Le Mans 24 Hours: #7 Toyota after swap but #1 Porsche closing in

Porsche closed the gap on Toyota at the head of the field towards the end of the fifth hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours courtesy of Andre Lotterer

Le Mans 24 Hours: #7 Toyota after swap but #1 Porsche closing in

While the gap between the race-leading #7 Toyota and the chasing #1 Porsche was more than 40 seconds while Kamui Kobayashi led the race from Nick Tandy, Lotterer closed on Stephan Sarrazin to reduce the gap to 34 seconds as the race reached 8pm local time.

The #8 Toyota continues to run third, another 20 seconds back, now in the hands of Kazuki Nakajima after Anthony Davidson's stint, while the #9 Toyota lost time after Yuji Kunimoto was forced to make an unscheduled stop.

Having taken over from Jose Maria Lopez, Kunimoto's door was slightly ajar, and following radio instructions from the team to close it while he was out on track, he was forced to return to the pits to get it fixed.

The fifth LMP1 car still in the race, the #2 Porsche, rejoined after a long spell in the garage after it lost front-axle drive, but it is running 55th overall and is now firmly out of contention, 18 laps down, meaning Porsche has only one car left to battle the three Toyotas for the win.

LMP2: REBELLIONS SWAP BUT HOLD 1-2

The Rebellion Racing squad continues to hold first and second place in the LMP2 class, but its cars swapped positions during the eighth round of pitstops at the end of the hour.

The #13 Rebellion ORECA driven by Heinemeier Hansson held the lead for much of the hour with the gap between him and Julien Canal in the #31 car ebbing and flowing.

But with the #13 car stopping a lap earlier than the #31, as it has throughout the race, Canal picked up the lead when his team-mate stop and emerged from the pits just ahead.

In the third place battle, Jonathan Hirschi held third in the #34 Manor ORECA at the end of the hour, although the pitstop timings mean the #37 Jackie Chan DC ORECA of David Cheng is due to take that position.

The #47 Villorba Corse Ligier, which was having a solid run at the bottom of the top 10, lost time when Roberto Lacorte spun in the Dunlop Chicane.

He came to rest with the rear wheels just stuck in the gravel and couldn't get going without assistance, which led to a slow zone being deployed.

SLOW ZONE HELPS ASTON EXTEND GTE LEAD

Aston Martin increased the lead of its #97 Vantage in the GTE Pro class from 2s to over a minute from the chasing #67 Ford of Luis Derani, thanks to a slow zone in the first sector falling within the #97's pitstop window.

Aston took advantage of the slow zone - called for a gyrating LMP2 at the Dunlop chicane - to bring in Jonny Adam for a fuel-only stop.

Ford were running second and third at the turn of the hour, but only because the #64 driven by Billy Johnson is running out of sequence with the others.

Net third place belongs to the #64 Corvette of Marcel Fassler, another winner in the slow-zone lottery, who is running ahead of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari.

The AF Corse entries are now the sole Ferraris running in GTE Pro after TDS LMP2 driver Matthieu Vaxiviere tapped Pierre Kaffer's #82 Risi Competizione 488 into the wall at the first Mulsanne chicane while lapping him.

Aston Martin also continues to lead GTE Am with the #98 Vantage currently driven by Mathias Lauda, which has a minute's lead over gentleman driver Robert Smith in the #84 Ferrari.

Euan Hankey is third in the #90 Aston.

POSITIONS AFTER FIVE HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #1 Porsche Jani, Lotterer, Tandy 78
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Sarrazin 78 + 27.214s
3 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Davidson, Nakajima 77 + 1 Lap
4 LMP1 #9 Toyota Lapierre, Kunimoto, Lopez 77 + 2m03.206s
5 LMP2 #13 Oreca Piquet Jr, H. Hansson, Beche 73 + 5 Laps
6 LMP2 #31 Oreca Prost, Canal, Senna 73 + 6.697s
7 LMP2 #24 Oreca Graves, Hirschi, Vergne 73 + 1m21.101s
8 LMP2 #37 Oreca Cheng, Gommendy, Brundle 73 + 1m50.218s
9 LMP2 #35 Alpine Panciatici, Ragues, Negrao 73 + 1m51.197s
10 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Laurent, Jarvis 73 + 2m08.276s
11 LMP2 #25 Oreca Gonzalez, Trummer, Petrov 73 + 2m13.500s
12 LMP2 #40 Oreca Allen, Matelli, Bradley 72 + 6 Laps
13 LMP2 #32 Ligier Owen, De Sadeleer, Albuquerque 72 + 12.962s
14 LMP2 #27 Dallara Aleshin, Sirotkin, Shaitar 72 + 27.322s
15 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 72 + 1m23.110s
16 LMP2 #21 Oreca Hedman, Hanley, Rosenqvist 71 + 7 Laps
17 LMP2 #34 Ligier Moore, Hanson, Chandhok 71 + 55.156s
18 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Collard 71 + 1m47.495s
19 LMP2 #23 Ligier Barthez, Buret, Berthon 70 + 8 Laps
20 LMP2 #17 Ligier Lafargue, Lafargue, Zollinger 70 + 2m02.358s
21 LMP2 #29 Dallara Lammers, Van Eerd, Barrichello 70 + 2m36.659s
22 LMP2 #33 Ligier Nicolet, Nicolet, Maris 69 + 9 Laps
23 LMP2 #36 Alpine Dumas, Menezes, Rao 68 + 10 Laps
24 LMP2 #39 Oreca Guibbert, Trouillet, Winslow 68 + 9m05.591s
25 LMP2 #43 Riley Keating, Bleekemolen, Taylor 68 + 11m59.408s
26 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Adam, Serra 68 + 12m26.218s
27 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Derani 67 + 11 Laps
28 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Calado, Pier Guidi, Rugolo 67 + 19.928s
29 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 67 + 27.311s
30 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Vilander, Fisichella, Kaffer 67 + 47.758s
31 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Kanaan 67 + 50.904s
32 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 67 + 55.108s
33 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 67 + 1m04.783s
34 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Makowiecki, Pilet 67 + 1m31.863s
35 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 67 + 1m42.180s
36 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor 67 + 1m52.314s
37 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Werner 67 + 2m05.626s
38 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Stanaway 67 + 2m37.596s
39 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 66 + 12 Laps
40 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Smith, Stevens, Vanthoor 66 + 27.377s
41 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Bell 66 + 1m47.618s
42 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Sweedler, Bell 66 + 2m10.509s
43 GTE Am #77 Porsche Ried, Cairoli, Dienst 66 + 2m58.447s
44 GTE Am #65 Ferrari Nielsen, Balzan, Curtis 66 + 3m12.238s
45 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Scott, Cioci 66 + 3m18.543s
46 GTE Am #93 Porsche Long, Al Faisal, Hedlund 65 + 13 Laps
47 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Sawa, Griffin 65 + 14.668s
48 GTE Am #99 Aston Howard, Gunn, Bryant 65 + 1m11.117s
49 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Krohn, Jonsson, Bertolini 64 + 14 Laps
50 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Beretta 64 + 1m04.306s
51 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Foster 64 + 1m08.578s
52 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Rees, Brandela, Philippon 64 + 3m58.780s
53 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Wee, Katoh, Parente 63 + 15 Laps
54 LMP2 #45 Ligier Patterson, Mcmurry, Capillaire 60 + 18 Laps
55 LMP2 #22 Oreca Rojas, Hirakawa, Gutierrez 59 + 19 Laps
56 LMP1 #2 Porsche Bernhard, Bamber, Hartley 59 + 54.740s
57 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Calko, Breukers 53 + 25 Laps
58 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Thiriet, Lynn 20 Retired
59 GTE Am #88 Porsche Bachler, Lemeret, Al Qubaisi 18 Retired
60 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Bonanomi 7 Retired
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota leads, #2 Porsche hits trouble in hour 4

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