Le Mans 24 Hours: Nakajima retains lead in #8 Toyota

Toyota's #8 crew held a secure lead in the 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours with eight hours to go, helped by drama for the #7 car

Le Mans 24 Hours: Nakajima retains lead in #8 Toyota

Having inherited a one-lap lead as a result of the #7 car's turbo issues just past the halfway point, Brendon Hartley handed over the #8 car to Kazuki Nakajima towards the end of the 14th hour.

Nakajima then proceeded to gain another lap over the second-placed #1 Rebellion R-13, currently driven by Norman Nato, in the 16th hour.

The second Rebellion, the #3 car, was three laps off the pace with Le Mans rookie Louis Deletraz at the wheel, while the #7 Toyota was circulating six laps behind its sister car with Jose Maria Lopez posting some quick lap times.

In LMP2, the all-United Autosports battle for the lead continued to rage. The two ORECAs pitted together at the end of the 15th hour, with the #22 machine taking the advantage by virtue of not changing tyres, putting the two cars on diverging strategies.

Filipe Albuquerque brought in the #22 car to hand over to Phil Hanson midway through the 16th hour, and Job van Uitert in the sister #32 machine was closing fast when the car was hit with a suspected oil leak just shy of the 16-hour mark.

The Goodyear-shod JOTA Sport ORECA had been closing on the lead battle, at one point running only 15 seconds off the lead, but an unscheduled pitstop cost the #38 car around a minute.

Anthony Davidson ran just over a minute off the lead at the 16-hour mark, regaining second place after the problem for the #32 United car.

Matthieu Vaxiviere ran third in the similarly Goodyear-equipped Panis Racing ORECA, but being hunted down rapidly by Roman Rusinov in the G-Drive Racing ORECA, while James Allen was running fifth in the Graff ORECA.

There was more drama for the #29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA, as Nyck de Vries got tangled up with Toni Vilander's WeatherTech Racing Ferrari in an incident at Tertre Rouge - causing terminal damage to the latter car.

In GTE Pro, Aston Martin got the upper hand over Ferrari after Alex Lynn handed over the #97 Vantage GTE to Maxime Martin, who passed Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari.

Once Pier Guidi pitted to make way for Daniel Serra, Martin was leading by around 15s until he came in to hand over to Harry Tincknell just before the 16-hour mark.

That meant Serra led by 90s over Tincknell but due a stop, while the second works Aston of Marco Sorensen continued to run third, a lap down.

There was more drama for Porsche as the #91 car, which had been fourth in class, was pushed into the garage to fix an electrical problem, elevating the #71 Ferrari to fourth.

In GTE Am, a superb stint from Jonathan Adam in the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin had given that car a handsome lead, even before its nearest rival, the #98 Aston Martin, was struck by a suspension issue that forced the car being driven by Ross Gunn into the garage.

Charlie Eastwood, having taken over from Adam, ran nearly a lap ahead of Matt Campbell in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, while the #56 Project 1 Porsche of Larry ten Voorde was up to third in class ahead of the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen.

Le Mans 24 Hours - positions after 16 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Hartley 254
2 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Senna, Nato, Menezes 252 + 2 Laps
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Dumas, Berthon, Deletraz 250 + 4 Laps
4 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 248 + 6 Laps
5 LMP2 #22 Oreca Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 243 + 11 Laps
6 LMP2 #38 Oreca Davidson, Da Costa, Gonzalez 243 + 57.426s
7 LMP2 #31 Oreca Jamin, Canal, Vaxiviere 241 + 13 Laps
8 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Vergne, Jensen 241 + 1m16.481s
9 LMP2 #32 Oreca Owen, Brundle, Van Uitert 240 + 14 Laps
10 LMP2 #39 Oreca Allen, Capillaire, Milesi 240 + 8m50.038s
11 LMP2 #42 Oreca Lapierre, Borga, Coigny 240 + 9m50.949s
12 LMP2 #27 Oreca Hedman, Hanley, Van der Zande 240 + 11m04.410s
13 LMP2 #36 Alpine Negrao, Ragues, Laurent 240 + 11m39.458s
14 LMP2 #28 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Bradley 239 + 15 Laps
15 LMP2 #25 Oreca Falb, Trummer, McMurry 239 + 2m00.578s
16 LMP2 #50 Oreca Calderon, Florsch, Visser 239 + 2m08.146s
17 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Belicchi, Sernagiotto 238 + 16 Laps
18 LMP2 #17 Oreca Pilet, Tilley, Kennard 238 + 1m06.962s
19 LMP2 #35 Ligier Yamanaka, Foster, Merhi 232 + 22 Laps
20 LMP2 #29 Oreca Van Eerd, Van der Garde, De Vries 229 + 25 Laps
21 LMP2 #24 Oreca Grist, Kapadia, Wells 227 + 27 Laps
22 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 227 + 20.622s
23 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Tincknell 227 + 1m30.664s
24 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Westbrook 226 + 28 Laps
25 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Binder, Isaakyan 223 + 31 Laps
26 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Molina, Bird 223 + 1m55.889s
27 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Pla, Bourdais, Gounon 223 + 2m13.240s
28 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Eastwood, Adam 223 + 2m52.185s
29 GTE Am #77 Porsche Ried, Pera, Campbell 222 + 32 Laps
30 GTE Am #56 Porsche Perfetti, Ten Voorde, Cairoli 222 + 31.386s
31 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Nielsen 221 + 33 Laps
32 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Watson 221 + 3m49.869s
33 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Gunn, Farfus 220 + 34 Laps
34 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Heistand, Root, Magnussen 220 + 5m04.444s
35 GTE Am #99 Porsche Inthraphuvasak, Legeret, Andlauer 220 + 7m45.677s
36 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Bruni, Lietz, Makowiecki 219 + 35 Laps
37 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Piovanetti, Negri Jr., Ledogar 219 + 17m34.872s
38 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Chen, Blomqvist, Gomes 219 + 20m08.319s
39 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 218 + 36 Laps
40 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Ruberti 218 + 39.648s
41 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 218 + 2m24.488s
42 GTE Am #78 Porsche Felbermayr, Beretta, Van Splunteren 215 + 39 Laps
43 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 214 + 40 Laps
44 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Grimes, Mowlem, Hollings 212 + 42 Laps
45 GTE Am #75 Ferrari Mastronardi, Cressoni, Piccini 211 + 43 Laps
46 GTE Am #57 Porsche Keating, Fraga, Bleekemolen 211 + 15m31.501s
47 GTE Am #89 Porsche Brooks, Piguet, Laskaratos 210 + 44 Laps
48 GTE Am #88 Porsche Preining, Bastien, De Leener 130 + 124 Laps
49 LMP2 #21 Oreca Montoya, Buret, Rojas 192 + 62 Laps
50 GTE Pro #63 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Segal 185 + 69 Laps
51 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Kimura, Abril, Cozzolino 172 + 82 Laps
52 LMP2 #37 Oreca Tung, Aubry, Stevens 141 + 113 Laps
53 LMP2 #16 Aurus Cullen, Jarvis, Tandy 105 + 149 Laps
54 LMP2 #30 Oreca Hirschi, Tereschenko, Gommendy 100 + 154 Laps
55 LMP1 #4 ENSO Dillmann, Spengler, Webb 97 + 157 Laps
56 LMP2 #33 Oreca Yamashita, Patterson, Fjordbach 88 + 166 Laps
57 GTE Am #52 Ferrari Ulrich, Gorig, West 80 + 174 Laps
58 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Scott, Griffin 78 + 176 Laps
59 LMP2 #11 Ligier Tambay, Maris, D'Ansembourg 26 + 228 Laps
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Le Mans 24 Hours: #8 Toyota takes lead at half-distance, #7 gets turbo issue

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