The headline from the fifth hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours came in GTE Pro. Porsche now effectively has one bullet left in its gun. The No. 92 911 RSR 19 had to come into the pits for repairs after Laurens Vanthoor complained of a power steering issue. The car remains in the garage into the sixth hour, the front end completely stripped down and being worked on.
With the car now falling out of the running, multiple laps down, the chances of Porsche winning rest solely on the No. 91 (pictured above), which currently sixth in the class.
Up front in GTE Pro the titanic battle between Aston Martin Racing and AF Corse continues. It’s clearly advantage AF Corse now, the No. 71 leading the No. 51 with Davide Rigon and Daniel Serra aboard respectively.
Harry Tincknell after the most recent round of stops did everything he could to retain the lead he held after leaving the pits, but he couldn’t keep Rigon and later Serra at bay for long, Rigon making a bold move down the Mulsanne straight. The Astons now sit third and fourth. But there’s a long way to go.
In LMP2 the order still hasn’t settled down. Ho Pin Tung’s Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA leads the G-Drive Racing Aurus of Mikkel Jensen. The No. 32 United Autosports ORECA is now up to third, ahead of the sister car now being steered by pole-winner Paul Di Resta in fourth.
Riccardo Gonzalez has lost a chunk of time and is now down to fifth in the JOTA ORECA.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) September 19, 2020
Up front there are just four LMP1s left at the top of the timing screens. The ByKolles CLM is still running but has lost almost 10 laps due to a gearbox issue that forced the car into the garage.
It’s a Toyota 1-2, both cars settled in and pushing on. Both Rebellion R-13s are off the lead lap now. Gustavo Menezes told RACER prior to the race that the team was hoping it stayed dry as they are not confident in the performance levels of the R-13 compared to the four-wheel-drive TS050s in the wet, as evident at Spa. But, right now, maybe the disruption and unpredictability that rain brings with it, is their only chance of clawing their way back into this one?
GTE Am’s order as we approach the quarter-distance mark features HubAuto Racing, with Tom Blomqvist steering its Ferrari, in front by just 2.7 seconds over the TF Sport Aston Martin of Jonny Adam. Rino Mastronardi meanwhile, has managed to climb the order in the No. 75 Iron Lynx Ferrari and currently sits third. The No. 98 Aston Martin is fourth, Augusto Farfus now in for his first stint.
The biggest incident of the hour hit one of the contenders in Am. The No. 56 Project 1 Porsche, which had yet to make a big impression on the field, had a collision with a spinning Ryan Cullen in the No. 16 G-Drive Racing Aurus at Indianapolis. The crashed caused significant front-end damage to the 911 and force it into the pits for repairs.
The sister No. 56 Project 1 Porsche, meanwhile, has dropped to seventh after fighting for the lead over the past few hours. The car was handed a stop-and-go penalty for speeding in a slow zone. Not a good hour for the German team.