There was trouble for the third-placed No. 3 Rebellion R13 in the 13th hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the car sent to the garage for attention to the underbody. The team turned the car around within nine minutes but that was enough to cede the position to the sister No. 1 Rebellion, whose driver Neel Jani is now six laps down on the leading Toyotas.
The gap between the two Toyotas under 40 seconds, Fernando Alonso having gained ground in his first night stint before handing over to Kazuki Nakajima, who has now taken up the chase of Jose Maria Lopez in the No. 7 (pictured).
“We had to push, obviously — we lost time with the penalty, the drive-through [issued to Sebastien Buemi for speeding in a slow zone – Ed.] and some unlucky situations with the safety car and things like that, so it’s time to recover,” Alonso told Velocity/Eurosport TV. “It’s still a long race ahead of us and we still need to recover a couple of seconds.”
Alonso said he experienced no issues in his first competitive stint in darkness.
“It was OK,” said the Spaniard. “Sometimes you get frustrated with traffic, sometimes you get lucky; most of my laps I got lucky, so it was a nice feeling.”
In GTE Pro, the leading Porsche pair were pulling away from the chasing No. 68 Ford Chip Ganassi USA Ford GT, Dirk Muller doing all he could to stem the increasingly impressive Porsche flow.
The No. 29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217 Gibson pitted after what appeared to be a minor engine bay fire — ex-F1 driver Giedo van der Garde took the car back out after a 10-minute delay.
There was trouble at the top of the hour for ex-IMSA racer Jose Gutierrez, a big hit at the exit of the Porsche Curves in the No. 40 G-Drive/Graff Racing ORECA. The Mexican driver lost control of the car which then hit the wall backwards hard, losing the rear wing and ending up back in the middle of the road facing traffic.
Gutierrez was out of the car immediately without assistance, although the car out of the race on the spot, the sixth official retirement. A slow zone was put in place to remove the wrecked car.