After dominating the Le Mans 24 Hours since the flag was dropped, Peugeot have lost the lead to arch-rivals Audi.
Shortly after 7am, the leading Peugeot 908 driven by Franck Montagny had to retire with engine failure as smoke and flames poured from the side of his car. After the problems with the sister cars, the situation was not good for the French manufacturer and Audi moved ahead.
Peugeot are now relying on Marc Gené and his team-mates Anthony Davidson and Alexander Wurz in the #1 car and who are the only ones within reach of the two Audis of Bernhard/Rockenfeller/Dumas and Fässler/Lotterer/Treluyer.
After his stint Gené handed over to Davidson, who immediately drove the required lap times, just under two seconds per lap faster than Audi and even faster than the pole time.
Davidson was clearly on a mission as his lap times showed, passing an Audi and a LMP2 car off the track before being involved in an incident with the GT2 class leader, the Corvette Racing #64 car of Emmanuel Collard, at the Porsche Curves. Although there appeared to be no contact, Collard went off the road and hit the barriers. He made it to the pits but the team lost the category lead to Felbermayr Porsche. For his part, Davidson refused to take the blame for the incident after his stint.
In GT1 the Larbre remains in front, followed by Luc Alphand's Corvette and the Aston Martin.
Overall after 18 of 24 hours:
1st Audi #9 (Rockenfeller/Bernhard/Dumas) 364 laps,
2nd Audi #8 (Lotterer/Fässler/Treluyer),
3rd Peugeot #1 (Wurz/Gene/Davidson),
4th Audi #7 (Kristensen/Capello/McNish),
5th Peugeot #4 (Panis/Lapierre/Pagenaud),
6th Aston Martin #009 (Turner/Hancock/Barazi)
LMP2 after 18 of 24 hours:
1st Strakka #42 (Leventis/Watts/Kane),
2nd Highcroft #26 (Brabham/Franchitti/Werner),
3rd OAK Racing #35 (Lahaye/Moreau/Charouz),
4th RML #25 (Newton/Erdos/Wallace),
5thBruichladdich #41 (Ojjeh/Greaves/Chalandon),
6th OAK Racing #24 (Nicolet/Yvon/Hein)
LMGT1 after 18 of 24 hours:
1st Saleen #50 (Berville/Canal/Gardel),
2nd Aston Martin #52 (Nygaard/Enge/Kox),
3rd Corvette #72 (Gregoire/Policand/Hart)
LMGT2 after 18 of 24 hours:
1st Porsche #77 (Lieb/Lietz/Henzler),
2nd Ferrari #89 (Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen),
3rd Porsche #97 (Westbrook/Holzer/Scheider),
4th Ferrari #95 (Fisichella/Alesi/Vilander),
5th Porsche #76 (Narac/Pilet/Long)
6th BMW Motorsport #78 (Müller/Alzen/Farfus)