LM24 Hour 1: Dramatic start as Toyota and Glickenhaus collide

Rainier Ehrhardt/Motorsport Images

LM24 Hour 1: Dramatic start as Toyota and Glickenhaus collide

Le Mans/WEC

LM24 Hour 1: Dramatic start as Toyota and Glickenhaus collide

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The opening hour of the 89th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours was a rather chaotic one. Toyota’s No. 7 GR010 HYBRID leads from pole position after 60 minutes of racing with Mike Conway at the wheel, but behind the running order has been shuffled completely with incidents occurring all over the track.

Heavy rain pre-race prompted a safety car start, and two additional formation laps, meaning the race didn’t go green for the opening 10 minutes. After that it was chaotic, with incidents up and down the order from the run up to the Dunlop Bridge onwards.

The biggest incident was the No. 708 Glickenhaus of Olivier Pla hitting the No. 8 Toyota in the run to Turn 2, locking up the brakes and clattering into the side of the GR010. This sent Buemi spinning and damaged the nose of the No. 708.

Buemi then had to stop and power cycle the car later in the opening lap, before having an off into Arnage, locking up. All this has left the No. 8 crew with somewhat of a mountain to climb already, though from dead last the No. 8 has already climbed back to fourth overall, albeit over a minute off the leading No. 7 which has had the most comfortable run of any car thus far.

Elsewhere in Hypercar the Alpine A480 had a costly spin at Indianapolis which cost Nicolas Lapierre lots of time on the second racing lap, dropping the car from a comfortable second to fifth by the end of the opening 60 minutes, behind both Toyotas and the two leading cars in LMP2. The two Glickenhaus 007s sit sixth (No. 709) and 12th (No. 708) overall, both having lost time due to being on full wets as the track dried (the leading LMP2s were on inters). In addition, the No. 708 lost an additional 10 seconds to a penalty for the collision at the start.

In LMP2 the No. 38 JOTA ORECA leads the way and sits second overall, 42 seconds off Conway. Antonio Felix da Costa has been a star so far in changeable conditions, creating a 25-second margin to Nyck de Vries in the chasing No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus that sits second.

The Racing Team Nederland ORECA is third, with the No. 41 WRT ORECA is currently fourth ahead of the No. 65 Panis Racing example which lost places at the first round of pit stops, after sitting second in the opening laps.

Many teams lost crucial time in LMP2 during this opening stint, with the No. 48 IDEC ORECA causing a slow zone down Mulsanne after an off by Patrick Pilet into the gravel. The No. 25 G-Drive Racing Aurus also ended up in the kitty litter at the end of the hour, Roberto Merhi getting it wrong going through the Dunlop Esses.

The GTE classes were just as chaotic as the prototypes, with positional changes occurring constantly and multiple cars having offs into the gravel.

GTE Pro is led by Tommy Milner in the No. 64 Corvette, which was hit by a Ferrari at the start of the formation lap, before climbing to second and later dropping down to fifth as the track dried. Quick pit work from the Corvette crew though, catapulted the No. 64 back to the lead at the end of Hour 1.

The No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari of Miguel Molina is currently second with the No. 79 WeatherTech Porsche third. The pole-sitting HubAuto Racing Porsche’s lead didn’t last long, it dropped to eighth immediately after a spin at the Dunlop Bridge at the start in the greasy conditions.

Best of the factory Porsches is up to fourth, the No. 91 leading the charge.

GTE Am, meanwhile, is led by the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari, with the pole-sitting No. 88 Dempsey Proton 911 down to second, Nicklass Nielsen leading Nulien Andlauer.

23 hours to go. The rain has stopped but more is believed to be on the way in the next hour or two.

HOUR 1 STANDINGS

 

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