Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi troubles leave Porsche comfortable up front

Porsche held onto its one-two in the Le Mans 24 Hours amid a threat of rain, while two Audis were delayed by visits to the garage in hour 21

Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi troubles leave Porsche comfortable up front

The hour started with rain being reported by spotters and drivers, mainly at Mulsanne corner.

However, the rain never became heavy enough to really affect laptimes or cause incidents on the circuit, so the #19 Porsche continued to lead the race comfortably from the #17 machine.

Le Mans 24 Hours live coverage

The #9 Audi - which has struggled for pace this morning due to a suspected hybrid system problem - relinquished third place with a 2m30s visit to the Audi garage for checks to be carried out to the steering system.

That dropped the car to fifth behind the #7 and #8 R18s, but it moved up to fourth when the #8 car made a garage visit of its own to have work carried out on its engine cover.

However, Marco Bonanomi brought the #9 back in for another trip to the garage just before the hour concluded.

Only the #7 Audi remained undisturbed through the hour, with Andre Lotterer passing both lead Porsches on track to get back on the same lap as the second-placed #17 car, and to get within two laps of the race-leading #19 in the hands of Earl Bamber.

Lotterer also set a new fastest lap - a 3m17.475s - as part of his charge with the race heading into its final three hours.

LMP2

Nicolas Lapierre ensured KCMG entered the final three hours with a two-minute lead at the top of LMP2.

Lapierre added another 20 seconds to the car's advantage, which now sits at 2m11s, albeit having made one less pitstop than its closest rivals.

Sam Bird is back in the #26 G-Drive entry, having taken over from Roman Rusinov.

His installation has slowed Mitch Evans's charge towards second in Jota Sport's Gibson - the Kiwi took substantial time out of Rusinov but is more closely-matched with Bird and the margin has steadied around 12s.

OAK Racing and the second G-Drive entry complete the top five, while the #30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier found the barriers with Scott Sharp behind the wheel.

GTE

Ferrari hit the front again in GTE Pro, but only held a slender lead over the chasing Corvette.

Tommy Milner lost out to Gianmaria Bruni with a protracted stop at the top of the hour, and the Italian gained an advantage of around 25 seconds in the #51 AF Corse car as the C7.R took on fresh rubber.

Milner gradually eroded that gap through the stint but when they stopped in unison again at the end of the hour Bruni was replaced by Toni Vilander, which allowed the Corvette to close the gap to less than five seconds.

Porsche's 911 RSR dropped out of contention, losing several laps to a gearbox leak, allowing the #71 Ferrari to make it two AF Corse cars in the Pro top three.

Aston Martin's comfortable lead over the #72 SMP Ferrari in GTE Am remains, with the #98 Vantage now up to third place overall in the GTE category.

POSITIONS AFTER 21 HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #19 Porsche Hulkenberg, Bamber, Tandy 342
2 LMP1 #17 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 342 + 3m20.837s
3 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 340 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #9 Audi Albuquerque, Bonanomi, Rast 339 + 3 Laps
5 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 339 + 19.393s
6 LMP1 #18 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 339 + 1m44.428s
7 LMP1 #2 Toyota Wurz, Sarrazin, Conway 335 + 7 Laps
8 LMP1 #1 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 333 + 9 Laps
9 LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson, Bradley, Lapierre 310 + 32 Laps
10 LMP2 #26 Ligier Rusinov, Canal, Bird 309 + 33 Laps
11 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Evans, Turvey 309 + 11.044s
12 LMP2 #34 Ligier Cumming, Vanthoor, Estre 306 + 36 Laps
13 LMP2 #28 Ligier Yacaman, Derani, Gonzalez 306 + 1m57.561s
14 LMP2 #48 Oreca Chandhok, Patterson, Berthon 300 + 42 Laps
15 LMP2 #27 BR Mediani, Markozov, Minassian 294 + 48 Laps
16 LMP2 #31 Ligier Brown, Van Overbeek, Fogarty 294 + 1m51.946s
17 LMP2 #45 Oreca Ibanez, Perret, Bellarosa 293 + 49 Laps
18 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella 292 + 50 Laps
19 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 292 + 20.369s
20 LMP2 #35 Ligier Nicolet, Merlin, Maris 290 + 52 Laps
21 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 289 + 53 Laps
22 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Calado, Beretta 289 + 1m47.166s
23 LMP2 #29 Morgan Roussel, Tung, Cheng 288 + 54 Laps
24 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Shaytar, Bertolini, Basov 287 + 55 Laps
25 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Imperatori, Kraihamer, Abt 287 + 1m51.494s
26 GTE Am #77 Porsche Dempsey, Long, Seefried 287 + 2m54.909s
27 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 287 + 2m55.353s
28 GTE Am #53 Dodge Bleekemolen, Keating, Miller 285 + 57 Laps
29 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 285 + 31.292s
30 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Nygaard 284 + 58 Laps
31 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Dalziel, Heinemeier Hansson 283 + 59 Laps
32 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mann, Giammaria, Cressoni 282 + 60 Laps
33 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Bergmeister 282 + 8.980s
34 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Beche 281 + 61 Laps
35 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 280 + 62 Laps
36 LMP2 #37 BR Aleshin, Ladygin, Ladygin 277 + 65 Laps
37 GTE Am #68 Porsche Chen, Vannelet, Parisy 276 + 66 Laps
38 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Al Faisal, Giermaziak, Avenatti 275 + 67 Laps
39 GTE Pro #99 Aston Rees, Macdowall, Stanaway 275 + 2m27.154s
40 GTE Am #67 Porsche Chen, Kapadia, Maassen 274 + 68 Laps
41 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Kaffer, Monteiro 230 + 112 Laps
42 LMP1 #23 Nissan Pla, Mardenborough, Chilton 226 + 116 Laps
43 LMP1 #22 Nissan Tincknell, Krumm, Buncombe 209 + 133 Laps
44 LMP2 #42 Dome Leventis, Watts, Kane 264 Retired
45 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Mortimer 241 Retired
46 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Badey, Gommendy 204 Retired
47 GTE Am #96 Aston Goethe, Hall, Castellacci 187 Retired
48 LMP2 #43 Morgan Ragues, Webb, Amberg 162 Retired
49 LMP1 #21 Nissan Matsuda, Shulzhitskiy, Ordonez 115 Retired
50 LMP2 #36 Alpine Panciatici, Chatin, Capillaire 110 Retired
51 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Mucke, Bell 110 Retired
52 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Roda, Ruberti, Poulsen 94 Retired
53 LMP2 #41 Gibson Hirsch, Paletou, Lancaster 71 Retired
54 GTE Am #88 Porsche Ried, Al Qubaisi, Bachler 44 Retired
55 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Pilet, Makowiecki, Henzler 14 Retired
shares
comments
Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche one-two continues, problems for Audi

Previous article

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche one-two continues, problems for Audi

Next article

Le Mans 24 Hours: More Audi dramas strengthen Porsche's lead

Le Mans 24 Hours: More Audi dramas strengthen Porsche's lead
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021