With 7 hours remaining, Audi has taken the lead at the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Peugeot’s, clearly faster than the Audi’s, have been stricken with mechanical problems throughout the race. Pedro Lamy’s car experienced suspension failure while Franck Montagny’s #2 car caught on fire with suspected engine failure on his out lap after a scheduled stop.
Audi’s Timo Bernhard now leads the race but as with any Le Mans, victory is never certain and attrition can happen at any moment. The team who plans resolution scenarios for failures is the team who can keep going but that only works if the car can make it back to the pits. Audi have a history of anticipating the unanticipated but have, in recent years, been caught out by such issues.
Some suggest that the Audi team is heading for a shake up should they fail to secure a victory this year but rumors, like attrition at Le Mans, are bank on. Audi understood their pace compared to the Peugeot’s and suggested that attrition may be the only way to beat the French team. It seems that has played into their hands but banking on attrition is a gamble. Especially with the talent of the Peugeot team.
Audi are now leading but part failure, on-track incidents and even botched pit stops can hamper a race at Le Mans. The race, historically and currently a race of endurance, is also famous for being an all out sprint for 24 hours. The pace set by these teams is astounding when measured over a 24 hour period.
The outcome of the 2010 24 Hours of Le Mans should be interesting but as Peugeot have two cars left and there is 7 hours remaining, Audi may do well to hold off on popping the cork on the champagne.