LM24 Hour 3: Toyota stretches the lead

JEP/Motorsport Images

LM24 Hour 3: Toyota stretches the lead

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 3: Toyota stretches the lead

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The race is beginning to settle down at Le Mans now after a rather frantic opening 120 minutes.

In the third hour the Toyotas continued to control proceedings, sitting 1-2, the No. 7 still the true leader ahead of the puncture-delayed No. 8 TS050 HYBRID.

Rebellion’s R-13s continue to fall away, although the No. 1 remains on the lead lap, now with Gustavo Menezes aboard. Meanwhile, driver changes for Toyota have seen Kamui Kobayashi taken over in the No. 7 and Brendon Hartley climb into the No. 8.

LMP2 is all change again, as the JOTA ORECA has continued its ascent up the order and now sits in the lead with Antonio Felix da Costa aboard. He’s currently the fastest man in the class, interestingly on Goodyear tires.

Behind, United Autosports’ No. 32 ORECA leads the British-flagged team’s charge after Job van Uitert got past the sister No. 22 ORECA of Phil Hanson and now sits second.

Hanson is now fourth and fighting for third in the class with Vincent Capillaire in the GRAFF ORECA as the fourth hour begins. GRAFF has been the real surprise package of the race so far, James Allen and Capillaire both running extremely well to put the French team in and around the top three in these early stages.

GTE Pro is now controlled once again by Aston Martin’s No. 97 Vantage AMR, Maxime Martin getting past Miguel Molina in the No. 71 Ferrari at the first Mulsanne chicane midway through the hour.

The No. 71 is now third after Sam Bird was installed at the latest round of stops. The No. 95 Aston remains fourth.

In Am, TF Sport now leads with Salih Yoluc at the wheel, but Larry Ten Voorde was the star of the hour. The Dutchman eliminated a 25-second deficit to Paul Dalla Lana, who led in the No. 98 Aston at the start of the hour. Ten Voorde in the No. 56 Project 1 Porsche took the lead after getting past Dalla Lana and Yoluc, but a tire change at the car’s third stop dropped the No. 56 back to second behind the TF Sport Vantage.

Dalla Lana is now third, currently being reeled in by Tom Blomqvist’s HubAuto Racing Ferrari. The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari completes the top five.

At the bottom of the timing screens, there has now been a confirmed retirement: The Eurointernational Ligier is out, after Erik Maris pulled off to the side of the road earlier in the race due to a flat battery and was unable to continue. That is not the Le Mans debut the American-flagged team had hoped for.

The No. 88 Proton Porsche, which had its off into the tires at Turn 1 in avoidance of the spinning Luzich Ferrari eight laps into the race, was believed to be a retirement. But just before the end of the third hour it was spotted limping back to the pits! It lives!

HOUR 3 STANDINGS

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