Formula 1
28 Mar
FP1 in
26 days
R
Emilia Romagna GP
18 Apr
Race in
49 days
MotoGP
28 Mar
FP1 in
26 days
R
Doha GP
02 Apr
Next event in
33 days
Formula E
27 Feb
Race in
00 Hours
:
35 Minutes
:
49 Seconds
IndyCar
R
Birmingham
16 Apr
Next event in
47 days
23 Apr
Next event in
54 days

Le Mans 24h: Lopez stretches lead at two-thirds distance

Jose Maria Lopez pulled away from teammate Kazuki Nakajima to put the #7 Toyota some 80 seconds clear of the sister car as the Le Mans 24 Hours reached two-thirds distance.

shares
comments
Le Mans 24h: Lopez stretches lead at two-thirds distance

Fernando Alonso took over the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid from Sebastien Buemi just after the halfway mark but the two-time Formula 1 World Champion’s stint was blighted by a door that needed replacing which cost him an extra 26sec, and he also lost time to teammate Kamui Kobayashi thanks to a slow zone.

After 15 hours, with multiple World Touring Car champion Lopez now driving the #7, the pair had completed their 21st pitstops of the race and ran 63sec apart, three laps ahead of the #3 Rebellion Racing R-13 of Thomas Laurent who was 1min45 ahead of Mikhail Aleshin in the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1. The second Rebellion car driven by Neel Jani ran eight laps behind.

Alonso spent 3h15min at wheel before handing over to Nakajima at the 15h20min mark. After their 22nd stops, Lopez led his teammate by 69sec, while after a full-course yellow for a spinning GTE Am Porsche, the gap was extended to 80sec.

The ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01 retired at 4am with a shifter issue, joining the DragonSpeed BR1 on the sidelines and reducing the car count in LMP1 to five.

LMP2: G-Drive still on top

At the 14th hour, the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca Jean-Eric Vergne continued to lead Signatech’s Alpine driven by Nicolas Lapierre by 100sec.

Anthony Davidson (DragonSpeed Oreca) was passed for third by Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Stephane Richelmi but sadly there was also bad news for the Jota-run team, as its other car, with Ricky Taylor at the wheel, had to retire with gearbox failure.

In fifth, therefore, ran the TDS Racing Oreca in the hands of Loic Duval, while in sixth was the top Ligier of United Autosports, steered by Filipe Albuquerque.

The sister United car has suffered alternator issues, and then when Alex Brundle was at the wheel, a sudden tyre deflation in the 16th hour sent the car into a high-speed spin, and then a low-speed limp to the pits.

The gap between G-Drive and Signatech was down to 90sec as the race completed its 16th hour with Aubry a similar distance behind in third.

DragonSpeed (Pastor Maldonado) and TDS Racing (Matthieu Vaxiviere) completed the top five, while ex-F1 driver Paul di Resta was at the wheel of United’s lead Ligier.

GTE: Race-leading Porsche hits trouble

The #51 AF Corse Ferrari then driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi moved into the lead in the 13th hour when the class-leading #92 Porsche 911 RSR, driven by Kevin Estre, made a 20min pit stop for a new exhaust and new brakes.

The Ferrari 488 was then left 80sec clear of the fight between the #93 Porsche of Nick Tandy and his #91-mounted teammate Gianmaria Bruni.

These two were chased by Antonio Garcia in the Corvette C7.R and three Ford GTs.

After 15 hours, James Calado in the Ferrari was still leading but had had his lead whittled down to 19sec by Richard Lietz in the #91 Porsche, with Jan Magnussen a further 20sec back in the #63 Corvette.

Nick Tandy ran fourth in the #93 Porsche, 15sec back, with Richard Westbrook, Dirk Muller and Harry Tincknell in Fords #69, #68 and #67.

Approaching the completion of the 16th hour, Westbrook had to pit the #69 Ford for a new radio, and fell to seventh in class.

AF Corse’s class-leading Ferrari fell to fourth at the top of the hour after being first to pit but Lietz, Magnussen and Pilet were all expected to pit imminently.

The Keating Motorsports Ford GT continued to run well clear of its closest opposition in GTE Am, which at the 14th hour changed as the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage piloted by Euan Hankey spun into the sandtrap at Mulsanne corner.

By the time Hankey was dragged out, headed to the pit and sent on his way again he had dropped outside the top five.

That allowed JMW Motorsport’s Ferrari 488 into second with Jeff Segal at the wheel, but he was well over a lap behind, chased by Egidio Perfetti in the Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR.

WeatherTech Racing’s Ferrari, driven by Rob Smith, was up into fourth ahead of Matteo Cressoni’s Clearwater Racing Ferrari.

Ben Keating, who needed to run five of the last 9.5 hours to fulfill his minimum drive time, took over the beautiful purple Wynn’s Ford just after 5.30am, which was supposedly the chance for pursuers to make inroads. But the Texan was immediately matching the laptimes of his immediate pursuers, Perfetti, Segal, and the Clearwater Racing Ferrari of Matt Griffin, and was barely slower than Toni Vilander in the WeatherTech Ferrari 488.

Read Also:

Le Mans 24h: #7 Toyota leads at halfway, Porsche top in GTE Pro

Previous article

Le Mans 24h: #7 Toyota leads at halfway, Porsche top in GTE Pro

Next article

Le Mans 24h: Toyota firmly on course for one-two finish

Le Mans 24h: Toyota firmly on course for one-two finish
Load comments

About this article

Series Le Mans
Event 24 Hours of Le Mans
Author David Malsher-Lopez
Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile Prime

Why Ferrari is ending its 50-year top-flight sportscar racing exile

Making a return to top-flight sportscar racing after 50 years away, Ferrari will enter the Le Mans Hypercar ranks in 2023. The Italian marque denies the link with Formula 1's new cost cap that frees up resources, but it's certainly no coincidence...

WEC
Feb 25, 2021
Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights Prime

Oliver Gavin's Corvette Racing highlights

Oliver Gavin has stepped down from the full-time Corvette Racing line-up after a stellar career with the team spanning nearly 20 years. He looks back on a stint that encompassed, among other successes, five Le Mans 24 Hours victories.

Le Mans
Jan 28, 2021
How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends Prime

How Tandy joined an exclusive club of endurance legends

Victory at last year's Spa 24 Hours meant Nick Tandy had completed the unofficial sextuple crown of the world's six biggest endurance races, becoming the first Briton to do so. Ahead of his fresh start with Corvette Racing, he explains how he did it…

Le Mans
Jan 24, 2021
The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home Prime

The cherished curios kept by motorsport's professionals at home

Keeping trophies and momentos of key triumphs is par for the course for motorsport professionals, but what are the most cherished souvenirs picked up by the drivers and engineers who have seen and done it all?

General
Dec 26, 2020
The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era Prime

The Porsche icon that forged sportscar racing's greatest era

Porsche is returning to the top class of Le Mans with an LMDh prototype that it hopes will write its next successful chapter in sportscar racing. But it will have to go some to emulate its 956/962, a car which defines the Group C age more than any other.

Le Mans
Dec 16, 2020
How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend Prime

How Tom Kristensen forged his ‘Mr Le Mans’ legend

He is synonymous with success at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but Tom Kristensen's sportscar legacy amounts to much more than his record-breaking nine Le Mans wins, as the most successful driver ever at Sebring and a world champion to boot…

Le Mans
Dec 7, 2020
Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars Prime

Why Audi’s shock return promises a new age for sportscars

OPINION: The news that Audi will return to Le Mans means we'll at last get to see the fight promised in 2012 against Peugeot and Toyota. It also gives LMDh a tangible form, which could open the floodgates for more like-minded marques to follow suit…

WEC
Dec 1, 2020
The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season Prime

The eternal debate revived after the 2019/20 WEC season

It may have been missed amid the clamour over Lewis Hamilton's seventh F1 title, but Britain had another world champion crowned last weekend. Mike Conway's WEC crown raises an old conundrum - does title glory make up for the pain of Le Mans defeat?

WEC
Nov 19, 2020