

17h43m LMP2: As Belicchi was crashing, there as an incident at the Dunlop chicane between Simon Dolan's #38 eighth-placed Jota Zytek-Nissan and the #75 GTE Am ProSpeed Porsche of Sebastien Crubile.

17h44m GTE Pro: We didn't see the start of it, but the former class-leading #92 Porsche has had a spin at the Dunlop chicane just one corner after the last safety car had pitted.

He's now down to fourth in class with Timo Bernhard in the sister #91 machine and Peter Dumbreck's #97 Aston Martin having gone by.

17h49m LMP1: The safety car looks likely to be out for some time as safety crews work to repair the barriers where Belicchi crashed.

17h52m LMP2: Class leader Baguette is in the pits for fuel and a tyre change.

17h57m A spin under the safety car - if we gave you three guesses which car, would you need all three?

Stephane Raffin drops the #39 DKR Lola in the middle of the second Mulsanne chicane - where the barrier repair is taking place just on the exit.

If there's one place you shouldn't be pushing, or driving hard, it's there. But on the bright side, at least this time it wasn't Brandela.

17h58m Talking of that barrier repair, AUTOSPORT has just learned that more than 50 individual guard rails have now been replaced at Le Mans this week.

That's a lot of work for the handymen of Le Mans, to whom we salute. Thanks to WEC PR guru Fiona Miller for that snippet!

18h02m Weather update: The light rain which had been falling at the Dunlop chicane has now gone.

18h05m LMP1: Alexander Wurz brings the #7 Toyota into the pits, which is then stopped at the end of the pitlane.

18h06m LMP1: Kazuki Nakajima has taken over the Austrian in the #7, by the way.

18h09m
Here's what the fight for the lead looks like right now.

Not that interesting really.

18h09m That said, the safety cars are in this lap.

18h10m A flurry of pit action as that happens, including the #2 Audi of Tom Kristensen and the frontrunning #24 OAK and #42 Greaves LMP2s.

18h11m Allan McNish takes over the #2 Audi. Alex Brundle and Lucas Ordonez replace Heinemeier Hansson and Mardenborough.

18h14m Green flags, and we're racing again - let's hope for longer this time!

18h18m LMP1: McNish continues to lead in the #2 Audi a lap ahead of the #8 and #7 Toyotas.

18h21m LMP2: Ricardo Gonzalez is the LMP2 leader driving the #35 OAK Morgan-Nissan. Brundle is more than two minutes behind him.

What a shame the safety car has seemingly denied us the victory battle between the OAK cars.

18h22m LMP1: McNish puts another lap on Kazuki Nakajima, so the #7 Toyota is two laps behind the leader.

18h26m LMP2: Lucas Ordonez is on a charge and is tucked in behind Roman Rusinov. This is the battle for third in class between the #26 G-Drive ORECA and the #42 Greaves Zytek.

The recovering Oliver Turvey - six laps down - is also right with them and lapping even more quickly.

18h28m LMP2: Turvey unlaps himself from both car with a daring three-wide move that he pulls off on the way into the second Mulsanne chicane.

Ordonez needs only one more turn to make it by Rusinov for third in the division.

18h32m GTE Pro: Senna pits in the class-leading #99 Aston Martin and hands his machine over to Frederic Makowiecki. That may well lose the car the lead to the #92 Porsche, which has been recovering superbly in Marc Lieb's hands.

18h32m LMP1: The second-placed #8 Toyota pits, just a lap after the #7 had done likewise from third.

18h32m We are in 30 minutes in to the final quarter of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. A lot has happened in the early hours, so if you need a recap, look no further:

Hour 13: Toyota closes back in on Audi under cautions

Hour 14: Lead battle remains tense as Toyota closes on Audi

Hour 15: Toyotas slip back as Duval strengthens lead

Hour 16: Loic Duval opens up one-lap advantage for Audi

Hour 17: Tom Kristensen on course for record ninth victory

Hour 18: Audi still ahead amid safety-car running

The race is marred, however, by the tragic news early on that Allan Simonsen died from injuries sustained in a heavy crash.

You can read AUTOSPORT's tribute here

18h35m GTE Am: Jean-Karl Vernay has been in the class-leading #76 Imsa Porsche for about half an hour, and has already pulled out two minutes on Piergiuseppe Perazzini in the #55 AF Corse Ferrari.

18h40m GTE Am: Time was when you could rely on Larbre Competition to pull out a class winner somewhere in the field.

It looks unlikely this time, although the #50 car of Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor isn't a million miles away from the podium. It's more like 17 miles off it, or two laps in Le Mans terms.

18h42m It's starting to rain at the Dunlop Esses again. It's not heavy enough to warrant thinking about inters just yet.

18h43m GTE Pro: The real picture in the class, with the latest round of stops down, is that Frederic Makowiecki leads in the #99 Aston Martin with Marc Lieb, now driving the #92 Porsche, 15s behind and fighting off the advances of Peter Dumbreck.

18h44m If the rain continues like this, though, it's definitely going to have a few people thinking...

18h48m GTE Pro: Wild ride for Kamui Kobayashia over the kerbs as his Ferrari team-mate Gianmaria Bruni pits. Very, very slippery!

18h49m LMP2:Brundle in the chasing #24 OAK Morgan flashes past the pits as the shower continues to make the circuit slippery. He's 2m15s behind the class leader.

18h49m LMP1: McNish in the pits in the #2 Audi.

18h50m LMP1: McNish takes on a set of intermediates...nope! Full wets!

18h51m The safety car is out after a big shunt at the first chicane.

18h52m GTE Pro: Huge, huge shunt for Makowiecki. The lead Aston was 12s clear but something's gone wrong and the front end is in a big mess.

Fortunately, Mako gets out of the car unassisted, and immediately sprints across the track and gets to safety.

18h55m LMP2: Reactionary pitstops for the lead pair in P2 as Martin Plowman takes the wheel of the class-leading OAK #35.

Le Mans 201318h57m LMP1: Prost in the #12 Rebellion lines up at the end of the pitlane - a 1hr48m pitstop.

We've seen quicker.

19h01m That rain shower has eased in recent minutes and things look a bit brighter again over the pits.

19h04m More barrier repairs here at Le Mans - to be more specific, 30-40 minutes worth. That's how long the organisers estimate anyway.

19h19m The barrier crew have been busy all week and are again pressing on with the work to put the Armco back into shape at the exit of the first chicane.

19h20m It's difficult to tell you anything other than that, but when we get information, you will know.

19h26m Think we've had a lot of safety car interruptions this year? You'd be right - 10 cars is a record. We're also closing in on the overall record time under cautions, which is the 2011 benchmark of 4 hours and 53 minutes.

19h27m LMP1: We have the leaders in the pits. Allan McNish brings the #1 Audi R18, currently running on wets, into the pitlane and hands over to Loic Duval. Fresh slicks being fitted.

19h27m Aha - safety car in this lap.

19h28m LMP1: It's not always beneficial to stop under the safety car at Le Mans of course - just ask Toyota, following Stephane Sarrazin's three-minute stop during Hour 18.

19h29m Safety cars dive in, and we're back racing.

19h31m LMP1: Lucas di Grassi sails past Duval down the Mulsanne, gaining another lap back on the leaders. The #1 Audi is still fifth overall.

19h33m LMP1: Well, di Grassi had gained himself a lap back - Duval has now re-lapped the sister Audi heading into the Dunlop Esses.

19h35m LMP1: Nakajima has spun in the #7 Toyota.

19h36m LMP1: Replays show just how scary an accident that was for the Japanese driver. He vaults over the first of the Dunlop Esses kerbs, narrowly misses a GTE Am car and then spins across the run-off, ending backwards on the exit of the second curve. Very lucky to get away with that, although there could well be damage given the severity of that accident.

19h37m LMP1: Nakajima's windscreen wipers were going when he crashed, suggesting there could be some rain at that end of the circuit. Still dry in the pitlane though.

19h40m GTE Pro: Corvette has been quietly climbing the order, and there's now a fantastic battle developing for fifth in class. Tommy Milner in the #74 Vette and Matteo Malucelli in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari are locked nose to tail down the Mulsanne straight, the Ferrari just ahead.

19h42m GTE Pro: Meanwhile Jorg Bergmeister has closed to within 1m40s of the class-leading sister Manthey Porsche of Marc Lieb. Darren Turner in the #97 Aston Martin still splits the pair.

Toyota WEC Le Mans 201319h44m LMP1: After that wild moment through the Dunlop Esses, Nakajima pits but is quickly back on his way. He doesn't have a whole lot of breathing space over the #3 Audi R18, which is less than 90s down the road now.

19h54m LMP1: Marcel Fassler is into the pits from fifth. He's seven laps behind fourth-placed di Grassi in the #3 car and stays on board.

19h59m GTE Pro: The battle for honours is hardly settling down. Darren Turner in the #97 Aston Martin has taken two seconds out of Marc Lieb's #92 Porsche in the past three laps and is now only 8.8s behind.

20h04m Less than four hours remain to the end of the race, meaning that each car's next driver change could be its last, as per the rules limiting each driver to four hours max in every six.

20h05m LMP1: Leader Loic Duval pits for fuel and rejoins still leading. No tyres, no driver change.

20h10m LMP1: di Grassi is on the prowl - third place is almost in sight, literally. The #7 Toyota is 15s up the road and the Audi is gaining fast. We'd suggest - barring a pitstop - that it'll be an Audi 1-3 by the end of the hour.

20h11m LMP1:...And just like that, di Grassi pits.

20h12m LMP2: Strong pace from Brendon Hartley in the #48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca at the moment with a new best for that machine of 3m40.434s. He's 15th overall and closing on Oliver Turvey's #38.

20h13m LMP1: The #3 Audi is fitted with new boots, Jarvis replaces the Brazilian and he's on his way.

20h15m GTE Pro: Shunt in the pitlane where Malucelli is blindly released into the path of the #45 OAK LMP2. The OAK car is spun, and now the incident's under investigation.

Le Mans 201320h16m GTE Am: Meanwhile, an off in Am for the #75 Prospeed Porsche at Indianapolis. Sebastien Crubile has dragged the car out of the gravel and is back underway.

20h19m GTE Pro: The battle continues to rage at the front with Lieb responding to Turner's pressure. Eight seconds separate the cars on track.

20h20m LMP2: The #45 OAK art car is back underway after that Ferrari assault in the pitlane. It's down in 42nd overall but up to speed again.

20h20m LMP1: Full service for the #8 Toyota, which heads out the pits and on its way.

20h23m GTE Pro: Turner pits - he was 0.5s quicker than the factory Porsche on that last lap. First move from Aston.

20h27m GTE Pro: A trip through the Arnage gravel for Al Faisal in the #66 JMW Ferrari.

20h27m LMP2: Brundle putting on a chase at the moment in the #24 OAK Morgan with some 3m40s pace. There's a 2m12s gap ahead to the class-leading #35.

20h28m Rain reported around the track - we see it! On the start/finish straight.

20h30m It is looking quite dark in the direction of Arnage, so there may be more rain on the way.

20h32m GTE Pro: After Lieb pitted in the factory Porsche, the gap shrunk to 7.4s. This race is far from done.

20h36m LMP1: Lotterer unlaps himself from Nakajima. The #1 Audi, lying fifth, is now five laps behind.

20h37m LMP2: OAK #24 makes a stop to switch Brundle for Olivier Pla. He's away to continue the chase of #35, which is now almost a lap ahead before the next stop for the class leader.

Le Mans 201320h39m LMP2: The Caterham-backed Greaves Zytek #41 continues to progress towards the first page of timing as it moves up to 26th overall. Alex Rossi has been putting in some strong pace in that entry, which was delayed by early suspension trouble and an off under safety car overnight.

We'll have another update from Caterham's Mike Gascoyne in his exclusive AUTOSPORT blog later on.

20h42m LMP2: More trouble for the #45, which is now in the gravel at the second chicane after a spin for Phillipe Mondolot.

20h42m LMP1: Duval pits and resumes, as the #7 Toyota runs wide at Dunlop as he passes a slower car.

20h45m The weather doesn't seem to know what to do as sunshine breaks out on the pit straight and the track is dry again.

20h46m GTE Pro: It's getting very close at the front now; Darren Turner's #97 Aston Martin is now only 6.5s behind Lieb's leading #92 Porsche.

After everything AMR has been through this weekend, there will be very few neutrals not willing it on.

20h48m LMP1: Jarvis has the gap to Nakajima down to 21s.

20h50m LMP2: Service for the #26 Oreca with Mike Conway remaining at the controls. Michael Krumm in the #42 Greaves car had been slowly closing to make that a scrap over the final P2 podium spot, with a gap of 1m40s.

20h51m LMP2: The two fastest cars in the class at the moment are the #43 Morand Morgan-Judd of Franck Mailleux and Oliver Turvey in the #38 Jota Zytek-Nissan.

Turvey is 20s behind Mailleux and is eighth, but is lapping 3s quicker. Both have a three-lap disadvantage to the sixth-placed TDS ORECA of Ludovic (don't call me Bond) Badey.

20h55m GTE Pro: Just six seconds now between Turner and Lieb. The Aston is closing but it's in very small amounts. What it is doing is setting us up for an epic final three hours.

20h56m GTE AM: Raymond Narac is now at the wheel of the class-leading #76 Porsche with a solid lead over the #55 AF Corse Ferrari.

20h57m LMP1: The #12 Rebellion has been wheeled back into the garage. More problems for Prost and co.

20h58m
Today is a huge day of motorsport with BTCC, IndyCar, NASCAR, Formula Renault 3.5 and Superstars all taking place elsewhere.

If you want to keep abreast of what's going on, open up a new window and load up AUTOSPORT's Race Centre Live.

21h00m LMP2: Bertrand Baguette is now onboard the class-leading #35 OAK Morgan with a 2m01s lead over Pla, chasing in the #24.

21h01m LMP1: Davidson pits from second in the #8 Toyota.

21h02m LMP2: Stewards not happy with the driver rotation plan of the #38 Jota Zytek squad, handing out a 10 second stop/go penalty for exceeding the four-hour maximum driving time. It's Oliver Turvey behind the wheel right now.

21h02m LMP2: Brilliantly, Pierre Mondolot is trying to fix the #45 OAK Morgan at the side of the track with the car's emergency kit and is being given instructions from the team over a phone borrowed from a marshal.

21h03m LMP1: Lapierre pits shortly after his team-mate.

21h08m LMP1: Lotterer unlaps himself again from Jarvis, the #1 now seven laps behind the #3 Audi.

21h09m LMP1: Lapierre's stop elevates Jarvis to third. That battle will run to the flag.

21h12m GTE Am: Raymond Narac is now at the wheel of the class-leading #76 Imsa Porsche again, but his pace is not up to that of Darryl O'Young's; the #55 AF Corse Ferrari closing in a three seconds per lap.

Good job the Frenchman has a lap in hand, isn't it?

21h13m LMP1: Immediately after stopping, Lapierre finds time - he's just set the #7 Toyota's fastest lap of the race so far. That's 3m25.718s, half a second quicker than di Grassi's Audi.

21h14m LMP2: Olivier Pla pits from second in the #24 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan.

21h15m GTE Pro: Turner has got the gap to Lieb back down to seven seconds after losing a chunk of time in traffic a few laps ago.

That had bumped the gap up to 10s - more than it had been for a fair while.

21h16m LMP1: Duval pits from the lead as rain is reported through the Porsche Curves.

21h18m GTE Pro: Farnbacher is travelling slowly through the Porsche Curves with a left-rear puncture on the SRT Viper. Fortunately, that's at the end of the lap, so he'll come straight in without losing as much time as others have this weekend.

Le Mans 201321h18m LMP2: Bad news for the #49 squad, currently fifth in class - Pierre Kaffer will need to serve a stop and go penalty for speeding in the pitlane.

21h20m That rain's worse now - heavier from Mulsanne through to Indianapolis. We see sunshine from the media centre!

21h21m GTE Pro: The #97 Aston Martin pits - takes on no tyres - and Turner continues his dogged pursuit of the class lead.

21h24m LMP2: No immediate damage for Kaffer, as the two drivers around him - Jann Mardenborough in fourth and Ludovic Badey in sixth - pit at the same time as he takes his penalty.

21h25m GTE Pro: Yellow flags at Mulsanne Corner...it's Malucelli! He was sixth in class, and has run straight on and ended up just by the tyres, deep in the gravel. That's where the rain was at its heaviest.

21h28m GTE Pro: Turner's taken the class lead! Lieb vacates the Porsche for Lietz but the Aston now has a decent lead. That decision by Aston to get him in and out again looks to have paid dividends for now.

21h28m LMP2: Great turn of pace this from Alexander Rossi in the Caterham-supported #41 Greaves car. He's just passed fourth-place man Pierre Kaffer, while his pace is a match for the lead OAK Racing machines.

21h38m GTE Am: Marco Cioci starting to motor in the third-placed #61 AF Corse Ferrari. He takes two seconds out of O'Young in the sister 458 on that last lap alone, and is now within two minutes of the sister car.

21h39m GTE Pro: Richard Westbrook spins the #74 Corvette at the final corner, but continues. He's still fifth in class.

21h42m LMP1: It's all very quiet at the front (we say in no way trying to liven things up) - though the #8, and then #7, Toyota pits. di Grassi was 55s in arrears to the #7 car prior to that stop.

21h45m GTE Am: We said Cioci was motoring - now O'Young has responded and is closing on Raymond Narac in the lead #76 Imsa Porsche. The lead is now down to three minutes, just as Cioci sets a new race-best.

21h46m LMP1: Jarvis and Lapierre all over each other now, and this is a de facto fight for the final step of the podium.

Audi Le Mans WEC 201321h47m LMP1: Jarvis manages to eke out a small cushion heading onto the Mulsanne straight, but Lapierre is in his tow, roughly 20 metres down the road.

21h49m LMP1: Lapierre runs wide and comes close to putting all four wheels in the gravel exiting Indianapolis.

21h50m LMP2: Alexander Rossi pits in the Caterham-badged #42 Greaves. He's been putting in an excellent shift, matching the frontrunning pace. The same is also true of rookie Jann Mardenobrough, who sets a new race best and takes another two seconds out of Mike Conway in the battle for third in class.

21h51m GTE Pro: Turner has eked out a 20-odd second advantage now in the #97 Aston Martin. We're sure he'll need to vacate the Vantage at his next stop - which will also need a new pair of boots.

For reference, that's what the works Porsche did in the previous round of stops. The time loss? 24 seconds...

21h53m LMP2: Outstanding stuff from Mardenborough. He's almost in the 3m39s bracket, and he goes faster still through the first sector this time around.

21h54m GTE Pro: Over in GTE Pro, Darren Turner has now stretched the #97 Aston Martin's advantage to 12s over the chasing #92 factory Porsche.

21h56m GTE Pro: Kamui Kobayashi sets a new race-best for the #71 AF Corse squad, currently fourth in class.

21h57m LMP2: Olivier Pla pits from second in the #24 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan. He had moved to within 140s of leader Martin Plowman.

21h58m GTE Pro: We said this wasn't over...Turner was around 15 seconds clear of Lietz when the pair's respective stops cycled through, but the German is now flying. A new race best brings the gap down to 10s.

21h58m Clouds once again gathering overhead, and there's noise from the team radios that rain could be due in around five minutes.

Le Mans 201322h00m LMP1: Jarvis gets held up in traffic and Lapierre is suddenly in with a sniff again. Still little more than one second separating the pair in what is the battle for the final step of this year's podium.

22h04m Rain reported in the first sector...it definitely looks wet from Dunlop through to Tertre Rouge.

22h05m LMP2: Bertrand Baguette still comfortably in charge of the #35's class lead as the threatened rain makes things slippery once more.

22h06m GTE Pro: The #92 Porsche spins at Tertre Rouge!

22h07m GTE Pro: Lietz continues but how costly could that be?

22h08m GTE Pro: Very costly. He's 15s slower through the middle sector - that's put him 22 behind the Aston now having closed the gap to 7s.

22h09m LMP2: Outfits with sizable advantages are making precautionary switches to wet rubber whenever a shower arrives, with several P2 cars in the pits this time, including leader #35.

22h11m LMP1: Reports that Belicchi has suffered a cracked rib - but not broken. Presumably in that safety car-inducing shunt at the second Mulsanne.

22h12m LMP1: Jarvis' stop drops him back behind Lapierre, who had been showing good pace in the #7 Toyota. He's 50s behind - so can he get on to the podium?

22h13m The rain appears to have eased again, but there's still a lot of threatening cloud around.

22h15m GTE Pro: Patrick Pilet pits the Porsche - say that five times fast. The #91 car is third in class.

22h16m GTE Pro: Turner pits from the lead in the #97 Aston.

22h17m LMP2: Baguette's #35 is clocked 2m28s ahead of the chasing #24, driven by Pla, with a very quick new best of 3m39.739s for the second-place car.

22h18m GTE Pro: Mucke takes over the #97 Aston's charge.

22h20m LMP1: The Toyotas have been steadily losing 2-3s a lap on raw pace to the Audis throughout this race. But now, when it matters, and Jarvis is on the hunt, the #7 car is maintaining the 50-odd second gap.

22h21m LMP2: 3m39.327s - this is a big push now from Pla, who benefits from a lap of traffic for Baguette to close the gap to 2m20s.

22h21m LMP1: And as that's typed, Lapierre pits.

22h23m GTE Pro: Lietz pit in the Porsche, and gets ahead - there's 4.5s in this at the first sector, but the Aston has fresh tyres.

22h23m LMP2: John Martin is campaigning the #26 G-Drive Oreca, running third in class, now 2m51s behind the rapid Pla in #24.

22h24m LMP1: Meanwhile, Jarvis gets a lap back by passing Kristensen on the Mulsanne straight.

Le Mans 201322h29m LMP2: Pla's remarkable push continues with a rapid lap of 3m38.059s - that's quicker than the qualifying time for the chasing #24. Still over two minutes to find to get the #35, though.

22h29m LMP1: So Jarvis is six seconds clear of Lapierre , and the two are running at identical speeds. Meanwhile, Kristensen pits.

22h33m GTE Pro: Toni Vilander locks up while running fourth in class and beaches the #71 Ferrari in the gravel at Mulsanne Corner.

22h34m GTE Pro: He was under pressure from the #8 Toyota which was coming round to lap him.

22h34m LMP2: Third in class still far from decided either as Playstation graduate Mardenborough in #42 remains within a lap of Martin in #26. Both are setting green sector times.

22h35m GTE Pro: Meanwhile Mucke has the gap to Lietz down to just 2.5s now.

22h38m GTE Pro: A new personal best for the #97 Aston Martin - 3m55.791s to Lietz's 3m56.829s.

22h38m Weather-watch: still some threatening clouds around suggests the view from the media centre window, another shower looks likely soon.

22h41m LMP1: Kristensen stops the #2 Audi. New boots fitted - but are they inters or slicks?

22h41m And there it is, light rain again in the pits!

22h42m LMP1: Kristensen came in for that stop because he had a slow puncture...but one of the Toyotas is off at the Porsche Curves!

22h43m LMP1: It's Lapierre! A big off and heartbreak for the #7 Toyota. He's clambered out and looks dejected.

22h44m GTE Pro: Mucke is right behind Lietz now and challenging hard for the race lead!

22h44m LMP2: Heavy rain reported now as the Boutsen #40 goes for a spin on the slippery stuff.

22h45m GTE Pro: So, so wet out there as the cars tiptoe through the Porsche Curves. Superb driving so close together!

22h46m It's massively wet on the run down to Porsche Curves where the #7 Toyota has shunted. Surely this will bring everyone in for a change of rubber.

22h47m GTE Pro: Mucke pit; Lietz didn't. Big gamble!

22h47m Chaos in the pitlane as teams take the huge decision on whether to pit or not. From our view in the drenched pit straight, you'd be in for wets.

22h47m Safety car.

22h48m LMP2: Shunt! Oh no, that's the LMP2 leader, #35 Bertrand Baguette!

22h49m LMP2: The TDS #46 was involved in that contact on the Mulsanne involving #35, with conditions down there getting very tricky.

22h50m LMP1: Lapierre is dragging the battered #7 Toyota back to the pits - and a few people thought it was the #8! The Frenchman obviously saw fit to put his crash helmet back on after initially walking away from the stricken car.

22h51m GTE Pro: Blimey, this has all kicked off - and Mucke is back in the pits. But it doesn't look like Lietz is. So where this leaves us, we are not at all sure.

22h51m LMP2: Baguette in #35 is back underway and makes it to the pits, while that shunt looks more terminal for #46.

22h54m LMP2: The TDS #46 is in the middle of the road on the run to Indianapolis and is the reason we are currently behind the safety cars.

22h54m Meanwhile, the shower is easing over the pits but the track is very wet in places.

23h00m LMP2: Baguette in #35 has survived that scare with the TDS #46 car and remains in the P2 lead, some 4m ahead of Pla in #24 under the safety car.

Le Mans 201323h00m GTE Pro: Some deciphering of the lead Pro battle between us has resulted in this conclusion:

Mucke stopped when the rain first fell while Lietz continued. He took on inters, but the team then replaced them immediately with slicks because the track looked dry.

When the heavens opened even more, he came back in the following lap for wets - but Lietz again stayed out. Meanwhile, the Pilet Porsche was fitted with wets.

The end result of that is Lietz a lap in front of Pilet, with Mucke now down in third. We reckon Lietz is going to need another fuel stop, but even so, Porsche have both cases covered with a car on slicks and a car on wets.

Get that?

23h01m GTE Pro: And Lietz pits...for wet tyres, we think. It would be the only sensible solution.

23h03m GTE Am: Trouble for the #75 Prospeed Porsche as it slows on the Mulasnne. That car is down in 38th overall.

23h08m LMP1: When Lapierre crashed, we said it looked like it was salvageable. The driver obviously disagreed at first. But now back to the pits we believe it will return to the track.

Which poses an interesting question. Can Treluyer haul the #1 Audi back up to fourth? That would be a fantastic recovery. Had the safety car not been called, it would have certainly been possible. But he has six laps to make up - trouble is, they're taking 10 minutes behind the safety car...

23h10m GTE Am: #75 is back up to safety car pace after that earlier slow-down.

23h11m Weather-watch: Looking brighter over the pits again but we've learned this weekend that a shower is never far away.

23h15m But the clock is also ticking down and we've only got 45 minutes to the flag.

23h15m GTE Pro: Depending on what the situations are with tyres - and of course, the weather - it looks as though the Lietz/Porsche gamble has paid off handsomely.

We're down to 45 minutes remaining, under the safety, and the #92 has 4m30s lead.

23h17m LMP2: Much of the P2 pack has joined the overall leader behind Safety Car C, while Pla is behind the B car, pretty much a lap behind #35.

23h20m Grandstands opposite the pits are filling up with fans for the finish as we await news on the restart.

23h22m LMP1: The #7 Toyota rejoins, but has to wait at the end of the pitlane. The #1 Audi had got back to three laps behind - tempting, therefore, to suggest that without a safety car, that could have been a genuine fight for fourth.

23h24m Safety cars in this lap.

23h26m A mixture of tyre strategies out there, with those on slicks on for a handful around some of the wetter parts of the lap.

23h30m GTE Pro: Mucke has stopped again...

23h30m And we're away!

23h30m The lead #2 car is right behind Safety Car C - as is much of the field - with just a Corvette to clear when racing resumes from Arnage.

23h33m Very tricky conditions out there at the moment with wet, dry and everything in between on offer around this long lap.

23h34m Weather-watch: We spy another bank of dark clouds marching towards the circuit.

23h35m GTE Pro: Mucke is 1m35s behind Pilet in second, so if the Porsche does need to switch to slick tyres, the Aston could yet finish second.

23h37m LMP2: No change at the front of P2, despite the drama from #35 during the earlier shower. Baguette has shaken out still over 2m ahead of Pla in #24.

Le Mans 201323h37m Here's our view of those packed grandstands (see 23hr20 update) which is eager to see the end of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours, which is about 20 minutes away. How time flies...

23h40m There's debris on the track just before Tertre Rouge.

23h40m Weather-watch: We don't need a fancy radar screen to detect the massive wall of dark cloud moving towards the circuit.

23h42m Teams looking nervous in the pits. Will it rain? Will it pour? Just 18m left to the flag.

23h42m LMP1: Credit to Buemi, who is really pushing for it since unlapping himself. If you'd offered Toyota a second place, on the lead lap (just), before the race...they'd have probably taken it.

23h44m There it is... marshals report rain in the Indianapolis area.

23h47m Not quite the deluge those clouds looked set to deliver just yet, but there's still a shower on the run from Mulsanne Corner to Indianapolis.

23h49m GTE Pro: The #74 Corvette of Oliver Gavin is up on the jacks in the pits.

23h49m All static at the top of the classes as we approach the final 10 minutes with the changeable weather keeping tension levels high.

23h50m GTE Am: Great performance from the #76 Imsa Porsche. As expected, there has been a lot of action and drama, but Narac/Bourret/Vernay have kept out of trouble - and been very quick, too.

23h55m LMP1: Formation flying starting to build up front as Audi #1 falls in behind the lead #2 car.

23h55m Raining on the pitlane with five minutes left on the clock.

Audi Le Mans WEC 201323h56m It's the final lap of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours!

24h00m That's 24 hours in the books as we await the winners on a soggy final lap.

Sun 13:01 LMP1: Victory at Le Mans for Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loic Duval in the #2 Audi.

Sun 13:02 GTE Pro: Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz and Romain Dumas trimuph for Porsche after a race-long battle with Aston Martin.

Sun 13:03 GTE Am: Raymond Narac, Jean-Karl Vernay and Christophe Bourret bring home their Am Porsche for the final class win.

Sun 13:04 LMP2: Bertrand Baguette, Martin Plowman and Ricardo Gonzalez cross the line to take P2 for OAK Racing #35.

Sun 13:04 LMP1: It was a superb performance from the #2 Audi and despite the troubles of the #1 car, you'd be very harsh to suggest that wasn't a richly deserved win.

A record ninth Le Mans 24 Hours win for TK, a third for McNish and a maiden triumph for Duval!

Sun 13:07 GTE Pro: In the end, the factory Porsches played that final hour perfectly. A brave call to stay on slicks when it poured down proved decisive in the end and allowed them to triumph in their battle with Aston Martin.

That they made it a Porsche 911 1-2 marks the model's anniversary in some style.

Sun 13:08 GTE Am: Narac, Vernay and Bourret kept their noses clean and took their chances to head home the two Ferraris, who had their fair share of moments themselves.

Sun 13:10 LMP2: It must have been rather heart-in-mouth for the #35 OAK Morgan-Nissan when they got caught up in that final safety-car inducing incident, but in the end the trio were triumphant.

It was a superb result for OAK. Led by Olivier Pla, their polesitting #24 car finished second after running at the front for much of the race.

Sun 13:11 For a full review on how the Le Mans 24 Hours played out, read the full AUTOSPORT report - available here in all its glory.

Kristensen, McNish, Duval clinch Audi victory

Sun 13:15 The podium ceremony is taking place below us now, where five-time Le Mans 24 Hours winner Jacky Ickx just paid tribute to the late Allan Simonsen, who tragically lost his life in the very early stages of the race.

Read AUTOSPORT's tribute to the sportscar star here

Sun 13:16 AUTOSPORT's on-the-ground reporters are now off to source race reaction, so stick with us for the latest news.

  OVERVIEW LE MANS  
Race Centre Live
 CLASS WINNERS  
2 LMP1
Audi R18 e-tron
Tom Kristensen
Allan McNish
Loic Duval
35 LMP2
Morgan Nissan
Bertrand Baguette
Martin Plowman
Ricardo Gonzalez
92 GTE Pro
Porsche 911 RSR
Marc Lieb
Richard Lietz
Romain Dumas
76 GTE Am
Porsche 997 GT3
Raymond Narac
Jean-Karl Vernay
Christophe Bourret
  CURRENT WEATHER
Intermittant showers High Temp: 17°C / 63°F
Track: Wet
Haymarket