2011 24 Hours of LeMans off to a dramatic start

2011 24 Hours of Le Mans – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 79th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans has already been a thrilling race, and the sun hasn't even gone down yet. In the first hour, the Peugeot 908s and Audi R18 TDis jumped out to the front of the pack, with Peugeot looking poised to make up for last year's disappointing run. Across the paddock at Audi, the brand-new R18 TDi was living up to lofty expectations.

The team from Ingolstadt suffered a huge setback less than an hour in, however, when Allan McNish suffered a huge shunt at the Dunlop esses. McNish was OK, but the impact obliterated his car and left the Armco barrier worse for wear. The ensuing hour-long caution gave teams a chance to refuel, switch drivers and make adjustments, while the Audis and Peugeots saved fuel idling around the storied course.

At this time, the #2 Audi leads the #7 and #8 Peugeots. With 21 hours to go, that'll likely change a few times. Stay tuned for more as the race wears on. In the meantime, check out the gallery of photos from the race start taken by our man Drew Phillips.

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