LM24 Hour 20: Drama in LMP2; GT battles tighten

Image by JEP/LAT

LM24 Hour 20: Drama in LMP2; GT battles tighten

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 20: Drama in LMP2; GT battles tighten

With four hours to run, GTE Pro and GTE Am are shaping up for an exciting fight all the way to the finish.

But before getting into that, the biggest news of the hour was the demise of the Panis Barthez Ligier [pictured]. Will Stevens brought the car in with mechanical troubles early in the hour and the team sprung into action. It was still in the garage as the clock ticked into the 21st hour and had fallen to 11th in class. After what had been a faultless, remarkable run to second in LMP2, its chances of leaving with silverware have evaporated.

G-Drive’s ORECA holds a two-lap LMP2 class lead over the Signatech Alpine, with the IDEC Sport ORECA now having been promoted to third.

Just off the podium, there was a scrap for fourth towards the end of the hour, with Vincent Capillare catching and passing Francois Perrodo’s TDS Racing ORECA with a daring move up the inside of the Ford Chicanes.

Hour 20 Standings

But the real battles came in GTE Pro. With the No. 92 Porsche still continuing to hold a dominant lead, the rest of the field’s attention has turned to the fight for second.

The No. 91 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki had to defend hard from the No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx, the Gurnseyman making the move stick after running side-by-side into Mulsanne Corner and later on the run through Indianapolis.

Behind, all over the Porsche after the No. 67 Ford got by was the No. 68 Ganassi USA Ford of Sebastien Bourdais who, like Makowiecki, was unable to keep Priaulx behind him during the stint.

In GTE Am meanwhile, there’s no on-track action just yet, but the Keating Motorsports Ferrari has benefited greatly from the previous safety car, the team’s 488 now within 28 seconds of the leading No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche, and setting up what could turn into a very interesting lead battle as the race winds down.

There was little change in LMP1; the main highlight being the No. 1 Rebellion R-13 of Bruno Senna completing the team’s comeback from its trouble in the opening hour and getting past the sister No. 3 Rebellion of Mathias Beche, the pair now running together on track in third and fourth overall.

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