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16hrs: Team Goh leads!

Le Mans 2004 has burst back into life, with a change of a lead setting up a brilliant fight between Team Goh and Audi UK. A delay in the pits has put the Goh car in front and sparked a monumental lap time war in the early morning cool.

The Audi UK car that has led from the start had been struggling with rear suspension problems, so early in this hour the car stood in the pits for seven minutes as repairs were made. This was the break that the Goh car had been searching for all night: it now found itself over a lap ahead.

Then the times began to tumble as Jamie Davies began to storm the Sarthe circuit in the newly-healthy Audi UK car. He put in a string of laps in the mid 3m30s, including the fastest of the race at 3m34.2s. Leader Rinaldo Capello has also upped his game. His times dropped to around 3m38s, but he could not prevent Davies from taking a chunk of time on every lap.

This fascinating duel was not all that went on in the hour. Davies' sister car got itself into the tyres at Indianapolis in the hands of Frank Biela. It was still outside the top ten following yesterday's crash. But the car was extricated and continues to run at a pace almost as quick as Davies, proving that no lasting damage was done.

There was also a sad end to the brave Rollcentre Dallara-Judd run. Martin Short made contact with the second Pescarolo-Judd driven by Sebastien Bourdais and spun at the Esses. After a stop for a check-up Short was out again, having relinquished fourth to the Champion Audi. But shortly afterwards the suspension appeared to break, which pitched Short into the wall at the high-speed Porsche Curves.

The third-placed Pescarolo has not been left out of the money as far as stunning lap times were concerned. Eric Comas took it round in 3m39.2s, the best lap for the car in the race, as it tries to fight off the charging Champion Audi.

There have been no major developments in the other classes, except that the second of the Prodrive Ferraris spent some time stationary at Mulsanne corner. With Colin McRae now in the car it is fourth in category.

Le Mans 24 Hours, Positions after 16 hours
Pos Drivers Car Class Time
1
Ara/Capello/Kristensen Audi R8 LM1 250 laps
2 Davies/Herbert/Smith Audi R8 LM1 249 laps completed
3 Ayari/Comas/Treluyer Pescarolo-Judd LM1 243 laps
4 Lehto/Werner/Pirro Audi R8 LM1 241 laps
5 Collard/Bourdais/Minassian Pescarolo-Judd LM1 234 laps
6 Enge/Kox/Menu Ferrari 550 GTS 232 laps
7 Short/Barff/Barbosa Dallara-Judd LM1 230 laps
8 Gavin/Beretta/Magnussen Corvette GTS 226 laps
9 Coronel/Wilson/Firman Dome-Judd LM1 226 laps
10 Andre/Leuenberger/Vanni Lola-Judd LM1 226 laps
11 Biela/Kaffer/McNish Audi R8 LM1 221 laps
12 Fellows/O'Connell/Papis Corvette GTS 220 laps
13 Kelleners/Ortelli/Dumas Porsche GT 218 laps
14 Lammers/Dyson/Kaneishi Dome-Judd LM1 216 laps
15 Stirling/Lupberger/McGarrity Nasamax-Judd LM1 216 laps
16 Hindery/Lieb/Rockenfeller Porsche GT 216 laps
17 Maasen/Bergmeister/Long Porsche GT 215 laps
18 Kurosawa/Nishizawa/Oriodo Porsche GT 214 laps
19 Bouchut/Goueslard/Dupard Ferrari 550 GTS 212 laps
20 McRae/Rydell/Turner Ferrari 550 GTS 212 laps
21 Burgess/Collin/Bagnall Porsche GT 209 laps
22 Alphand/Laveille/Almeras Porsche GT 208 laps
23 Wilson/Montain/Hugenholtz Ferrari 360 GT 208 laps
24 Donaldson/Fisken/Nielsen Porsche GT 207 laps
25 Katoh/Michigami/Fukuda Dome-Mugen LM1 206 laps
26 Nielsen/Elgaard/Moller Lister LM1 206 laps
27 Berridge/Caine/Stockton TVR GT 203 laps
28 Khan/Smith/Sugden Porsche GT 199 laps
29 Newton/Erdos/Kinch Lola-MG LM1 198 laps
30 Hezemans/Deletraz/Barde Ferrari 575 GTS 186 laps
31 Tomlinson/Greensall/Evans TVR GT 195 laps
32 Binnie/Field/Sutherland Lola-Judd LM2 185 laps
33 Terada/Roussel/Porta WR LM2 165 laps
34 Bosch/Sullivan/Biagi Ferrari 575 GTS 163 laps
35 Sharpe/Hyde/Cunningham Morgan GT 148 laps
36 Bouvet/Gommendy/Briere WR LM2 110 laps
Retired Wallace/Brabham/Shimoda Zytek LM1 167 laps
Retired Rosa/van Merkstein/Caffi Porsche GT 146 laps
Retired Melo/Daoudi/de Fournoux Ferrari 360 GT 133 laps
Retired Frei/Gounon/Hancock Courage-AER LM2 127 laps
Retired Jeanette/Pickering/Derlot Courage-Willman LM2 124 laps
Retired Maurylaribiere/Boulay/Besson Reynard-Lehman LM1 122 laps
Retired Belmondo/Gosselin/Saviozzi Courage-AER LM2 80 laps
Retired Vasiliev/Fomenko/Nearn Porsche GT 65 laps
Retired Bourdais/Blanchemain/Berville Panoz LM1 54 laps
Retired Andrews/Lockie/Kumpen Lola-Caterpillar LM1 35 laps
Retired Field/Dayton/Connor Lola-Judd LM1 29 laps
Retired Warnock/Matthews/Daniels Porsche 27 laps

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