Le Mans 24 Hours: Kobayashi holds leading Toyota's gap to Alonso

The gap between the leading Toyota LMP1 cars remained static during the fourth hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans 24 Hours: Kobayashi holds leading Toyota's gap to Alonso

Kamui Kobayashi started the hour with more than a minute in hand over the #8 TS050 HYBRID driven by Fernando Alonso, although the #7 car forfeited three seconds on two consecutive laps before both made stops just before quarter past the hour.

There was little change in the following stint, however, and Kobayashi ended the hour with 56s in hand over double Formula 1 world champion Alonso.

Both cars made further stops a lap apart in the final quarter of the hour, and at the #8's stop Toyota swapped the car's front nose for a change of aero package.

Nathanael Berthon was still third at the end of the hour in the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R13, but SMP's lead #11 car had reduced its arrears to seven seconds thanks to Stoffel Vandoorne's efforts.

The #11 BR Engineering-AER BR1 is the last car on the lead lap, after the sister #17 car was overtaken by the leading #7 Toyota.

Andre Lotterer ran sixth in the #1 Rebellion that suffered a puncture in the second hour but is three laps down, while the ByKolles car is a further lap down in 12th overall.

LMP2 - G-Drive takes the lead

Job Van Uitert overcame a 10s penalty to take the LMP2 lead shortly before the end of the fourth hour for G-Drive Racing.

After several laps of shadowing, Le Mans rookie Van Uitert passed Pierre Thiriet's #36 Signatech Alpine into the first chicane, and had stretched his advantage to 1.8s at the hour mark.

In his first stint aboard the #26 ORECA after taking over from Jean-Eric Vergne, Van Uitert had already tracked Thiriet's team-mate Nicolas Lapierre and passed him at the second before both headed to the pits at the end of the tour.

Despite Lapierre making way for Thiriet, Van Uitert rejoined behind due to a penalty for Vergne not respecting FCY procedure in the third hour, but by the time of their next pitstops Van Uitert was right on Thiriet's tail, and duly completed the move a short while later.

Gabriel Aubry was third in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA at the end of hour four, after he had taken over from Stephane Richelmi.

Pastor Maldonado ran fourth for DragonSpeed after passing the second Jota-run DC Racing car of David Heinemeier-Hansson shortly before the hour mark.

The trio had run in reverse order at the beginning of the hour as Heinemeier-Hansson's team-mate Jordan King passed DragonSpeed's Roberto Gonzalez.

Richelmi followed Gonzalez into the pits and Aubry came out ahead, later passing King as his tyres began to grain.

Phil Hanson is sixth in the #22 United Autosport Ligier, while polesitter Loic Duval ran seventh in the #28 TDS Racing ORECA, which is climbing back up the leaderboard after two stints by Bronze driver Francois Perrodo.

GTE - Rockenfeller maintains Corvette's lead

The #63 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R continued to lead in GTE Pro through a pitstop in which Jan Magnussen handed over to Mike Rockenfeller.

The 2010 overall winner of Le Mans headed '15 victor Earl Bamber in the #93 Porsche 911 RSR by a shade over a second on the four-hour mark, though the CORE Autosport-run car was due a pitstop.

Daniel Serra was only another second behind in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo after taking over from James Calado, who had made inroads into Magnussen's lead earlier in the hour.

The #92 Manthey Porsche held fourth with Laurens Vanthoor at the wheel.

The #67 Ganassi Ford GT, which had earlier been second in class, dropped down the order after being given a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release in the pits.

Positions after four hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 67
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 67 + 56.744s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Berthon, Menezes 67 + 2m51.175s
4 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne 66 + 1 Lap
5 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin 66 + 23.056s
6 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Jani, Lotterer, Senna 64 + 3 Laps
7 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne 64 + 46.592s
8 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 64 + 47.987s
9 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 64 + 1m32.832s
10 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson 64 + 1m52.995s
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor 64 + 1m57.205s
12 LMP1 #4 Enso Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti 63 + 4 Laps
13 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 63 + 1m02.144s
14 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 63 + 1m45.574s
15 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 63 + 1m54.225s
16 LMP2 #39 Oreca Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi 63 + 2m12.219s
17 LMP2 #23 Ligier Binder, Canal, Stevens 63 + 2m35.336s
18 LMP2 #32 Ligier Cullen, Brundle, Owen 63 + 2m44.880s
19 LMP2 #20 Oreca Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche 63 + 2m46.165s
20 LMP2 #43 Oreca Farano, Maini, Nato 63 + 3m18.733s
21 LMP2 #25 Oreca Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb 62 + 5 Laps
22 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 62 + 33.765s
23 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries 62 + 38.656s
24 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore 62 + 2m22.043s
25 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Boulle 62 + 2m45.077s
26 LMP2 #30 Oreca Jamin, Ragues, Dumas 62 + 2m48.651s
27 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko 61 + 6 Laps
28 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 59 + 8 Laps
29 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Bamber, Tandy 59 + 1.027s
30 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 59 + 2.619s
31 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 59 + 3.142s
32 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 59 + 5.196s
33 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 59 + 11.026s
34 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 59 + 12.456s
35 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 59 + 18.155s
36 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 59 + 26.367s
37 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 59 + 39.423s
38 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 59 + 40.933s
39 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito 59 + 45.024s
40 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn 58 + 9 Laps
41 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Muller, Jaminet, Olsen 58 + 7.241s
42 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 58 + 15.421s
43 GTE Pro #89 Ferrari Derani, Jarvis, Gounon 58 + 16.660s
44 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Adam 58 + 25.394s
45 GTE Pro #81 BMW Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng 58 + 58.832s
46 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 58 + 2m21.414s
47 GTE Am #85 Ford Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga 58 + 3m08.861s
48 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Segal, Baptista, Lu 57 + 10 Laps
49 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Smith 57 + 9.445s
50 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 57 + 55.285s
51 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 57 + 1m21.939s
52 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni 57 + 1m56.506s
53 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 57 + 2m20.388s
54 GTE Am #78 Porsche Prette, Prette, Abril 57 + 3m06.833s
55 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Preining 57 + 3m11.493s
56 GTE Am #57 Ferrari Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar 57 + 3m43.368s
57 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini 56 + 11 Laps
58 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 56 + 17.668s
59 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 56 + 34.522s
60 GTE Am #88 Porsche Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli 54 + 13 Laps
61 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 52 + 15 Laps

Le Mans: Kobayashi leads Alonso by over a minute after three hours
Previous article

Le Mans: Kobayashi leads Alonso by over a minute after three hours

Next article

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota holds lead, privateers fight for third

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota holds lead, privateers fight for third
Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023 Plus

Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023

OPINION: There is plenty of excitement over the glut of manufacturers tackling the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship this season. The selection committee is set to face headaches over who it decides to admit and who gets turned away from the 2023 entry list, but history tells us that the smaller entrants have a place

Jan 9, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay? Plus

Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay?

OPINION: Fresh from hosting a controversial 2022 football World Cup, Qatar has added its name to the 2024 World Endurance Championship calendar. Although questions may be asked about its presence on the calendar, is it simply the price to pay for having a healthy racing championship?

Dec 21, 2022
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Plus

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022