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24 Hours of Le Mans H+16: Alert at Toyota, Porsche at fault

At 8 a.m. this Sunday, the Japanese experienced a hiccup in their recital: #7 was hit. In LMGTE Pro, Porsche cracked and Corvette took advantage.

In the hypercar, the Japanese team’s rookie Ryo Hirakawa, on the leading Toyota GR010 Hybrid #8, was brought up by his compatriot Kobayashi on the sister car, at first, conceding a few tenths per lap. The positions are finally reversed in favor of the 18th pit stop. The first of the Glickenhaus is four towers. But at 7:47 a.m., the Toyota’s march was abruptly stopped when #7 was stopped shortly after Arnage, then in its pit which it managed to reach.

At 4 a.m. this morning, the Oreca 07 – Gibson #27 lost its left front wheel at Mulsanne. Steven Palette manages to rally his stand. A quarter of an hour later, the front bonnet of WRT #31 was changed. Its driver René Rast made good use of this new part by passing Emmanuel Collard (Oreca 07-Gibson #5 from Team Penske) to gain 5th place. During this time, the #30 of Duqueine Team spent long minutes immobilized in its pit, definitively losing any chance of doing well.

Shortly before 5 a.m., Jean-Baptiste Lahaye lost control of his car in the Porsche bends. He can return to his pit to repair the damaged front end of his Oreca #35. This exit from the road triggers a slow zone which will last several tens of minutes, in order to clear the track of debris from the car and the sign that it exploded. The representative of the Ultimate team is still slowed down two hours later, for a puncture.

A few minutes after 6 a.m. on Sunday morning, Nicolas Jamin (Oreca 07 – Gibson #65 from Panis Racing), then in the fight for the top 5 LMP2, pulled straight at Mulsanne where he remained planted against the wall. His car is freed from the gravel pit by a lifting device.

At 6:44 a.m., Sébastien Bourdais (Oreca 07 – Gibson #10) closed the door to Sean Gelael (Oreca 07 – Gibson #31), when he was about to take an extra lap. The collision is inevitable and the two prototypes spin off at the Daytona chicane.

Thanks to the night and pit stops, the #51 Ferrari and #64 Corvette returned to the game in LMGTE Pro. In first and second place at sunrise, they stay within range of Porsche #92. Milner, on the American, ended up taking the advantage over Pier Guidi (Ferrari), who immediately found himself under threat from Christensen (Porsche). The German driver loses contact when he misses braking at Mulsanne. He was skilled enough to cross the gravel trap without staying there, and regained 2nd place when Milner stopped for the 15th refueling of the #64 Corvette. When Christensen repeated the same mistake at 7:38 a.m., he was penalized with a high-speed puncture that instantly slid off and seriously damaged the Porsche.

While the #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMR consolidates its lead in the LMGTE Am class, the #59 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo is idling on the track, then stopped after Arnage without its driver Alexander West being able to restart it.

Julien Andlauer and Thomas Merrill sounded the charge to reposition their #79 Weathertech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 in the lead, ahead of the #99 Hardpoint Motorsport and the #98 and #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMRs, in that order. The Aston Martins took the lead at the next pit stop.

Top 5 at 8 hours (general classification) :

  1. Toyota GR010 Hybrid #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa – 259 laps
  2. Toyota GR010 Hybrid #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/José Maria López, 1 lap down
  3. Glickenhaus 007 LMH #709 Glickenhaus Racing – Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook/Franck Mailleux, 3 laps down
  4. Oreca 07 – Gibson #38 JOTA – Roberto Gonzáles/António Félix Da Costa/Will Stevens, at 7 laps, 1st LMP2
  5. Oreca 07-Gibson #9 Robert Kubica/Louis Delétraz/Lorenzo Colombo Prema Orlen Team, at 8 laps

The leaders of the other categories :

  • LMGTE Pro: #64 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R Tommy Milner/Nick Tandy/Alexander Sims Corvette Racing, 238 laps
  • LMGTE Am: #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMR Ben Keating/Henrique Chaves/Marco Sørensen TF Sport, 233 laps

Dropouts at 8 a.m. :

  • #46 Porsche 911 RSR-19 Matteo Cairoli/Mikkel Pedersen/Nicolas Leutwiler Team Project 1 – Engine failure
  • #71 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Franck Dezoteux/Pierre Ragues/Gabriel/Aubry Spirit of Race – Engine problem
  • #59 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo Alexander West/Come Ledogar/Marvin Klein Inception Racing – Mechanical failure on track

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