Le Mans 24h, H4: Toyota strengthens 1-2 lead

Toyota remained comfortably in control of the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours after four hours, with Kamui Kobayashi leading the race in the #7 car from Brendon Hartley in #8.

The two Toyotas were running out of sync to each other after Sebastien Buemi was forced to curtail his first stint in the #8 TS050 Hybrid with a suspected puncture.

That meant they initially settled into an ebb and flow of trading the lead based on their stints, but partially through quicker pitstops the #7 car established a net lead.

At the four-hour mark Kamui Kobayashi, who took pole on Friday for the Japanese marque, led teammate Brendon Hartley by 40 seconds.

Both Rebellion cars continued to lose ground at a steady rate of three to five seconds per lap. Third-placed #1 car of Gustavo Menezes was in danger of being lapped after four hours, a fate that already befell the fourth-placed #3 car of Le Mans veteran Romain Dumas.

The fifth and final LMP1 entrant, the #4 ByKolles car, spent time in the garage in the third hour with an alternator problem and returned to the track eight laps down.

In LMP2, the #39 Graff Racing Oreca gained the lead in the second hour with James Allen behind the wheel, but that car disappeared from the front due to a wild spin from Vincent Capillaire in the Porsche Curves after 3h30, which prompted the Frenchman to make an extra pitstop.

In the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, Will Stevens made rapid progress and took over the lead of the race before handing over the car to Ho-Pin Tung. At the four-hour mark the car was running fifth, but it was the only LMP2 runner to have made seven pitstops.

Job van Uitert drove the #32 United Autosports Oreca to the front before handing over to Will Owen, who assumed the lead after four hours, courtesy of earlier stops for both Tung and the #26 G-Drive of Roman Rusinov.

Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa made good progress after his #38 JOTA Sport Oreca qualified in the pack and handed the car over to Roberto Gonzalez while running in the top three.

The #30 Duqueine Oreca is also in the hunt after stellar driving by Konstantin Tereschenko, passing the polesitter #22 United Autosports of Phil Hanson.

The #97 Aston Martin took control of GTE Pro in the third hour. Maxime Martin caught and passed the #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Miguel Molina for the lead in the first Mulsanne chicane around 2h20 into the race, before handing over the car to Ford refugee Harry Tincknell.

In the #51 AF Corse entry, Alessandro Pier Guidi also passed Molina, who then handed the car over to Sam Bird. Bird remained in third throughout the fourth hour but cycled to the lead at various times on a different pitstop cycle.

Marco Sorensen handed the second #95 Aston over to Richard Westbrook, another former Ford GT driver, in fourth.

Laurens Vanthoor took the reins of the #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19, which went off-sequence after a puncture for Michael Christensen. Porsche are struggling to match Aston Martin and Ferrari for outright pace, #91 driver Fred Makowiecki languishing in seventh.

In GTE Am, the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Emmanuel Collard benefited by pitting under a Slow Zone to vault into the lead just before the four-hour mark.

Ross Gunn initially led the way throughout his stint in the #98 Aston Martin. When he handed over the car to the team’s amateur driver Paul Dalla Lana, the car dropped to third as the competition was still using its pro drivers and the Canadian businessman lost time by going off in the Porsche Curves.

Salih Yoluc then assumed the lead in the #90 Aston, but was caught and passed by Larry ten Voorde in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche before a Slow Zone promoted Collard to the lead.

Augusto Farfus took over the #98 Aston before the four-hour mark to reclaim lost ground.

shares
comments
Le Mans 24h, H1: Conway's Toyota leads, early drama in LMP2
Previous article

Le Mans 24h, H1: Conway's Toyota leads, early drama in LMP2

Next article

Le Mans 24h: #8 Toyota has long stop to cure brake issue

Le Mans 24h: #8 Toyota has long stop to cure brake issue
Load comments
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021