Le Mans After 12 Hours: No.8 Toyota Leads; Porsche on Top in LMGTE Pro
Ryo Hirakawa heads countryman Kamui Kobayashi at the halfway stage of the 2022 Le Mans 24 Hours...
Advantage swings towards the No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing crewed GR010 Hybrid Hypercar in the early hours of Sunday morning as the halfway mark is reached at Le Mans.
Ryo Hirakawa holds 15-second advantage over chasing Kamui Kobayashi as Toyota Gazoo Racing continue to run 1-2.
Corvette Racing misfortune allows Porsche to take control in LMGTE Pro category as No.92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 has healthy lead.
LMP2 continues to see No.38 JOTA Oreca-Gibson with large lead ahead of No.9 Prema Orlen Team car in full darkness hours at Le Mans.
WeatherTech Porsche lose lead in LMGTE Am class as TF Sport take over at the front just before halfway stage.
Headlines from the 90th 24 Hours of Le Mans After 12 Hours….
- Battle of the Toyotas continues apace as No.7 GR010 Hybrid Hypercar and No.8 car run closely through to Sunday morning at Le Mans
- Kamui Kobayashi and Ryo Hirakawa hand over to Mike Conway and Sebastien Buemi in eighth hour
- Buemi jumps Conway in pits but British ace makes it through and is able to open a small lead
- Brendon Hartley takes over cockpit just after midnight and immediately gets an advantage over No.7 car which has to take a slow zone after pit stop driver change from Mike Conway to Jose-Maria Lopez
- Ryo Hirakawa and Kamui Kobayashi take over the No.7 and No.8 cockpits at 03.00am respectively
- Drama for No.708 Glickenhaus Racing entry as Olivier Pla spins at Tertre Rouge on out lap at 23.20hrs
- Pla crabs his car back to the pits with damage and team make repairs but 11-minutes are lost meaning a drop to 16th position overall but Pla and Derani strike back and get up to 8th overall by 4.00am
- No.709 Glickenhaus Racing 007LMH car jumps troubled sister car but sits two laps in arrears to the Toyotas to ensure Ryan Briscoe, Franck Mailleux and Richard Westbrook place third overall and in Hypercar
- Alpine ELF Team remains fifth in class after encountering clutch and other issues earlier in race. They also run 22nd overall.
- Porsche GT Team takes control of LMGTE Pro as Corvette Racing hit difficulties
- No.92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 opens up healthy lead over No.51 AF Corse Ferrari after No.64 loses time for front brake change
- Michael Christensen survives quick spin at Mulsanne Corner at 01.35am before handing over to Laurens Vanthoor who steadies gap and enjoys a 1m36s advantage at the front
- Heartbreak for the No.63 Corvette Racing entry as it suffers a suspension breakage while in second position just as the eighth hour arrives
- Car slips to rear of field as Corvette Racing team works on fixing left rear assembly but re-emerges at tail of field
- No.64 Corvette fights back with Alexander Sims being fastest in several stages of the early hours as he hunts down the third placed No.51 AF Corse Ferrari of Daniel Serra and claims position
- Nick Tandy is aboard the second placed Corvette as 4.00am arrives
- No.91 Porsche earlier vaulted the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari just after midnight and is able to run second behind sister No.92 car through to halfway mark of race
- No.52 AF Corse Ferrari suffers problems after puncture for Miguel Molina and loses time but runs in fifth place in class
- Riley Motorsports trio of Sam Bird, Shane van Gisbergen and Felipe Fraga promoted to sixth position in class after No.63 Corvette problems
- No.38 JOTA’s large advantage is extended after flawless stints by Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Will Stevens
- Team also gets more slow zone fortune and sees gap to second placed Prema Orlen Team car expand to over two-minutes
- Robert Kubica takes over the cockpit of the No.9 entry and enters into a fight with the recovering No.31 WRT entry with pole-setter Robin Frijns at the wheel
- Frijns completes triple stint to hand car over to Sean Gelael at 02.00am in second place after team fights back from one-minute penalty in the first hour
- But Prema usurps WRT to run in second position but three minutes behind the leading JOTA car
- No.28 JOTA entry sits in fourth position with Oliver Rasmussen just holding off Team Penske’s Felipe Nasr
- Cool Racing Oreca-Gibson runs as high as fourth in pit stops and runs in tight group with Panis Racing and recovering No.23 United Autosports USA entries.
- ARC Bratislava establish lead in LMP2 Pro/Am division after problems are encountered by points leading No.83 AF Corse entry
- WeatherTech Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 held significant advantage in LMGTE Am until the 12th hour when a slow lap allows TF Sport to leap ahead
- Earlier WeatherTech’s bronze categorised driver Thomas Merrill impressed as he consolidated his lead and was able to minimise any significant loss of the gap the team had worked for
- But the Dane starts to made inroads and reduced the gap between 2am and 3am as he tracked Cooper MacNeil and trimmed gap before Henrique Chaves was able to capitalise just before the halfway mark is reached
- No.98 Northwest AMR races in fourth position as Paul Dalla Lana undertakes night running in the early hours before handing over to David Pittard and then Nicki Thiim
- Hardpoint Motorsport Porsche 911 RSR-19 continues impressive run as Martin Rump runs third in class
- Hardpoint though get 5-second penalty for not respecting slow zone period although they maintain position before getting ahead of No.98 Aston in to third
- Early leaders, the No.77 Dempsey Proton Porsche 911 RSR-19 in tight battle with No.56 Project 1 Porsche for fifth place, which the latter takes at 03.45am
- Retirements for D’Station Aston Martin and No.71 Spirit of Race cars after technical issues
- Michael Fassbender’s adventurous Le Mans continues with two further excursions, one via contact from the Vincent Abril driven No.61 AF Corse Ferrari and another into the gravel
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