LM24 Hour 2: Corvette, Toyota in charge

Image by LAT

LM24 Hour 2: Corvette, Toyota in charge

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 2: Corvette, Toyota in charge


Hour 2 of the Le Mans 24 Hours has seen the race set into somewhat of a rhythm up front in LMP1, but there have been major changes in the other three classes as the afternoon rolls on.

Toyota’s 1-2 formation run is continuing, with the No. 7 still leading the No. 8 with Mike Conway and Sebastien Buemi now 30 seconds apart.

The closest competition is still the No. 3 Rebellion R-13, over a minute back. The two SMP Racing BR1s, meanwhile, are falling back even further, the No. 11 now three minutes off the lead with Vitaly Petrov still aboard, ahead of the No. 17 of Stephane Sarrazin, which lost time during its second stop after the team opted to change its front end.

The No. 1 Rebellion, which hit trouble just before the end of Hour 1, made it back into the pits, where it it was determined that Bruno Senna had suffered a puncture. The Brazilian is now a lap back and behind the front-running LMP2s in ninth overall.

It’s been a tough run for the No. 10 DragonSpeed BR1, which spent 20 minutes in the garage with an issue and penalized too for using too much fuel during a lap by the Stewards. It will now serve a 10-second stop-go.

LMP2’s running order has been shuffled. The No. 36 Signatech Alpine still leading, with the G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 up to second — Jean-Eric Vergne is closing in, the Russian crew consistently the fastest in the pits.

The Racing Team Nederland Dallara has now climbed into the top three, with the No. 31 DragonSpeed ORECA down to fourth. The two Jackie Chan DC Racing 07 Gibsons are currently fifth and sixth.

The TDS Racing ORECA has dropped like a stone: the French team’s 07 — which started from pole position — is now 14th after the team’s Bronze driver, Francois Perrodo, took over from Matthieu Vaixiviere.

GTE Pro is still door to door, with Corvette Racing leading the charge, Antonio Garcia getting out to hand over to Jan Magnussen at the end of the hour. The Dane has had to immediately fight hard, as a pair of Porsches are closing in.

Closest is the No. 93 of Patrick Pilet (in for Nick Tandy), with the No. 92 Porsche of Michael Christensen third. The best of the Fords continues to be the No. 67 WEC entry, with Mazda DPi man Jonathan Bomarito aboard for his first stint heading into Hour 3.

“It was decent,” Garcia said after getting out of the No. 63 Corvette. “There was always a question mark on the pace, but the Corvette is working well this year. I just went ahead and led the race to see what would happen. Tandy was all over me before I got out, but we’ve got a decent pace. I’d rather be out front, that’s for sure!”

Aston Martin’s early lead has amounted to little, as the No. 95 pole-sitting car has dropped to 13th in Pro, and is now 46 seconds back from the class lead.

In GTE Am, the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche is in the lead of the race after quick pit work allowed newly installed Julien Andlauer to leapfrog the No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari, which was leading but is now second with Thomas Flohr in. The No. 85 Keating Motorsports Ford GT is now third, Jeroen Bleekemolen continuing to climb the order.

Further back, it has been somewhat of a comedy of errors for the No. 88 Dempsey Proton Porsche, which led from the start. Satoshi Hoshino has been a tad out of his depth since getting in during Hour 1. Two spins, one under FCY and on the run to the Dunlop Bridge while being lapped, followed by contact which damaged the front of the car, has dropped it to the back. The team has since had to push it into the garage for repair work. It now sits 60th out of 61.

The No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage has also had a drama, Pedro Lamy bringing the car in with an issue which was later revealed by Paul Howarth AMRs team manager:

“Pedro complained about it for two laps, so we thought it was appropriate to stop the car. It’s about a 20-minute repair. Hopefully we’ll get it out soon and continue,” he said.