Le Mans 24H: Reliability struggles in LMP2, #7 leads at 16 hour-mark

A steady return of daylight resumed in early hours and the #7 still leads after 16 hours of racing without any major issues thus far.

For the overnight run into the early hours of the morning, there were still battles across the field with some running into mechanical other reliability woes.

A fascinating GTE-Pro battle opened the 13th hour with the #63 of Nicky Catsburg chasing and overtaking Sam Bird in the #52 to claim P2 to make use of his fresher rubber.

Despite it being a WRT 1-2 in LMP2, the #41 of Yifei Ye chased down his teammate Ferdinand Habsburg.

Eventually, he put a move on him to take the lead.

Behind was the #22 United Autosports USA which ran leader-matching pace in the hands of Le Mans debutant Fabio Scherer.

At the half-hour mark into this 13th hour slot, the #388 Rinaldi Racing got itself stuck in the gravel at the first Mulsanne chicane and eventually got underway.

Shortly afterwards, the leading #7 Hypercar of Kamui Kobayashi made a mistake into Indianapolis by locking up his front tyres, thus bringing the gap down by 20 seconds (to 8 seconds) relative to Brendon Hartley in the #8.

The WRT duo were battling nose-to-tail in a thrilling fashion albeit with Louis Deletraz in front of Habsburg.

Approaching the 14th hour, Roman Rusinov in the #26 tapped the #49 of Jan Magnussen which caused a rear-left puncture and a lengthy trip around the circuit after contact with a barrier at the entry of Tertre Rouge.

It went into the garage for a replaced front and back left corner.

The #26 was awarded a time penalty of 10 seconds to be added at the next pit stop it did.

The #8 was in the lead due to an off-beat pit cycle to its #7 teammate.

Team orders enabled a switch of positions with Jose Maria Lopez on significantly fresher tyres.

The #22 went into the box for 2 hours to undo all its progress from a low starting position from qualifying due to an alternator issue.

It re-joined 33 laps behind the leader of LMP2 in the hands of Filipe Albuquerque.

The #71 of Ben Barnicoat left the pit box as the front left tyre had not been fastened on, causing it the wheel itself to go off, which entailed a long lap around to the pit box again.

It spent 20 minutes in the garage before heading back out.

In GTE-Am, the #86 experienced a suspension failure with the rear smoking as a result, suspectedly due to the kerbs.

The #88 mechanics performed a brake change nearing the 15th hour of the race.

AF Corse’s #52 which was fighting for the lead spent a great deal of time back into the garage after a suspension failure, but returned later on in the hands of Daniel Serra.

Kevin Magnussen described power loss issues to ensue a long stop in the garage for the #49 which returned back into the race.

A thrilling LMP2 duel took place with sunlight well and present. It was the #65 of Will Stevens who made a chase on the #28 Sean Gelael to make a pass into third in-class.

Also some added drama approaching 16 hours of racing, with the #83 taking a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane by Francois Perrodo; a Ferrari which has led much of GTE-Am thus far.

The #7 Toyota leads over its sibling at the top, with the Team WRT duo also holding a comfortable and reliable 1-2; Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi.

GTE-Pro is led by the #51 AF Corse which was unchallenged in the most recent hours.

And GTE-Am is still held by the #83 AF Corse despite serving a drive-through (just after the hour-mark).

Overall Position Category Team
1 (242 Laps) Hypercar #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing
2 Hypercar #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing
3 Hypercar #708 Glickenhaus Racing
4 Hypercar #36 Alpine Elf Matmut
5 LMP2 #31 Team WRT
6 LMP2 #41 Team WRT
7 Hypercar #709 Glickenhaus Racing
8 LMP2 #65 Panis Racing
9 LMP2 #28 JOTA
10 LMP2 #34 Inter Europol Competition (Pro/Am)
11 LMP2 #48 IDEC Sport
12 LMP2 #23 United Autosports
13 LMP2 #21 DragonSpeed USA (Pro/Am)
14 LMP2 #70 Realteam Racing (Pro/Am)
15 LMP2 #26 G-Drive Racing
16 LMP2 #30 Duqueine Team
17 LMP2 #38 JOTA
18 LMP2 #29 Racing Team Nederland (Pro/Am)
19 LMP2 #20 High Class Racing (Pro/Am)
20 LMP2 #39 SO24-DIROB by Graff (Pro/Am)
21 LMP2 #82 Risi Competizione
22 GTE-Pro #51 AF Corse
23 GTE-Pro #63 Corvette Racing
24 GTE-Pro #92 Porsche GT Team
25 GTE-Pro #91 Porsche GT Team
26 GTE-Am #83 AF Corse
27 GTE-Am #33 TF Sport
28 GTE-Pro #72 Hub Auto Racing
29 LMP2 #44 ARC Bratislava (Pro/Am)
30 GTE-Am #80 Iron Lynx
31 LMP2 #74 Racing Team India Eurasia (Pro/Am)
32 GTE-Am #54 AF Corse
33 GTE-Am #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing
34 GTE-Am #60 Iron Lynx
35 GTE-Am #777 D’station Racing
36 GTE-Pro #52 AF Corse
37 Innovative Car #84 Association SRT41
38 GTE-Am #95 TF Sport
39 GTE-Am #18 Absolute Racing
40 GTE-Am #85 Iron Lynx
41 GTE-Am #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing
42 GTE-Am #69 Herberth Motorsport
43 LMP2 #24 PR1 Motorsports Mathiasen (Pro/Am)
44 LMP2 #49 High Class Racing
45 GTE-Am #71 Inception Racing
46 GTE-Am #388 Rinaldi Racing
47 GTE-Am #86 GR Racing
48 GTE-Pro #64 Corvette Racing
49 LMP2 #22 United Autosports
50 (DNF) GTE-Pro #79 WeatherTech Racing
51 (DNF) GTE-Am #46 Team Project 1
52 (DNF) GTE-Am #57 Kessel Racing
53 (DNF) GTE-Am #66 JMW Motorsport
54 (DNF) GTE-Am #55 Spirit of Race
55 (DNF) LMP2 #25 G-Drive Racing (Pro/Am)
56 (DNF) GTE-Am #47 Cetilar Racing
57 (DNF) LMP2 #32 United Autosports
58 (DNF) GTE-Am #99 Proton Competition
59 (DNF) GTE-Am #98 Aston Martin Racing
60 (DNF) GTE-Am #56 Team Project 1
61 (DNF) LMP2 #1 Richard Mille Racing