Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota #7 leads opening hour over #8 after dramatic start

Toyota led the opening hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours as the LMP2 class got off to a dramatic start, with a three-way collision at the first corner shaking up the order.

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota #7 leads opening hour over #8 after dramatic start

Sebastien Buemi led the 62-car field to the green flag aboard the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid to mark the start of the 90th running of the La Sarthe classic, leading Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota as Nicolas Lapierre in the Alpine A480-Gibson was swallowed up by the two Glickenhaus 007 LMHs.

However, hopes of the Glickenhaus pair threatening the Toyotas early on were quickly dashed as Buemi and Conway eased away from the best of the American machines, the #708 of Olivier Pla.

Conway pitted from second on lap 11, with Buemi coming in the next time by, with the #7 machine taking a narrow lead with a slightly faster pitstop. After one hour of racing, the gap between the pair was 3.9 seconds, with Pla running in third, around 22s adrift.

In LMP2, Robert Kubica stormed from fifth on the grid into an early lead at the wheel of the #9 Prema Oreca 07-Gibson, briefly surpassing Lapierre in the Alpine LMP1 car.

But the #31 WRT car of class polesitter Rene Rast was in the wars almost immediately as he clashed with the #22 United Autosports car of Will Owen at Turn 1, causing the latter to spin off into the gravel, but not without making contact with the #41 Realteam by WRT car of Ferdinand Habsburg on his outside.

Owen ended up losing time as he waited for assistance, while Habsburg crawled back to the pits with his damaged car.

Out front, Kubica led Rast and the #38 JOTA car of Antonio Felix da Costa, who was effectively a net second after Rast was awarded with a one minute stop-and-go penalty for the collision with Owen.

#22 United Autosports USA Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Philip Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque, William Owen crashes at the start

#22 United Autosports USA Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Philip Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque, William Owen crashes at the start

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

But during the opening pit cycle, Kubica was jumped by Felix da Costa, who then raced to a 6.3s lead over Kubica, with Jonathan Aberdein holding third place in the #28 JOTA entry until stopping just shy of the one-hour mark.

That promoted Felipe Nasr to third in the Penske Oreca, ahead of Mirko Bortolotti in the best of the WRT cars.

United's second car, driven by Alex Lynn, went off-sequence early on after picking up front-right puncture, but remained in the podium hunt.

GTE Pro got off to a clean start as the two Corvette Racing C8.Rs that had locked out the front row maintaining their advantage, the #64 of Nick Tandy leading the #63 machine of Antonio Garcia.

Giving chase were the two factory Porsche 911 RSR-19s, Kevin Estre in the #92 having passed his opposite number in the #91, Frederic Makowiecki, and the two AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos led by James Calado in the #51 car.

Gianmaria Bruni took over the #91 Porsche at the opening round of stops, while Alessandro Pier Guidi was installed aboard the #51 Ferrari, but the order didn't change.

In GTE Am, the Ferraris that started near the head of the field were rapidly swallowed up by the much quicker Porsches, with the German marque rapidly establishing a monopoly at the head of the field.

After the opening hour it was the #99 Hardpoint Motorsport entry of Alessio Picariello with a narrow advantage over Matteo Cairoli in the #46 Team Project 1 car.

Poleman Vincent Abril meanwhile had slipped all the way down to seventh place in the best of the Ferraris, the #61 AF Corse car, with five Porsches and a single Aston Martin Vantage running ahead.

shares
comments

Related video

Live: Le Mans 24 Hours Live commentary and updates
Previous article

Live: Le Mans 24 Hours Live commentary and updates

Next article

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota nose-to-tail as Alpine, Glickenhaus delayed

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota nose-to-tail as Alpine, Glickenhaus delayed
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide Plus

Le Mans 2022: The team by team guide

The 90th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours is here. Here's Autosport's run down of the full field and who to look out for in each class

Le Mans
Jun 11, 2022
The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might Plus

The great Le Mans garagistes that challenged factory might

Glickenhaus is the latest in a line of small-time constructors to take on the big names. Here are some of the finest in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans Plus

When the moribund GTE Pro class stole the show at Le Mans

The GTE class faces a time of transition, with Ferrari and Porsche both committing resources to Hypercar programmes for next year's World Endurance Championship and GT3 cars confirmed to take over from 2024. But at its pomp in the recent past, the GTE Pro class pitched manufacturers and top drivers into the tightest of duels

Le Mans
Jun 9, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022 Plus

Why a fifth Toyota win at Le Mans is far from a certainty in 2022

Toyota is the clear favourite for its fifth Le Mans 24 Hours success in a row, but not as much as it was in 2021. Although its opposition is unchanged, the credentials of Glickenhaus and Alpine have now been proven, while Balance of Performance tweaks have also served to level the playing field. Here's what we can expect at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 90th edition of the endurance classic

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Plus

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022