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Race report
Le Mans 24 Hours of Le Mans

Le Mans 24h, Hour 6: Ferrari keeps Hypercar lead as rain falls

Ferrari holds a commanding advantage after one-fourth distance in the Le Mans 24 Hours, with Porsche remaining as the closest challenger of the Italian marque.

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt

The #83 AF Corse Ferrari continues to hold the net lead in the hands of Yifei Ye after the opening six hours of the race as rain hit the Circuit de la Sarthe, with Frederic Makowiecki grabbing second late on in the #5 Porsche.

Robert Shwartzman was able to pull out a lead of over 40 seconds in the satellite Ferrari following an impressive triple stint, with Ye carrying on the good work of his team-mate to put AF Corse well clear of the opposition as night fell at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Nielsen held second position in the best of the works 499Ps after taking over from team-mate Miguel Molina at the end of hour six, but dropped to fourth in the last pitstop cycle after taking on a new set of slick tyres just before the latest rain shower.

This left Nielsen fourth in the order, behind the #8 Toyota of Ryo Hirakawa. The first of the factory cars from the Japanese manufacturer was running out of kilter with most of the Hypercar pack but came into the pits after just eight laps as the track became too wet for slicks

The last of the remaining Ferrari 499Ps, the factory #51 entry, completed the top five at the end of Hour 6, with Antonio Giovinazzi currently driving the car that won on debut in 2023.

The #6 Porsche holds fifth with Laurens Vanthoor ahead of the customer #12 Jota Porsche of Norman Nato and two-time IndyCar champion Alex Palou in the #2 Cadillac.

The #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID that started from the rear of the Hypercar pack suffered another setback when Jose Maria Lopez picked up a drive through penalty for a pitstop infringement. Lopez rejoined the track in seventh after serving the penalty, over three minutes down on the leading Ferrari.

 

Alpine suffered a double DNF on its return to Le Mans 24 Hours, with its two A424 LMDh cars officially out of the race before night time at La Sarthe.

The #35 Alpine A424 LMDh was the Hypercar entry to retire from the race, with Ferdinand Habsburg pulling over in the fifth hour with smoke coming out of the rear of the car.

The sister #36 Alpine suffered technical problems of its own and pulled into the garage in the sixth hour, before officially exiting the race.

In the LMP2 class, the #10 Vector Sports Oreca holds the top spot following rapid stints from Ryan Cullen and Stephane Richelmi.

Cool Racing squad put up a tough fight to Vector when factory Toyota driver Ritomo Miyata was at the wheel of the squad’s #37 Oreca, but its challenge fell apart when silver-rated Lorenzo Fluxa took over.

The third place is occupied by the lead United Autosports Oreca driven by Bijoy Garg, despite the #22 crew picking up a drive-through penalty for an incident in hour five.

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi was leading the new LMGT3 class on his debut at Le Mans after extending the lead he had inheriting from Alhmad Al Marthy in the #46 WRT BMW M4 GT3.

But WRT elected to bring switch him for factory BMW racer Maxime Martin just before the end of hour six, putting the #92 Manthey PureRxcing Porsche of Joel Sturm at the front. Richard Lietz holds third place in the sister #91 Manthey EMA entry.

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