The 10th hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans was held mostly under safety car conditions, after a huge incident for the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Marco Sorensen.
The Dane had a big off on the run down to Indianapolis, losing the rear, flying sideways, driver side, into the barriers at quite a pace. Thankfully Sorensen was able to climb out under his own steam, though he did have a limp. The car was a retirement on the spot.
His incident came just laps after Alex Lynn had a sizeable off at the Porsche Curves in the sister car, the Briton also losing the rear-end of his Vantage, the No. 97, suffering a rear-end impact. Luckily, Lynn was able to limp back to the pits for repairs, though the team lost over 25 minutes sorting the damage.
It’s been a miserable race for Aston Martin, after such promise early, starting on pole in GTE Pro. With the No. 98 Am entry also a retirement, the brand’s only hope of a strong finish lies with customer team TF Sport’s GTE Am No. 98 Vantage, which is currently fifth in class.
GTE Pro, after those incidents, has been split somewhat, with the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari leading the No. 92 Porsche by two seconds up front. Behind the chasing pack are all at least a minute back. The No. 93 Porsche is now up to third, ahead of the No. 63 Corvette.
LMP1 has also been split up. The two Toyotas are over a minute apart after the safety car, with the No. 7 still leading the No. 8, Mike Conway and Sebastien Buemi driving.
And in LMP2, the two leading cars are far apart for the first time. G-Drive’s lead since the safety car has stretched to over a minute over the Signatech Alpine, Job Van Uiter is also matched up against Pierre Thiriet now — on form the Dutchman expected to have the pace over the Frenchman during the next stint.
GTE Am has seen a significant change, with the Team Project 1 Porsche now up to second ahead of the JMW Ferrari. American Patrick Lindsey is aboard the Porsche and pulling away from Wei Lu. If this metronomic run continues from Project 1, the team will take the title in Am comfortably, a stunning run this season from the WEC debutant.
As the hour ended the DragonSpeed BR1 LMP1 was spotted limping around the circuit. It’s 82 laps down, after a rotten day for the whole team servicing the car. Driver Ben Hanley explained earlier that the car had suffered all sorts of issues, including gearbox and electronics. It’s been a polar opposite showing to SMP Racing’s BR1s which have run like clockwork.
Team boss Elton Julian continued to voice his frustrations to RACER.
“We’re fighting on, we always do, but it feels like a losing battle with the car,” he said. “We’ve tried to fix the problems, Dallara have tried to fix the problems, but ultimately it’s looking like a bridge too far.
“We knew it would be like this here, and we tried, really very hard, to get agreement from the organizers to run a different car here in LMP1. The discussions went a long way down the road but ultimately we did not get the necessary approval. With hindsight, that’s a real shame.”
RACER believes that the team sought approval to run the Ginetta AER at Le Mans but the organizers did not give approval for the switch.