Rebellion Williams continued their strong night stint through the dawn to run 1-2 with six hours left of the Le Mans 24 Hours Virtual, but split strategies at the top of the order mean the race is yet to come together.
However, the number 3 Rebellion fell down the order following a collision with teammate Gustavo Menezes on the final chicane. In the GTE class the Porsche 93 car further extended its lead in the hands of Nick Tandy but Romain Grosjean team’s strong running and an issue for Andre Lotterer broke up their grip on the podium.
The biggest drama of the stint happened on lap 263 in the collision between the two Rebellion Williams. Menezes had been fighting Pietro Fittipaldi and had just passed the MPI-Zansho. However, he spun on the final chicane and rejoined right into the ongoing battle with Keithley defending from the 2 Seas of Devin Braune.
Braune escaped without damage after cutting the chicane but Menezes pulled out right into the path of his teammate causing him extensive damage. Keithley had to run a whole lap with the damage as the crash occurred after the pit entry, and dropped sixteen seconds plus a pit stop of two and a quarter minutes. Yifei Ye led a tidy recovery drive to be running sixth with six hours to go.
After leading for much of the session after Raffaele Marciello’s strong stint, Nikodem Wisniewski was given a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pitlane and saw his lead cut to 40 seconds from 13 Rebellion Williams and 55 seconds to third-placed Bykolles.
Having been running 1-2-3 at times during the race, Porsche still held the lead through Nick Tandy’s 93 car holding a lead of nearly four minutes. However, there was drama for their teammates as the 91 Porsche dropped a lap in the changeover. Andre Lotterer was unable to connect and the car was stuck in the pits for 3 minutes as the team scrambled to find a replacement driver; Neel Jani running an extra-long stint. R8G Esports ran second with Erhan Jajovski currently in the car over a minute ahead of the 92 Porsche.
The Ferrari 52 car endured a torrid time, Leclerc the victim of some overzealous lapping by Jarl Teien in the Fernando Alonso car, and Giovinazzi plagued by connection issues to leave the team running dead last.