Le Mans 24H: Toyota leads, Ferrari runs 1-2 over GTEs after 6 hours

Toyota GAZOO Racing establishes the overall lead at Round 7 of the FIA World Endurance Championship after six-hours into the 24-hour race.

The first few laps were smooth for the field overall, as the hyper-pole sitting #7 car was immediately challenged by the #1 Rebellion of Bruno Senna, a hint of deja vu back to last year’s start of the 6 Hours of Fuji.

Both LMP2 IDEC Sport cars pitted on the formation lap, waiting an extra lap until they were permitted to race after their woes during FP2.

The reigning Le Mans winners, also looking for a hat-trick, the #36 Signatech Alpine Elf had their winning intentions diminished as they suffered high water pressure issues. It pitted after the first lap.

Further LMP2 woes littered the category during the first few laps as the #29 Racing Team Nederland suffered similar issues to Alpine, who qualified third in Hyperpole.

The #35 Eurasia Motorsport had a few offs into the gravel traps in the hands of Le Mans rookie Nobaya Yamanaka.

The first race retirement was when the #11 Eurointernational pulled over at the first S-complex after the Dunlop hill.

A number of heated battles consistently ran throughout the 6 hours so far, such as the AF Corse and Aston Martin Racing duos.

Eventually, Ferrari made their way to sit 1-2 in that Pro category.

The #8 of Sebastien Buemi suffered a puncture which set a recurring imbalance of pit-strategy against its sister car, also suffering a recurring brake-duct cooling issue later on.

The #39 LMP2 made a climb up the field after its poor qualifying and was fighting for the lead between G Drive Racing and the #22 United Autosports.

Into the fifth hour, Serra ended up passing Harry Tincknell in a heated battle between their #51 AF Corse and #97 AMR.

Porsche, after qualifying well, faced further bad luck as they dropped down the field after repairing what appeared to be a power-steering issue on the #92.

Heading into the sixth hour, the #55 Spirit of Race GTE-Am faced a number of difficulties. Firstly, a spin at turn one which assumed contact with a fellow LMP2 having claimed front and rear left punctures.

Making its way back around the circuit to the pits, the car spent its time in the garage as the rear-wheel arches’ bodywork damage was revealed.

The race began its transition towards darkness at approaching the five-hour and 50 minute mark, in which the #52 AF Corse had a rearwards scrap against the barriers at the Porsche Curves.

Its efforts to continue were in doubt with severe damage to the front left wheel-arches, eventually retiring into the seventh hour.

Alexander West, who was at the wheel, was on his in-lap to box the car.

This let out the first Safety Car period of the race.

1 #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing LMP1
2 #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing LMP1
3 #1 Rebellion Racing LMP1
4 #3 Rebellion Racing LMP1
5 #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2
6 #26 G-Drive Racing LMP2
7 #32 United Autosports LMP2
8 #38 JOTA LMP2
9 #31 Panis Racing LMP2
10 #30 Duqueine Team LMP2
11 #22 United Autosports LMP2
12 #39 SO24-HAS By Graff LMP2
13 #21 Dragonspeed USA LMP2
14 #50 Richard Mille Racing Team LMP2
15 #47 Cetilar Racing LMP2
16 #27 Dragonspeed USA LMP2
17 #25 Algrave Pro Racing LMP2
18 #36 Signatech Alpine Elf LMP2
19 #28 IDEC Sport LMP2
20 #16 G-Drive Racing By Algarve LMP2
21 #34 Inter Europol Competition LMP2
22 #42 COOL Racing LMP2
23 #17 IDEC Sport LMP2
24 #29 Racing Team Nederland LMP2
25 #4 ByKolles Racing LMP1
26 #51 AF Corse LM-GTE Pro
27 #71 AF Corse LM-GTE Pro
28 #97 Aston Martin Racing LM-GTE Pro
29 #95 Aston Martin Racing LM-GTE Pro
30 #24 Nielsen Racing LMP2
31 #63 WeatherTech Racing LM-GTE Pro
32 #91 Porsche GT Team LM-GTE Pro
33 #82 Risi Competizione LM-GTE Pro
34 #98 Aston Martin Racing LM-GTE Am
35 #75 Iron Lynx LM-GTE Am
36 #90 TF Sport LM-GTE Am
37 #83 AF Corse LM-GTE Am
38 #61 Luzich Racing LM-GTE Am
39 #35 Eurasia Motorsport LMP2
40 #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing LM-GTE Am
41 #56 Team Project 1 LM-GTE Am
42 #72 Hub Auto Racing LM-GTE Am
43 #78 Proton Competition LM-GTE Am
44 #66 JMW Motorsport LM-GTE Am
45 #86 Gulf Racing LM-GTE Am
46 #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing LM-GTE Am
47 #60 Iron Lynx LM-GTE Am
48 #85 Iron Lynx LM-GTE Am
49 #62 Red River Sport LM-GTE Am
50 #89 Team Project 1 LM-GTE Am
51 #54 AF Corse LM-GTE Am
52 #57 Team Project 1 LM-GTE Am
53 #52 AF Corse LM-GTE Am
54 #70 MR Racing LM-GTE Am
55 #33 High Class Racing LMP2
56 #92 Porsche GT Team LM-GTE Pro
57 #55 Spirit of Race LM-GTE Am
58 #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing LM-GTE Am
(RETIRED) 59 #11 Eurointernational LMP2