Le Mans 24 Hours: #7 Toyota edges clear in lead battle after safety car

The #7 Toyota's advantage at the head of the Le Mans 24 Hours order ballooned in the 10th hour, under a safety-car period called when the #95 Aston Martin crashed

Le Mans 24 Hours: #7 Toyota edges clear in lead battle after safety car

Mike Conway increased the #7 TS050 HYBRID's advantage to 14 seconds over the sister #8 car of Sebastien Buemi in the early part of the hour, but that gap was increased artificially when the two cars were split into two safety-car trains when Marco Sorensen went off at the kink approaching Indianapolis and skated straight over the gravel and into the barrier.

Buemi stayed out for an extra lap as the safety-car period continued, but came in as soon as racing resumed for his pitstop.

Conway pitted two laps later, in keeping with the #7's pattern compared to the #8, and returned to the track with a healthy advantage of more than a minute - one that he retained at the end of the hour - despite Buemi clawing back some ground.

Egor Orudzhev is third in the #17 SMP BR Engineering BR1 and was matching the times of the pursuing #3 Rebellion before Gustavo Menezes.

The safety car helped Menezes jump the #11 SMP of Vitaly Petrov, although the American dropped to the back of the fight for the final podium spot by stopping late on in the hour.

LMP2 - G-Drive escapes as safety car intervenes

G-Drive Racing finally took control of the race in the tenth hour, as leader Job Van Uitert and the pursuing Signatech-Alpine of Pierre Thiriet were split by different safety cars.

Van Uitert held a 13 second lead over Thiriet after the Frenchman took over from Nicolas Lapierre, but this had swelled to 1m20s by the end of the hour after the intervention of the safety car, which disrupted a battle that had been raging for eight hours.

Gabriel Aubry had consolidated third place in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA at the close of the hour after DragonSpeed's Roberto Gonzalez completed a triple stint.

Gonzalez's team-mate Pastor Maldonado was 13 seconds behind Aubry when he joined the fray, after 21-year-old Aubry had replaced Stephane Richelmi 10 laps previously.

The #37 DC Racing ORECA driven by David Heinemeier-Hansson is the first car one lap down, and was eight seconds behind Maldonado at the hour mark.

He in turn had an advantage of almost two minutes over Loic Duval in the pole-sitting #28 TDS Racing ORECA, in which Bronze-graded gentleman driver Francois Perrodo has completed two double stints.

GTE - Astons crash as starring Calado leads for Ferrari

GTE James Calado kept the #51 AF Corse Ferrari at the head of the GTE Pro order for a second hour in a row, although the 10th hour of the race was dominated by a pair of crashes for Astons contenders.

Prior to Sorensen's impact, Alex Lynn spun at the Porsche Curves and bent the spoiler on his Vantage, with a slow zone deployed while the car returned to the pits and so subsequent barrier checks could be completed.

Sorensen's car was taken away from the track, but Lynn did get the #97 car back to the pits, and Jonny Adam returned to the track half an hour later.

Michael Christensen had reclaimed the Pro lead from Calado during hour 10, but the Ferrari got back ahead in the final quarter of an hour.

Christensen's #92 Porsche remained second but now effectively has a pitstop advantage over the similar #93 car, as the GTE Pro battle was also affected by the intervention of the safety cars.

In the Am class, the Keating Ford continued to lead by over two minutes in the hands of Jeroen Bleekemolen, with Patrick Lindsey aboard the pursuing #56 Project 1 Porsche.

Six cars remain on the lead lap, with Toni Vilander's #62 WeatherTech Ferrari running just ahead of Bleekemolen on the road and putting pressure on the sole Aston Martin left in contention, the #90 Vantage driven by Euan Hankey.

Positions after 10 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 159
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 159 + 1m07.199s
3 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin 157 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Berthon, Menezes 157 + 1m19.737s
5 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne 157 + 1m47.891s
6 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Jani, Lotterer, Senna 154 + 5 Laps
7 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne 152 + 7 Laps
8 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 152 + 1m24.910s
9 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 151 + 8 Laps
10 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson 151 + 1m09.842s
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor 151 + 1m10.885s
12 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 151 + 3m03.718s
13 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 150 + 9 Laps
14 LMP2 #32 Ligier Cullen, Brundle, Owen 150 + 28.236s
15 LMP2 #30 Oreca Jamin, Ragues, Dumas 150 + 2m47.101s
16 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 150 + 2m52.967s
17 LMP2 #23 Ligier Binder, Canal, Stevens 149 + 10 Laps
18 LMP2 #25 Oreca Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb 149 + 1m46.185s
19 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 148 + 11 Laps
20 LMP2 #39 Oreca Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi 147 + 12 Laps
21 LMP2 #43 Oreca Farano, Maini, Nato 147 + 10.548s
22 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Boulle 147 + 2m27.934s
23 LMP2 #20 Oreca Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche 145 + 14 Laps
24 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries 145 + 21.872s
25 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko 142 + 17 Laps
26 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 142 + 2m00.106s
27 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 142 + 2m01.644s
28 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Bamber, Tandy 141 + 18 Laps
29 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 141 + 2.184s
30 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito 141 + 3.431s
31 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 141 + 4.274s
32 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 141 + 6.281s
33 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 141 + 10.903s
34 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore 141 + 2m44.629s
35 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Muller, Jaminet, Olsen 141 + 2m48.179s
36 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 140 + 19 Laps
37 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn 140 + 1m53.798s
38 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 140 + 2m05.008s
39 GTE Pro #89 Ferrari Derani, Jarvis, Gounon 140 + 3m02.017s
40 GTE Am #85 Ford Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga 138 + 21 Laps
41 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 138 + 2m18.508s
42 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Segal, Baptista, Lu 138 + 2m41.190s
43 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 138 + 3m17.296s
44 GTE Pro #81 BMW Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng 138 + 3m25.333s
45 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 138 + 3m39.638s
46 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Smith 138 + 3m40.955s
47 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni 137 + 22 Laps
48 GTE Am #78 Porsche Prette, Prette, Abril 136 + 23 Laps
49 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Preining 136 + 31.161s
50 GTE Am #57 Ferrari Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar 136 + 31.432s
51 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 135 + 24 Laps
52 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 135 + 39.435s
53 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 135 + 2m24.849s
54 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Adam 134 + 25 Laps
55 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 132 + 27 Laps
56 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini 132 + 37m26.389s
57 LMP1 #4 Enso Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti 121 + 38 Laps
58 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 87 + 72 Laps
59 GTE Am #88 Porsche Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli 79 + 80 Laps
60 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 76 + 83 Laps
61 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 82 + 77 Laps


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Le Mans 24 Hours: Conway puts the #7 Toyota back in the lead
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Conway puts the #7 Toyota back in the lead

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