Porsche has re-taken the lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the race heads into its final hour after the recovering No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid overhauled the Jackie Chan DC Racing No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson at the front of the field.
Following the No. 1 Porsche’s dramatic retirement in the 21st hour while enjoying a 13-lap buffer, LMP2 class front-runner Jackie Chan DC Racing moved into an unlikely overall lead with Thomas Laurent behind the wheel.
The No. 2 Porsche lost over an hour in the garage last night following a front axle issue that warranted an MGU change, dropping it towards the back of the field.
A seamless race since has seen the crew move back into contention, becoming Porsche’s only hope of victory after Andre Lotterer ground to a halt in the No. 1 car after a loss of oil pressure.
Running 10-15 seconds per lap faster than the No. 38 Oreca, Timo Bernhard made a pass on Ho-Pin Tung – who took over from Laurent at the last pit stop – to take Porsche back into the lead with 66 minutes to go, completing a remarkable fightback for the No. 2 team after its earlier struggles.
However, Porsche will be keeping a close eye on the condition of its car, with one hour to survive to make it to the end of the race and claim a 19th overall win at Le Mans.
Bernhard is set to complete one final stop in the last hour, while the Jackie Chan DC Racing crew appears to have two more trips to the pit lane.
Thomas Laurent in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson leads the 24 Hours of Le Mans overall with two hours to go, but has LMP1 class leader Timo Bernhard in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid closing in.
Fighting back from an MGU change in hour four, Bernhard unlapped himself from Laurent and is lapping on average 12 seconds faster per lap than the LMP2 class leader.
The lead margin stood at just over three minutes at the turn of the hour, when Matt McMurry’s spin into the gravel at Mulsanne Corner brought out a Slow Zone.
Laurent is currently in the third of a triple stint, having lost a minute at his last pitstop when faulty brake lights required his mechanics to change the rear bodywork.
While powerless to prevent Bernhard from eating into his advantage, Laurent has a commanding two-lap lead over the second place LMP2 runner, the No. 35 Signatech-Alpine A470-Gibson, which runs third overall with Andre Negrao at the wheel.
More starter motor problems for the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion of Nelson Piquet Jr. has put the Brazilian over a minute behind, although he is steadily closing on Negrao.
In GTE-Pro, the No. 63 Corvette C7.R of Jordan Taylor inherited the lead when Daniel Serra completed his double-stint in the No. 97 Aston Martin.
The Brazilian twice passed the Corvette during his spell behind the wheel, initially taking Jan Magnussen into the second chicane on the Mulsanne before repeating the trick on Taylor at the same corner.
Jonny Adam rejoined second, but will close in on the Corvette when Taylor hands over to Antonio Garcia at the next round of stops.
Fred Makowiecki holds third in the sole remaining No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR after Michael Christensen’s accident during the night at the Ford Chicane, while Harry Tincknell sits fourth in the best-placed of the Ford GT contingent.
Will Stevens has taken over from Rob Smith at the wheel of the No. 84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488, which continues to lead the GTE-Am from the Spirit of Race No. 55 Ferrari driven by Marco Cioci.
LMP2 car leads
19-year-old Thomas Laurent has moved into the overall lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Jackie Chan DC Racing, putting the LMP2 team in contention for a shock victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Five of the six LMP1 runners hit trouble during the first half of the race, leaving the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid to run unopposed at the front of the pack, building a 13-lap lead over the field.
Drama struck in the 21st hour when Andre Lotterer began to slow when leading, citing a loss of oil pressure that ultimately forced him to park up at the side of the track and retire from the race.
This made the leading active car the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson, with silver-rated Laurent ultimately moving into P1 with just over three hours to go when the No. 1 Porsche was listed as an official retirement and removed from timing and scoring.
Porsche’s hopes of victory now rest entirely on the No. 2 car, which, despite spending an hour in the garage last night when undergoing an MGU fix, is now on the hunt to make up the two-lap gap to the No. 38 Oreca at the front of the pack.
Brendon Hartley is currently behind the wheel of the No. 2 Porsche, running second on track after jumping ahead of the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Racing Oreca while it served a stop/go penalty for a pit stop infringement.
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In the latest twist in the battle to win this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid has stopped on track after losing oil pressure with just under four hours to go, with its race apparently over.
Following the demise of Toyota with its trio of mechanical setbacks through the night, Porsche was in firm control of the race following sunrise at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with the No. 1 car running 13 laps ahead of the field.
As Porsche’s last bullet in the gun following the earlier issues for the No. 2 car, drivers Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani were lapping at a conservative pace in a bid to prevent any late mechanical issues.
Their efforts appear to have been in vain however, with Lotterer reporting a loss of oil pressure that caused him to slow 10 minutes into the fourth hour.
Lotterer had a 13-lap lead at the time over the lead LMP2 car, the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, but started to slow at the Dunlop Curves, leaving the German with the majority of the lap to complete to get back to the pits.
It came to a stop on the Mulsanne straight, after Lotterer attempted to complete nearly a lap entirely on electric power.
Lotterer climbed out of the car. The No. 1 Porsche’s issue means that all six LMP1 runners in Le Mans have encountered a mechanical issue of some sort.
The No. 2 Porsche – which spent an hour in the pits on Saturday night after a hybrid issue – is now the German marque’s only chance of victory.
It currently runs fifth, two laps behind Oliver Jarvis in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca which leads the LMP2 class in second overall.
The GTE-Pro battle is finely poised heading into the final four hours of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with six cars from five manufacturers still on the lead lap.
Antonio Garcia leads the class in the No. 63 Corvette C7.R by 16 seconds from Jonny Adam’s No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, with Patrick Pilet 40 second off the lead in third at the wheel of the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR GTE.
Ford also has a stake in the fight, with Andy Priaulx only 1m22 behind Garcia in fourth, while Davide Rigon’s No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE and the No. 69 Ford of Tony Kanaan could yet come into play too, Kanaan running just ahead of Garcia on track.
Several contenders have fallen by the wayside in the morning, including the No. 95 Aston Martin of Richie Stanaway which had fought back to the lead after losing two minutes to a puncture in Hour 4.
On his first lap out of the pits, the New Zealander locked up at Mulsanne Corner and nosed into the barriers, dropping the car to ninth in class and five laps off the pace.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado was also in the fight for victory, but lost over an hour in the pits following contact with Euan Hankey’s GTE-Am TF Sport Aston Martin that damaged the radiator.
The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid continues to lead the race outright by a comfortable 13 laps from LMP2 leader Oliver Jarvis in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07-Gibson.
Jarvis in turn has two laps in hand over the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca of Mathias Beche, which spent time in the garage with a starter motor problem at sunrise.
The sister No. 13 car which led for much of the night is now out of contention after a second lengthy stop to fix a gearbox problem, promoting Nelson Panciatici to third in class in the unfancied No. 35 Signatech-Alpine A470-Gibson, a further lap behind.
Will Owen survived a spin on his outlap after taking over the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier JS P217-Gibson from Filipe Alburqurque and is the top non-Oreca runner in eighth.
Meanwhile, Ferrari continues its stranglehold on the GTE-Am standings, the 488 GTE presently locking out the top three positions.
Rob Smith in the No. 84 JMW Motorsport 488 has a lap in hand over Aaron Scott in the No. 55 Spirit of Race car, with defending GTE-Am winner Bill Sweedler a further lap back in third.
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Porsche continues to close on a 19th overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans after extending its advantage over the field to 12 laps with six hours remaining at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
With its LMP1 hybrid rivals falling by the wayside through the night, the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid crew has been focusing on managing its pace and ensuring the car gets home in one piece, with Nick Tandy behind the wheel entering the final quarter of the race.
Slow zones and yellow flags for various incidents have stunted the No. 2 Porsche’s fightback, leaving Earl Bamber P10 still with five laps to make up in the final six hours if the German marque is to secure a one-two finish.
Jackie Chan DC Racing continues to run second overall and lead LMP2 with the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson, upping its pace in a bid to extend its advantage over Vaillante Rebellion Racing behind.
Rebellion suffered a setback with its No. 13 Oreca after it would not refire following a pit stop, forcing the team to wheel the car back into the garage so the issue could be resolved. It was completed quickly enough to keep David Heinemeier-Hansson second in class, with Signatech Alpine sitting third with the No. 35 Oreca.
The biggest twist in Hour 18 came in GTE-Pro as Aston Martin Racing saw its stranglehold on proceedings be broken following a crash for Richie Stanaway in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Struggling on cold tires after a pit stop, Stanaway locked up and ran straight on at the Mulsanne Hairpin, thudding into the barrier and causing damage to the front of the car.
Stanaway was able to get the car back to the pits where the Aston Martin Racing crew completed a quick repair, sending Nicki Thiim out after a driver swap.
Despite the repairs, Thiim began to slow just a couple of laps into the fresh stint, forcing the team to take the car back into the garage.
The crash handed the lead of GTE-Pro to Corvette Racing’s Jordan Taylor in the No. 63 Corvette C7.R, only for the American to come in soon after assuming the lead for a scheduled stop, cycling the advantage through to Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR.
Makowiecki made his most recent stop just before the turn of the hour, emerging third in class behind Jonny Adam in the No. 97 Aston Martin and Taylor, the trio separated by just 2.5 seconds with six hours to go.
By contrast to its senior class, GTE-Am continues to be far more straightforward as JMW Motorsport continues to lead by over three minutes with the No. 84 Ferrari 488 GTE. Duncan Cameron sits second in the No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari, while Bill Sweedler runs third in the No. 65 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, despite two punctures which dropped it back from the lead battle.
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The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani holds an 11-lap lead as the field has been put under control of the Safety Car for an accident involving the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson.
With Emmanuel Collard behind the wheel, the car appeared to go off course and into the tire barriers at the Porsche Curves, which prompted the Safety Car to be deployed.
Collard, who along with Racing Team Nederland driver Jan Lammers is the most experienced driver in the field, exited the car under his own power according to Radio Le Mans.
The TDS Racing car was running in 10th position in the LMP2 class at the time of the accident.
The No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion leads the LMP2 category and runs second overall at the hands of Nelson Piquet Jr. after earlier problems sidelined many of the LMP1 contenders.
The No. 13 inherited the lead after the sister No. 31 entry pitted from the lead with gearbox problems in Hour 13. That car has returned to action and runs third in class and fourth overall.
Sandwiched between the two Rebellions in second and on the class-leader’s lap is the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca with Ho-Pin Tung at the controls.
The top two cars in GTE-Pro run in close proximity with the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz holding a minimal advantage over the No. 95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marco Sorenson.
The sister No. 97 Aston Martin of Daniel Serra is third, followed by the No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT driven by Andy Priaulx and the No. 63 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen.
Rob Smith and JMW Motorspot heads up a Ferrari 488 GTE 1-2 in GTE-Am, one lap ahead of second place Marco Cioci for Spirit of Race.
The No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibson was forced to give up the LMP2 class lead and second overall with a suspected gearbox problem, as the 24 Hours of Le Mans reached the 13th hour.
Nicolas Prost was wheeled back into the garage for a five-minute stop to repair the issue before resuming one lap behind Ho-Pin Tung in the class-leading No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, now second overall.
The Dutchman has a four-second lead over the No. 13 Rebellion of David Heinemeier-Hansson, who won the GTE-Am class at Le Mans in 2014, with Prost now third.
Nick Tandy continues to lead the race outright in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, as all three of the highly-fancied Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrids hit trouble before the halfway mark.
Ten cars remain on the lead lap in GTE-Pro, with Nicki Thiim out front in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
His AMR teammate Darren Turner is seven seconds behind in the No. 97 car, with Fred Makowiecki’s No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR third on the new mid-engined car’s first outing at Le Mans.
The sister No.92 Porsche of Michael Christensen lost time with a spin into the barriers at the Ford Chicane shortly after the hour mark while running sixth.
Meanwhile the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 continues to leads a European Le Mans Series 1-2 in the GTE-Am classification.
Will Stevens has a lap in hand over Euan Hankey’s TF Sport Aston Martin, with Christian Ried back up to third in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR after passing Aaron Scott’s No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari.
After disaster befell the No. 7 and No. 9 Toyota TS050 Hybrids, the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid enjoys a decisive nine-lap advantage at the halfway stage of the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans, with it’s closest rival coming from the LMP2 class.
With Nick Tandy now at the wheel, Porsche has adopted an ultra-conservative approach as it seeks a third consecutive victory at Le Mans.
Tandy’s nearest class rival is team-mate Brendon Hartley in the No. 2 Porsche, who is 20 laps down in 16th position overall.
The only other LMP1 car still running, the sole remaining No. 8 Toyota, is even further adrift after an MGU change. Anthony Davidson is 30 laps down in 47th position.
The massive attrition rate in LMP1 has elevated the LMP2 frontrunners to the overall podium, with Nicolas Prost in the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07-Gibsons currently second overall.
A pitstop shortly before the hour dropped his team-mate David Heinemeier-Hansson to third behind the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of Ho-Pin Tung, who sit 17 seconds off the class lead.
Oreca lock out the top six positions, with Will Owen’s United Autosports Ligier JS P217 the highest non-Oreca in eighth overall.
The GTE-Pro battle is the closest on-track, with just 3.5 seconds separating the top three after the Safety Car periods in Hour 10 split the pack.
Richie Stanaway leads the class in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE which lost over two minutes with a left-rear puncture and an additional stop to remove debris from the wheel-arch early on, but has team-mate Jonny Adam in the No. 97 Aston Martin and the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Alessandro Pier Guidi in close pursuit.
The No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR with Fred Makowiecki aboard is periodically able to fight with the leading trio, but is the first to pit in each cycle and sat fifth at the hour mark, just behind Miguel Molina in the No. 71 Ferrari.
In GTE-Am, Dries Vanthoor continues to lead by over a lap in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari from Euan Hankey in the TF Sport Aston Martin.
Hankey was able to fend off the challenge of Marvin Dienst in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche, the German almost two minutes ahead of Cooper MacNeil in the No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s hopes of a maiden victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans look to be all-but-over after the No. 9 Toyota TS050 Hybrid retired during the 11th hour of the race.
After seeing the No. 8 Toyota drop out of the battle at the head of the pack due to a front motor problem that forced it into the garage, the race-leading No. 7 Toyota was resigned to retirement during Hour 10 when Kamui Kobayashi lost power and ground to a halt on-track.
The No. 9 car shared by Nicolas Lapierre, Jose Maria Lopez and Yuji Kunimoto was left in second place, one lap down on the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid in the lead, but remained Toyota’s sole chance of taking a maiden victory.
Less than 20 minutes after Kobayashi hopped out of his No. 7 Toyota, the No. 9 hit trouble when it sustained a left-rear puncture that appeared to follow contact with an LMP2 car on the main straight.
The clash left Lapierre nursing his car in an attempt to return to the pits, but his efforts were in vain as the flailing tire only caused more damage to the rear of the car and even sparked a small fire at one stage, ultimately forcing him to come to a stop.
Lapierre managed to recycle the power on the No. 9 Toyota and got within sight of pit entry, only to be told to park up and bring the car to a halt by the team’s pit wall.
While the No. 8 Toyota is still running in the race, the two hours spent in the pits fixing the front motor issue mean is currently runs 54th overall.
The turn of events in the space of less than half an hour sparked emotional scenes up and down the pit lane, but most visibly in the Toyota garage, where team members appeared to be on the verge of tears.
With a little over 13 hours remaining in the race, the safety car is still out on-track to allow marshals to clear debris off the circuit following the incidents.
Nick Tandy currently leads in the No. 1 Porsche, enjoying an eight-lap buffer over the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, which could be in contention to claim an overall podium for an LMP2 car.
The No. 13 Rebellion Oreca is third, with Earl Bamber currently running 20th for Porsche in the next active LMP1 entry, currently 20th overall, with 10 laps to make up to the No. 31 Rebellion.
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Toyota’s hopes of a maiden 24 Hours of Le Mans victory took a major blow in Hour 10, as the race-leading No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid was struck down with clutch issues.
Entering his 154th lap shortly after a Safety Car to clear gravel from the circuit, Kobayashi suddenly slowed with the car stuck in first gear. The Japanese attempted to bring the car back to the pits, but came to a halt before the Porsche Curves.
Nick Tandy in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid now has a clear advantage of a lap over the third Toyota of Nicolas Lapierre, which made a scheduled pitstop just before the hour mark.
Earl Bamber will inherit third in class in the No. 2 Porsche, which runs 18 laps down in 21st overall after a hybrid problem.
Vaillante Rebellion has taken advantage of the high attrition rate in LMP1 to take third overall with its LMP2-leading No. 31 Oreca 07-Gibson.
Nicolas Prost has a 9 second lead over team-mate Mathias Beche, with the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Thomas Laurent a further 30 seconds behind in third.
The Safety Car was caused when Olivier Pla spun the No. 66 Ford at Indianapolis and scattered gravel all over the circuit after rejoining.
Ford’s problems were exacerbated by a downshift issue for the No. 67 Ford which resulted in a lengthy five minute pitstop and a drive-through penalty for a pitlane violation.
Once racing resumed, Aston Martin held first and second, with Daniel Serra in the No. 95 Vantage GTE leading Marco Sorensen in the No. 97, which has recovered from a puncture in Hour 4.
JMW Motorsport benefitted from making a ninth scheduled stop just before the Safety Car to pull out a three minute lead over the TF Sport Aston Martin.
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Toyota Gazoo Racing’s numbers advantage at the head of the field in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was wiped away towards the end of the eighth hour after a front motor issue emerged on the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
With night having now fallen at the Circuit de la Sarthe, Toyota’s No. 7 car leads the pack with Mike Conway behind the wheel, running around 40 seconds clear of the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Toyota had been running one-two ahead of Porsche before Sebastien Buemi reported a possible mechanical problem on the No. 8 car, resulting in a lot of back and forth conversation with the pit wall as he began to lose oil.
Buemi was unable to keep on pace with Conway and at the front and soon found himself coming under pressure from Porsche’s Neel Jani behind, losing more and more time.
Toyota eventually gave the call for Buemi to pit, with the Swiss driver’s front-right wheel exuding plumes of smoke while being refueled.
The team eventually opted to put the car up on jacks and wheel it into the garage, where it remained at the top of the eighth hour, boiling the battle for overall honors down to the No. 7 Toyota and the No. 1 Porsche.
Toyota’s third car, the No. 9, is now third, one lap down on the leaders. Buemi is currently classified fourth in the No. 8, but is expected to remain in the pits for around an hour while the front motor issue is resolved.
As the LMP1 runners hit trouble, the LMP2 leaders began to edge closer to the overall podium, still headed up by the pair of Vaillante Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibsons.
Nelson Piquet Jr. led in the No. 13 Oreca at the end of the eighth hour, 11 seconds clear of Bruno Senna in the No. 31, who was forced to give up the lead after a drive-through penalty for overtaking during a slow zone. Oliver Jarvis is a further half a minute back in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca.
Aston Martin Racing remains in control in GTE-Pro, leading with the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing continues to lurk, though, with the No. 67 Ford GT running 11 seconds behind in second place with Harry Tincknell.
A bizarre incident towards the end of the eighth hour saw Tommy Milner spin off at the Porsche Curves in the No. 64 Corvette C7.R, causing him to lose his rear wing. Milner spun again at pit entry and beached his car, requiring recovery and losing 10 minutes in the process.
There was a twist at the front of GTE-Am early in the eighth hour when Paul Dalla Lana suffered a puncture in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, causing him to drop back. This handed the class lead to Will Stevens in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE, with the ex-Formula 1 driver running ahead of Rob Bell in the No. 90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage.
The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is chasing down the race-leading Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid at the six hour mark of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has seen lengthy Slow Zones deployed after a large accident for the Risi Competizione Ferrari.
After taking over from Nick Tandy with 45 seconds deficit to Stephane Sarrazin’s No. 7 Toyota, Lotterer proceeded to steadily chip away at Sarrazin’s advantage, which stood at 26 seconds on the hour mark.
The No. 8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima is well within reach too, 30 seconds off the lead after a difficult stint for Anthony Davidson which saw the car fall over a minute behind Kobayashi.
The third Toyota driven by Yuji Kunimoto was forced to make an unscheduled stop to repair a loose door and sits over four minutes adrift in fourth.
The lead in LMP2 has changed several times between the two Vaillante Rebellion teammates, with the No. 31 Oreca 07-Gibson of Bruno Senna making best use of the Slow Zones to emerge from the last round of pitstops with a 90 second buffer over Nelson Piquet Jr in the sister No. 13 car.
After Thomas Laurent lost time with an overshoot at Indianapolis which forced an unscheduled stop, Ho-Pin Tung has recovered the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca to third, passing the No. 35 Signatech-Alpine A470-Gibson of Pierre Ragues.
Mathieu Vaxivierre ran 12th in the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca at the turn of the hour, but was due to serve a seven minute stop/go penalty for causing the second major incident involving a P2 and GTE car in the race so far.
Having passed Miguel Molina’s No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE on the approach to the first chicane on the Mulsanne, Vaxivierre moved left to take his line but clipped Pierre Kaffer’s Risi Competizione Ferrari, which was sent hard into the barriers.
Kaffer emerged from the car unhurt, but the Risi car was destroyed. The accident also resulted in barrier damage that took almost an hour to repair.
Aston Martin continue to lead the GTE-Pro class with Darren Turner now behind the wheel of the No. 95 Vantage GTE, 25 seconds up on Andy Priaulx in the No. 67 Ford.
On his first outing for Corvette Racing at Le Mans since 2009, Marcel Fassler had passed Alessandro Pier Guidi’s Ferrari for third and was piling the pressure on Priaulx until he pitted shortly before the hour mark, promoting Stefan Muecke in the No. 66 Ford, which was delayed by a puncture early in the race.
The No. 98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana enjoys a 15 second advantage in the GTE-Am ranks over Rob Smith’s JMW Motorsport Ferrari, but has been placed under investigation for pitlane speeding.
Salih Yoluc runs third in the TF Sport Aston Martin ahead of Cooper MacNeil, who is coming to the end of a double-stint in the No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, and Christian Reid’s Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche.
Kamui Kobayashi continues to lead the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Toyota with one-sixth of the race now complete following an hour that saw Porsche and Aston Martin Racing both hit trouble.
Porsche managed to get its No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid up into second place at the fourth round of pit stops, with Nick Tandy moving ahead of Anthony Davidson, who struggled for pace throughout his stint in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
While Tandy remains over half a minute back from Kobayashi after the fifth round of stops, completed just before the four-hour mark, it was nevertheless an important gain for Porsche to make in breaking Toyota’s stranglehold at the front.
The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid’s hopes of also getting in the mix were dashed midway through the fourth hour when Earl Bamber experienced a loss of drive on his car due to a problem on the front axle.
The Kiwi got back to the pits before Porsche wheeled the car back into the garage and put it up on jacks. At the time of writing, the car continues to be serviced, having spent half an hour in the pits.
With Porsche’s No. 2 car hitting trouble, Vaillante Rebellion Racing was able to move into the top five overall as it continued to lead LMP2, with David Heinemeier-Hansson leading in the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson ahead of the sister No. 31 car, piloted by Julien Canal at the turn of the hour.
Porsche was not the only manufacturer to hit trouble in the fourth hour, with Aston Martin Racing suffering a big setback in its chase for class honors in GTE-Pro.
After taking over from fellow Dane Nicki Thiim in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage towards the end of the second hour, Marco Sorensen managed to build on the lead he inherited over the sister No. 97 Aston Martin, enjoying an advantage of 12 seconds at one stage.
Coming down the Mulsanne Straight, Sorensen suffered a left-rear puncture on his car, forcing him to slow to a crawl. With a large distance to make it back to the pit lane, the former GP2 racer dropped all the way to the back of the class, spurning a strong position.
Sorensen’s demise threw the lead in GTE-Pro over to Daniel Serra in the second Aston Martin, who was being hounded by Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Harry Tincknell in the No. 67 Ford GT.
The battle between the two cars continued following the second set of full services that saw the No. 66 Ford GT also come into the mix, jumping into the class lead with Billy Johnson. Jonny Adam currently runs second in the No. 97 Aston Martin, with Pipo Derani third after taking over from Tincknell.
GTE-Am sees Dries Vanthoor currently lead for JMW Motorsport in the No. 84 Ferrari 488 GTE, with the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE just 2.4 seconds back in the hands of Mathias Lauda.
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Roman Rusinov continued his difficult start to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in Hour 2, as he crashed the LMP2 pole-sitting No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07-Gibson at the Porsche Curves.
Fighting back from a slow start and an out-of-sequence pitstop following a spin at the Ford chicane, Rusinov misjudged a pass on Khalid Al Qubaisi’s Proton Competition Porsche and took both cars into the SAFER barriers.
Rusinov made it back to the pits with broken rear-suspension, but the damage proved too heavy to repair, while the Porsche has also been retired from the race.
The accident resulted in damage to the SAFER barrier and caused a lengthy Slow Zone in sector 8.
Toyota Gazoo Racing continue to lead the race outright in LMP1, with Mike Conway 3.9 seconds ahead of team-mate Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with all the leaders having completed two pitstops each.
Conway regained the lead shortly after the turn of the hour on the Mulsanne Straight.
Neel Jani is third in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, 24 seconds off the lead, ahead of Timo Bernhard fourth in the No. 2 Porsche and Nicolas Lapierre in the No. 9 Toyota.
ByKolles Racing are a confirmed retirement following engine issues for the team’s ENSO CLM P1/01 – Nismo.
Nicolas Prost has taken over from Bruno Senna at the wheel of the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca and leads in LMP2 by 17.8 seconds from teammate Mathias Beche in the No. 13 car.
Thomas Laurent is third in the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne’s No. 24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Oreca and the second Jackie Chan DC Racing entry of Alex Brundle.
In GTE-Pro, the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marco Sorensen continues to lead, with Olivier Pla second at the hour mark after an early second stop to replace a puncture.
Michael Christensen has moved up to third in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR, with Daniel Serra in the No. 97 Aston Martin slipping back to fourth.
Bill Sweedler has a 6.3 second lead over Paul Dalla Lana in the GTE-Am classification, with Salih Yoluc running third in the TF Sport Aston Martin.
Sebastien Buemi leads the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Toyota Gazoo Racing after one hour of racing, fighting back from a poor start to take the lead after the opening round of pit stops in LMP1.
Starting in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Buemi slipped behind Porsche’s Neel Jani on the run down to the first corner, leaving teammate Mike Conway exposed at the front in the No. 7 Toyota.
Conway managed to pull clear through the first stint, opening up a three second lead over Jani in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid at one point, with Buemi sitting just behind the Swiss driver.
Buemi was the first of the leading drivers to stop, coming in at the end of Lap 12 for a top up of fuel before pushing hard after coming out of the pit lane.
Conway and Jani came in for their first stop one lap later, both taking fuel. Buemi initially split the pair, but was able to close up on the leader when Conway made a mistake at the first chicane.
The two Toyotas went side-by-side through the Dunlop Curves, with Buemi eventually getting a slipsteam and managing to make a pass for the lead on the run to Indianapolis.
With the first hour complete, Buemi sat 1.5 seconds clear of Conway at the front, with Jani a further three seconds back. Timo Bernhard ran fourth in the No. 2 Porsche, while the No. 9 Toyota was a distant fifth after suffering damage on the first lap when Nicolas Lappiere hit a cone.
LMP2 saw Vaillante Rebellion Racing take advantage of a slow stop for the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson to vault into the lead. A starter issue on the stop dropped Oliver Jarvis into the pack, leaving Bruno Senna to run nine seconds clear at the front of class.
CEFC Manor TRS Racing drivers Vitaly Petrov and Jean-Eric Vergne both made strong starts to the race, running second and third in class, while Jarvis was able to battle his way back up to P4 by the end of the first hour.
Aston Martin Racing made a strong start to the race in GTE-Pro as Nicki Thiim and Darren Turner ran one-two in the Aston Martin Vantage GTEs. Thiim was able to pull out a four-second lead over Turner, who acted as the cork in the bottle for GTE-Pro as the pack closed up.
Alessandro Pier Guidi sat third in class for AF Corse in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE ahead of Kevin Estre and Stefan Muecke for Porsche GT Team and Ford Chip Ganassi Racing respectively.
Townsend Bell led in GTE-AM for Scuderia Corsa in the No. 52 Ferrari 488 GTE, getting the jump on early leader Fernando Rees of Larbre Competition. Rees sat two seconds behind Bell at the end of the first hour, with Rob Bell running third for TF Sport.