Eleven hours into the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours and the race has become metronomic up and down the order, the only notable drama coming just before the start of the 12th hour. The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari, which had held third in GTE Pro for hours, was spotted running slowly in the second sector, Sam Bird limping back to the pits with a right-rear puncture.
By the time the Briton had steered the car back to his pit box, he had already dropped to fourth, Marco Sorensen in the No. 97 Aston Martin rising up into the top three for the first time since the sun set.
Bird pulled in and Davide Rigon climbed straight in to take over. But the car was pushed back into the garage, requiring further attention, after a pool of liquid was spotted in the pit box.
This promoted the Risi Ferrari to fourth in the class, the American team now sniffing a podium. Aston Martin currently sit with two Vantage AMRs in the top three, both AF Corse and Porsche down to one contender each.
— WEC (@FIAWEC) September 19, 2020
Elsewhere, the other classes have settled down. It’s a Toyota 1-2 up front, the No. 1 Rebellion in third now three laps down.
United Autosports is firmly in control of LMP2, sitting 1-2 with the No. 32 leading the team’s No. 22, Will Owen and Phil Hanson posting strong and consistent times respectively.
JOTA’s ORECA sits third, but Roberto Gonzalez is falling back gradually, the Mexican 1m49s behind.
Meanwhile, JOTA’s other car in the race, the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, has now been excluded from the race for receiving outside assistance when Gabriel Aubry lost power earlier on.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) September 19, 2020
On the subject of that exclusion, there are now seven retirements: The No. 4 ByKolles CLM; No. 11 Eurointernational Ligier; No. 16 G-Drive Racing Aurus; No. 30 Duquiene ORECA; No. 37 JCDC ORECA; No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari; and No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari.
The only other class to mention is GTE Am: It’s close between the two leaders, the No. 98 Aston Martin of Augusto Faros leading Jonny Adam in the TF Sport Vantage by the slim margin of just 3.8s.
The No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche is now up to third, after the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari lost time, caught up behind the limping No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari as it trundled slowly into the pits.