LM24 8 Hour Report: Peugeot retakes lead as No. 51 Ferrari spins
The thrilling action continues at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of FIA WEC. Below are the main headlines from the first eight hours of racing…
- Ferrari AF Corse had taken lead of 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours in fifth hour as track dries out following earlier heavy rainfall.
- No.50 and No.51 499P’s take turns in lead before second significant shower hits track at just after 22.00hrs.
- Alessandro Pier Guidi completes his second stints at the wheel and is able to open up solid gap to ensure No.51 Ferrari 499P lead by a minute.
- But drama on stroke of midnight as Pier Guidi spins in to gravel at first Mulsanne Chicane while trying to avoid an accident ahead of him.
- This allows Nico Muller through in to the lead in the No.94 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 Hypercar. Earlier Loic Duval took over from Gustavo Menezes and he consolidated the position over the No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid Hypercar.
- Jose-Maria Lopez had survived nasty moment coming in to pitlane when he almost hits several cars on entry. Kamui Kobayashi then took over the cockpit.
- But Kobayashi is involved in an accident with two LMP2 cars and the No.66 JMW Ferrari on approach to Tertre Rouge. No.7 Toyota is left stranded on track and tumbles down order.
- The No.50 Ferrari 499P, racing on a different overall strategy and switches early to slicks at start of eighth hour. Nicklas Nielsen runs in second place.
- No.2 Cadillac Racing V Series.R. runs in third place with Earl Bamber back for second stint at wheel.
- No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid Hypercar sits in fifth position ahead of the recovering No.3 Cadillac V Series.R.
- Hertz Team Jota, who had led the race in the fourth hour see their chances of a top result compromised with an accident for Yifei Ye at the Porsche Curves.
- Chinese ace impacts the wall but team do herculean job to make repairs and car only loses 20 minutes in pits. Gold Porsche 963 runs 13th as midnight strikes.
- No.5 Porsche Penske loses time with a sensor problem which briefly stops Dane Cameron on the track before the issue is cleared by team in the pits. Recovery drive is underway and car place seventh at midnight.
- Sister No.6 Porsche 963 Hypercar suffers a puncture with Kevin Estre at the wheel and they place eighth.
- No.93 Peugeot TotalEnergies 9X8 is ninth despite Jean-Eric Vergne losing time with spin in to gravel at Mulsanne Corner under safety car.
- Terminal problems for the No.75 Porsche Penske with Mathieu Jaminet aboard as he is forced to stop at Tertre Rouge with a fuel pressure issue and drops to rear of Hypercar class as French ace struggles to get car back to the pits. Car is retired just after 11pm.
- The Glickenhaus pair of 007LMH cars encounter drama as the No.709 is forced to pit with a loose wheel as Nathanael Berthon takes over car which slips to 12th in Hypercar.
- No.709 also gets a 60-second stop/go penalty for a tyre pressure infraction.
- No.708 car places 11th after serving a 5-minute stop and go penalty for causing a collision just ahead of sister Glickenhaus.
- LMP2 is turned on its head as night time descends on La Sarthe as No.34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca-Gibson takes over in lead as Albert Costa, Fabio Scherer and Jakub Smiechowski come out on top in complex strategy game at front of field.
- United Autosports close in on the leaders however as Tom Blomqvist makes in roads on Polish run Oreca-Gibson.
- Blomqvist takes lead but almost immediately goes off and damages car after suspected brake issue. Josh Pierson takes over but car slides down to 17th in class, handing lead back to the Inter Europol Competition car.
- No.41 Team WRT entry recovers from rear end damage in first rain shower to briefly lead LMP2 class. Robert Kubica gets second stint at wheel to place second.
- ‘Zebra’ liveried AF Corse place fourth behind the No.35 Alpine ELF Team entry which survives gravelly excursion at Mulsanne Corner in seventh hour. AF Corse also highest placed Pro/Am line-up in field.
- Drama at Indianapolis in seventh hour as Racing for Turkey car driven by Salih Yoluc and No.9 Prema collide during heavy shower. Prema entry comes off the worst and loses several laps as repairs are carried out.
- Front running Jota Oreca-Gibson loses time after Oliver Rasmussen crashes at Tertre Rouge as rain arrives. Team gets car back out and Pietro Fittipaldi runs ixth.
- More woes for the No.22 United Autosports entry as Frederick Lubin goes off at Indianapolis during rain shower. But car continues in 19thplace in LMP2.
- After heavy rain shower the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari emerges back in the lead with David Rigon completing epic triple stint.
- But Rigon then hands over to teammate Francesco Castellacci giving the lead over to the Iron Dames Porsche.
- Sarah Bovy takes over from Rahel Frey to take over in the lead as race endures long second Safety Car period to complete new pass around system.
- But it’s the No.56 Project 1 AO Racing ‘Rexy’ Porsche 911 RSR-19 that has the lead at midnight as tight battle between the three continues.
- Iron Dames settle in to second ahead of the AF Corse Ferrari now with Rigon back aboard.
- No.57 Kessel Racing Ferrari is fourth with Scott Huffaker aboard, while the No.911 with film star Michael Fassbender among its driver squad places fifth.
- No.72 TF Sport Aston Martin retires after Arnold Robin crashes.
- The Hendrick Motorsports run Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 sits 38th overall with Jimmy Johnson at the wheel as NASCAR continues to wow Le Mans as it utilises intermediate Goodyear tyres.
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