There’s just five hours to go in the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours and it feels like the current state of calm could be interrupted by real drama at any moment. It’s that time of the morning where drivers and cars alike are fatigued. With the sun up the end of the race is fast approaching, so complacency is the enemy here. It is rarely a simple, clean run at Le Mans through the morning and into the early afternoon on Sunday. Now we wait to see what late drama this year’s edition will bring…
Up front currently, the lead for the No. 8 Toyota has been extended further after the No. 1 Rebellion was pushed back into the garage for a nose change after Bruno Senna complained of a vibration issue.
Thankfully for the No. 1 crew it didn’t drop down the order, losing just a single lap, but it is now within the grasp of the sister No. 3 car. Both R-13s five laps off the leading Toyota. But, as we saw with the No. 7 Toyota, it’s not over just yet, any significant issues for the No. 8 and it’s still game on.
On the subject of the No. 7, Kamui Kobayashi is pushing incredibly hard in pursuit of the two Rebellions that are two laps ahead. Will the No. 7 manage a podium in this one? That’s an additional storyline to follow as the end of the race draws nearer.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) September 20, 2020
In GTE Pro, it’s a similar story, the No. 97 Aston Martin extending its lead up front after a mighty effort from Alex Lynn, pulling away from Alessandro Pier Guidi’s No. 51 Ferrari.
Behind Pier Guidi, Nicki Thiim continues to press on in the No. 95, but the car has dropped ever further back after being handed a five-second time penalty for a pit lane infringement during the hour.
In the other two classes, it’s a case of the lead car managing the gap too. Paul Di Resta (No. 22 United ORECA) is currently pulling away from the No. 38 JOTA ORECA which is currently being steered by Roberto Gonzalez. Team radio from JOTA revealed that the team is telling him to save tyres for Antonio Felix da Costa’s upcoming stint. At this point gambles need to be taken. The gap between the top two is 1:41, and with no rain now forecast, this race has every chance of being won on pace alone now.
Jonny Adam in GTE Am is running an identical stint to Di Resta, being tasked to gap an amateur driver in the chasing car: in this case, Francois Perrodo in the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari.
There’s a real opportunity here for Adam to create a near-insurmountable lead as Perrodo is having to focus more on his mirrors than Adam ahead, as Christian Ried in the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche is now just 16 seconds behind and lapping faster. Will the No. 77 end up being a factor in the battle for the class win after such a quiet run to this point?