Ford and Ferrari protest each other at Le Mans

Protests between Ford and Ferrari have resulted in time penalties for the first two GTE Pro cars in the Le Mans 24 Hours, but the race order has not been changed

Ford and Ferrari protest each other at Le Mans

After taking victory by a minute, the Ford #68 GT driven by Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais was protested by the second-placed Risi Competizione team for speeding in a slow zone.

The stewards handed the race-winning car a 50-second penalty, while in a separate incident a technical delegate report slapped on an additional 20 seconds for a faulty wheel speed sensor.

This would have handed the Risi Ferrari, driven by Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Matteo Malucelli, victory had it not received its own punishment.

A final-hour protest from Ford over the 488 GTE suffering a leader light failure led to Risi receiving a stop-go to have it repaired 15 minutes before the end.

The team ignored the command because it claimed it did not have time to reach the garage and repair the problem before the end of the race.

At a post-race hearing the stewards accepted the team's explanation and imposed a €5000 fine, before the car was hit with a 20-second time penalty at an additional hearing.

It was eventually classified 10 seconds behind the winning Ford, and four seconds clear of the #69 GT driven by Richard Westbrook, Ryan Briscoe and Scott Dixon.

IN-RACE PENALTY FORD'S BIG SCARE

The #68 Ford received a drive-through penalty just over six hours from the end of the race for leaving its engine running while refuelling.

That dropped it more than half a minute behind the Risi Ferrari at the time.

Bourdais, who was pitting the car at the time to hand over to Muller, said it was the result of a complete failure of the car's electronics.

"No display, no traction control anymore - the thing was going bonkers," he explained.

"I couldn't change the boost laps, couldn't change the boost maps, couldn't change the strategy, I had no pit speed limiter coming in.

"I couldn't stop the engine because it's a kill switch on the steering wheel, so we got a penalty because as soon as we came to a stop I was not able to turn off the engine.

"It was the only big scare, but as soon as we power cycled the car the whole thing came back on."

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Author Scott Mitchell
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