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Race report
Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Le Mans 24h, H18: Porsche surges ahead of Toyota as safety car returns

Porsche jumped ahead of Toyota with a well-timed pitstop to take the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours at the three-fourth mark, as a major crash for Aston Martin brought back the safety car.

The factory #6 Porsche Penske 963 of Laurens Vanthoor was circulating a few seconds clear of the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID driven by Ryo Hirakawa after 18 hours of racing at Le Mans, with marshals still replacing the barriers at Indianapolis under the caution period.

Heart of Racing driver Daniel Mancinelli was being lapped by the #51 Ferrari LMH car when the Italian lost control of the #27 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 on his own and slammed heavily into the barriers, with his car going airbone and landing upside down on the track.

Mancinelli walked away unscathed from the crash, but the SC had to be deployed to recover the car and replace the tyre barriers at the inside of the banked left-hander.

The #6 Porsche of Vanthoor was leading the race by 18s when the SC bunched the field back up, having jumped the #8 Toyota in the previous round of pitstops.

Ironically, it was a crash for the sister #4 Penske car that had helped Vanthoor circle into the lead, with the Belgian pitting under a slow zone caused by Felipe Nasr losing the rear-end of his 963 on slick tyres into Indianapolis. The incident put the additional Penske IMSA entry out of the race.

The #8 Toyota had been leading the Hypercar class until that point, with Hirakawa having made a clean restart in the 17th hour after the racing finally resumed after a four-hour safety car period.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Hirakawa had pitted a few laps before Nasr’s off in green conditions, which allowed Vanthoor to jump into the lead, but was still running a comfortable second ahead of the sister #7 car driven by Nyck de Vries. 

De Vries was the first Hypercar runner to switch to slick tyres as he was already due to make a pitstop, having been running out of kilter with its rivals. However, that also meant that he had to return to the pitlane under the safety car for more fuel, which dropped him down the order.

The #2 Cadillac was the main beneficiary as Earl Bamber assumed third place, but he is yet to complete his pitstop. Fourth place is being held by the #5 Porsche of Frederic Makoweicki, who fended off Robert Shwartzman in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari before the safety car period.

The #50 Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco was running right behind the duo and continues to hold sixth, ahead of the #7 Toyota now driven by de Vries’ team-mate Kamui Kobayashi.

The LMP2 class featured a number of changes in the last three hours, as the order shuffled during every pitstop phase.

At the end of hour 18, Ben Barnicoat was back in front in the #183 AF Corse ORECA-07, ahead of the #22 United Autosports car now driven by Oliver Jarvis.

Vector Sport also made headways after putting platinum-rated Patrick Pilet in the car, while the #37 Cool Racing dropped to fourth as Lorenzo Fluxa took over.

In LMGT3, the class-leading #92 Manthey PureRxcing Porsche 911 GT3 R dropped out of contention with gearbox issues, as Klaus Bachler brought the car into the garage shortly after the race went green again. It took 24 minutes for the German squad to fix the problem, which meant it lost five laps and in the lower regions of the top 20. 

The sister #91 Manthey EMA Porsche of Richard Lietz took over the baton from Bachler, but dropped to third late in the 18th hour after making a pitstop.

That put Gregoire Saucy in front in the #59 United Autosports McLaren 720S GT3, ahead of the #87 ASP Lexus RC F GT3 of Jack Hawksworth.

Results after Hour 18:

POS # CLASS TEAM CAR LAPS GAPS
1 6 Hypercar H PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT
 
Porsche 963
221 -
2 8 Hypercar H TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
 
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
221 1.386
3 2 Hypercar H CADILLAC RACING
 
Cadillac V-Series.R
221 2:25.244
4 5 Hypercar H PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT
 
Porsche 963
221 2:26.548
5 83 Hypercar H AF CORSE
 
Ferrari 499P
221 2:30.160
6 50 Hypercar H FERRARI AF CORSE
 
Ferrari 499P
221 2:31.051
7 7 Hypercar H TOYOTA GAZOO RACING
 
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid
221 2:35.656
8 12 Hypercar H HERTZ TEAM JOTA
 
Porsche 963
220 4:29.952
9 38 Hypercar H HERTZ TEAM JOTA
 
Porsche 963
220 4:32.016
10 3 Hypercar H CADILLAC RACING
 
Cadillac V-Series.R
220 4:37.587
11 51 Hypercar H FERRARI AF CORSE
 
Ferrari 499P
220 4:42.003
12 19 Hypercar H LAMBORGHINI IRON LYNX
 
Lamborghini SC63
219 2 laps
13 94 Hypercar H PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES
 
Peugeot 9X8
219 4:32.928
14 311 Hypercar H WHELEN CADILLAC RACING
 
Cadillac V-Series.R
219 4:33.988
15 93 Hypercar H PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES
 
Peugeot 9X8
219 4:35.201
16 63 Hypercar H LAMBORGHINI IRON LYNX
 
Lamborghini SC63
219 1 lap
17 99 Hypercar H PROTON COMPETITION
 
Porsche 963
216 5 laps
18 11 Hypercar H ISOTTA FRASCHINI
 
Isotta Fraschini Tipo6-C
215 7:26.811
19 4 Hypercar H PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT
 
Porsche 963
211 10 laps
20 183 LM P2 P/A AF CORSE
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
211 2:23.796
21 22 LM P2 UNITED AUTOSPORTS
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
210 11 laps
22 10 LM P2 VECTOR SPORT
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
210 4:43.506
23 37 LM P2 COOL RACING
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
210 4:46.661
24 34 LM P2 INTER EUROPOL COMPETITION
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
210 2.774
25 28 LM P2 IDEC SPORT
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
210 3.480
26 14 LM P2 P/A AO BY TF
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
209 12 laps
27 33 LM P2 P/A DKR ENGINEERING
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
209 11 laps
28 25 LM P2 ALGARVE PRO RACING
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
208 12 laps
29 65 LM P2 P/A PANIS RACING
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
208 13 laps
30 47 LM P2 P/A COOL RACING
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
205 16 laps
31 24 LM P2 NIELSEN RACING
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
205 2:23.072
32 85 LMGT3 IRON DAMES
 
Lamborghini Huracan LMGT3 Evo2
199 22 laps
33 59 LMGT3 UNITED AUTOSPORTS
 
McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo
199 4:36.420
34 87 LMGT3 AKKODIS ASP TEAM
 
Lexus RC F LMGT3
199 4:37.388
35 91 LMGT3 MANTHEY EMA
 
Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3
199 4:38.792
36 31 LMGT3 TEAM WRT
 
BMW M4 LMGT3
199 4:41.206
37 95 LMGT3 UNITED AUTOSPORTS
 
McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo
199 4.636
38 78 LMGT3 AKKODIS ASP TEAM
 
Lexus RC F LMGT3
199 5.203
39 88 LMGT3 PROTON COMPETITION
 
Ford Mustang LMGT3
199 6.142
40 44 LMGT3 PROTON COMPETITION
 
Ford Mustang LMGT3
199 2:27.350
41 86 LMGT3 GR RACING
 
Ferrari 296 LMGT3
198 23 laps
42 55 LMGT3 VISTA AF CORSE
 
Ferrari 296 LMGT3
198 4:44.307
43 777 LMGT3 D'STATION RACING
 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3
198 1.520
44 155 LMGT3 SPIRIT OF RACE
 
Ferrari 296 LMGT3
198 2:29.525
45 82 LMGT3 TF SPORT
 
Corvette Z06 LMGT3.R
197 24 laps
46 27 LMGT3 HEART OF RACING TEAM
 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3
196 25 laps
47 70 LMGT3 INCEPTION RACING
 
McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo
195 26 laps
48 92 LMGT3 MANTHEY PURERXCING
 
Porsche 911 GT3 R LMGT3
194 27 laps
49 81 LMGT3 TF SPORT
 
Corvette Z06 LMGT3.R
191 30 laps
50 60 LMGT3 IRON LYNX
 
Lamborghini Huracan LMGT3 Evo2
186 35 laps
51 23 LM P2 P/A UNITED AUTOSPORTS USA
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
186 7:25.226
52 77 LMGT3 PROTON COMPETITION
 
Ford Mustang LMGT3
146 75 laps
53 20 Hypercar H BMW M TEAM WRT
 
BMW M HYBRID V8
92 129 laps
54 45 LM P2 P/A CROWDSTRIKE RACING BY APR
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
149 72 laps
55 66 LMGT3 JMW MOTORSPORT
 
Ferrari 296 LMGT3
112 108 laps
56 30 LM P2 P/A DUQUEINE TEAM
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
112 109 laps
57 46 LMGT3 TEAM WRT
 
BMW M4 LMGT3
109 112 laps
58 15 Hypercar H BMW M TEAM WRT
 
BMW M HYBRID V8
102 119 laps
59 36 Hypercar H ALPINE ENDURANCE TEAM
 
Alpine A424
88 133 laps
60 9 LM P2 PROTON COMPETITION
 
Oreca 07 - Gibson
86 135 laps
61 35 Hypercar H ALPINE ENDURANCE TEAM
 
Alpine A424
75 146 laps
62 54 LMGT3 VISTA AF CORSE
 
Ferrari 296 LMGT3
30 191 laps

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