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Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota locked in lead battle with Ferrari

Toyota leads the Le Mans 24 Hours after 15 hours but remains locked in a battle with Ferrari for overall honours in the centenary race.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa

As daylight broke over the Circuit de la Sarthe, Ryo Hirakawa led Alessandro Pier Guidi by 12s with nine hours to go, the gap between them fluctuating in the heat of battle.

In hour 13, Brendon Hartley unleashed a phenomenal stint in the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID, extending a 17s lead over the #51 Ferrari of Antonio Giovinazzi – which had led at the halfway point.

Giovinazzi then retaliated, working down to within 3.5s of the Toyota but a tardy pitstop, in which he handed over to Pier Guidi, was compounded by losing time in a slow zone while the D’station Aston Martin of Tomonobu Fujii was being recovered.

The lead went out to over 40s, which Pier Guidi chipped away to close in on Hirakawa, who got new tyres as he took over from Hartley.

The #2 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R runs third in the hands of Earl Bamber, over 2m30s in arrears, with the first Porsche Penske Motorsport 963, Laurens Vanthoor at the wheel of the #6 car, in fourth a lap down. The second CGR Cadillac, the #3 of Renger van der Zande, runs fifth, ahead of the first Peugeot 9X8, the #93 of Jean-Eric Vergne.

The Glickenhauses run seventh and eighth, ahead of the delayed #5 Porsche, #50 Ferrari and #94 Peugeot.

In LMP2, the frontrunning #47 Cool Racing car of Reshad de Gerus suffered a huge shunt at the Porsche Curves, smashing the left-side of the car, but somehow he managed to drag it back to the pits. Another huge crash punctuated the race a few hours later, as Ben Barnicoat shunted the #80 AF Corse entry in the same section of track.

#34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 - Gibson of Jakub Smiechowski, Albert Costa, Fabio Scherer

#34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca 07 - Gibson of Jakub Smiechowski, Albert Costa, Fabio Scherer

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

The #34 Inter Europol Competition of Fabio Scherer – who is soldiering on despite an injured foot – grabbed the class lead from Team WRT’s Robert Kubica in hour 14. The #41 has also been assessed a 10s for causing a collision with the #3 Caddy.

The #30 Duqueine Team remains in the hunt, as do the #48 IDEC and #65 Panis Racing entries, but the class honours are all up for grabs in the remaining nine hours.

In GTE Am, Jonas Ried’s #88 Proton Porsche crashed heavily at Indianapolis causing barrier damage and a lengthy slow zone.

Takeshi Kimura leads the class in the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488, battling with the #85 Iron Dames Porsche 911, the #25 ORT by TF Aston Martin and the #54 AF Corse Ferrari.

The Hendrick Motorsports NASCAR Garage 56 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 runs 28th overall in the hands of Jenson Button as it runs with the GTE Am frontrunners.

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