LM24 Hour 22: No.8 Toyota closing in on victory

Image by LePage/LAT

LM24 Hour 22: No.8 Toyota closing in on victory

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 22: No.8 Toyota closing in on victory

We’re now in the closing stages of the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours, and outside of the GTE Pro ranks, most of the key places look settled.

In LMP1, Fernando Alonso finished his last stint of the race, the car now in the hands of Kazuki Nakajima and over a minute and a half ahead of the No.7.

“So far so good,” Alonso said after climbing out. “We were leading the race for most of the 24 hours with car eight, and are first and second now. We just have to finish the job.”

Hour 22 Standings

The real drama of the past hour came in GTE Am when the Keating Motorsports Ferrari went the gravel at Mulsanne Corner. Ben Keating was driving the 488 GTE at the time, and lost the rear under braking.

The team went down a lap while being recovered, and conceded second place to the Spirit of Race Ferrari, which is now the only car on the lead lap behind the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche.

It’s also given Team Project 1 a renewed chance of a podium; Patrick Lindsey now aboard and just 34 seconds behind the Keating Ferrari with two hours remaining.

There was also drama in GTE Pro, where the No. 69 Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford was brought into the garage by Richard Westbrook due to electrical problems, dropping the car out of podium contention and back to eighth in class.

The battle for second in the class calmed down, although there was still only a handful of seconds between the No. 91 Porsche and the No. 68 and No. 67 Fords.

LMP2’s top three are now all on different laps, however, there’s renewed interest in the battle for class third, the No. 32 United Autosports Ligier now hunting down the Graff SO24 ORECA. The team has put Hugo de Sadeleer in and told him to push, desperate to salvage something from what has been a tough race all round. This could turn into a grandstand finish if the Swiss can reel Jonathan Hirschi in before the end.

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