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Race report
Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Le Mans 24h, H6: Porsche leads Ferrari as darkness falls

Porsche led the Le Mans 24 Hours after six hours, but Ferrari and Peugeot remained well involved in the lead battle as darkness descended on the Circuit de la Sarthe.

#75 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963 of Felipe Nasr, Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy

Nick Tandy was at the head of the field aboard the #75 Porsche 963 as the race reached quarter-distance, 1.7s ahead of the #51 Ferrari 499P of Alessandro Pier Guidi, shortly before making a pitstop.

Following the safety car intervention that lasted one hour 25 minutes, the strategies in the Hypercar class diverged, as a number of cars failed to switch back to slicks on the drying track before the pits were closed ahead of the restart.

Among this group were the Toyota GR010 HYBRIDs, which appeared to be preparing to come in before the wave-by and drop-back procedures began.

That meant both the #8 car of Brendon Hartley and the #7 car of Jose Maria Lopez had to make their stops as the race resumed, along with the #6 Porsche 963 of Kevin Estre.

Peugeot led the way at this juncture with Gustavo Menezes at the wheel of the #94 9X8, staying out for another lap before coming in - joined by the #75 car of Tandy - which handed the advantage to the cars that had managed to pit for slicks under the safety car.

This included the Jota Porsche, both Ferraris, the #5 Porsche and the #93 Peugeot, but the last-named dropped out of the lead fight when Jean-Eric Vergne spun exiting Mulsanne corner and had to be recovered.

Ye took over the lead and was pulling away from Dane Cameron in the works Porsche, until he suffered a spectacular off at the Porsche Curves that left the Hertz-sponsored #38 machine with significant rear-end damage.

Cameron was then hit with a drive-through penalty for overtaking under yellows, which put Ferrari back into a one-two as the race entered the sixth hour.

Miguel Molina in the #50 machine led his opposite number Antonio Giovinazzi in the #51 car, with the two swapping places before making their pitstops just shy of the six-hour mark.

That briefly promoted the two Toyotas back into the lead, before they too came in, putting Tandy in the #75 Porsche ahead after six hours from the two Ferraris, now in the hands of Pier Guidi and Nicklas Nielsen respectively.

Loic Duval had the #94 Peugeot in fourth place, followed by Alex Lynn in the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R, which also managed to stop behind the safety car, and the Toyotas of Hartley and Lopez.

Porsche's other contenders suffered misfortune as Cameron had to stop on track with a sensor failure, while the #6 car was delayed with a slow puncture when Laurens Vanthoor was at the wheel.

In the LMP2 class, Inter Europol Competition led at the six-hour mark with Jakub Smiechowski at the wheel of the #34 ORECA, inheriting the lead when the #28 Jota car of Oliver Rasmussen made his most recent stop.

Oliver Jarvis also had the #23 United Autosports car in the thick of the lead battle, running on an alternate strategy having pitted under green after the safety car restart along with the #41 WRT car of Louis Deletraz.

GTE Am was led by the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Giacomo Petrobelli ahead of the #85 Iron Dames Porsche of Michelle Gatting.

The Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 was running 41st overall, behind six of the GTE Am cars, with NASCAR Cup legend Jimmie Johnson at the wheel.

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