Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche GTE gap erased, #7 Toyota leads overall

A safety car erased Porsche's lead in GTE Am, while the #7 Toyota moved back ahead of the sister #8 TS050 HYBRID as the Le Mans 24 Hours passed halfway

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche GTE gap erased, #7 Toyota leads overall

Mike Conway had been marginally behind Sebastien Buemi at the turn of the previous hour, but ended his second stint in the car with an advantage of 1m02.781s over Buemi - who had stopped the #8 two laps earlier and did not hand over to a team-mate.

That proved enough for the #7 to get the jump on the #8 as Kamui Kobayashi emerged from the pitlane.

The two cars were in the same queue when a safety-car period was called late on, and restarted less than two seconds apart, but Kobayashi blitzed the restart in traffic to pull an initial gap of eight seconds.

Nathanael Berthon remains third in the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13, and had a further level of comfortability added to his margin over the sole remaining SMP car of Stoffel Vandoorne during the safety-car period.

World Touring Car Cup race winner Berthon now has 2m30s in hand over the #11 BR Engineering BR1, which in turn is three laps ahead of the #1 Rebellion - the last of the LMP1 cars in a representative position in the overall order.

The ByKolles car is still circulating in the hands of Tom Dillmann, but is 55th in the order and 39 laps down.

LMP2 - G-Drive hold two minute advantage

Roman Rusinov has retained G-Drive Racing's two-minute advantage over the #36 Signatech-Alpine now being driven by Andre Negrao at the race's halfway stage.

After taking over from Pierre Thiriet, Negrao was unable to make inroads into Rusinov's lead due to two incidents involving Henning Enqvist in the ARC Bratislava Ligier, which had been multiple laps down after several scrapes throughout the race.

Swedish gentleman driver Enqvist first locked up at Indianapolis and nosed into the wall, requiring the car to be craned out of the gravel.

He then hit the wall at the Porsche Curves and was unable to get the car back to the pits.

Behind Negrao, Signatech's chief title rivals for the WEC LMP2 championship continue to hold third place with Ho-Pin Tung taking over from Gabriel Aubry in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA.

Pastor Maldonado was attempting to chase him down in fourth for DragonSpeed, but Tung was comfortably maintaining the gap at around six seconds at the hour mark.

Matthieu Vaviviere has brought the #28 TDS Racing ORECA back to fifth, usurping the #37 DC Racing ORECA of Ricky Taylor.

Vaxiviere and team-mate Loic Duval have been running back-to-back stints throughout the night to give their gentleman co-driver Francois Perrodo a chance to rest, while the Jota Sport-run #37 crew gave its amateur driver David Heinemeier-Hansson a triple stint.

GTE - Safety car erases Porsche lead as Ferrari closes in

Laurens Vanthoor appeared to have broken into a comfortable GTE Pro lead in the 12th hour, only for the safety car to bring the #51 Ferrari back into play.

Porsche driver Vanthoor returned to the track with an advantage of more than half a minute over AF Corse's Daniel Serra, but the subsequent slow period wiped that out and meant the two restarted just a handful of seconds apart.

The #91 Porsche is now up to third in class in Fred Makowiecki's hands, with Earl Bamber making it three 911 RSRs in the top four.

Bamber was within a second of the #91 car, and had a 2.7s margin over the sole remaining Corvette of Mike Rockenfeller.

Felipe Fraga continues to lead the Am class in the Keating Ford, while Charlie Eastwood claimed second in his TF Sport Aston Martin by passing the #77 Porsche of Christian Reid after the safety car period.

Positions after 12 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 187
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 187 + 4.508s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Berthon, Menezes 185 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne 184 + 3 Laps
5 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Jani, Lotterer, Senna 181 + 6 Laps
6 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne 179 + 8 Laps
7 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 179 + 3m08.454s
8 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 178 + 9 Laps
9 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson 178 + 10.168s
10 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 178 + 3m12.044s
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor 178 + 3m15.902s
12 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 177 + 10 Laps
13 LMP2 #32 Ligier Cullen, Brundle, Owen 177 + 0.417s
14 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 176 + 11 Laps
15 LMP2 #30 Oreca Jamin, Ragues, Dumas 176 + 10.911s
16 LMP2 #23 Ligier Binder, Canal, Stevens 176 + 3m26.244s
17 LMP2 #25 Oreca Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb 175 + 12 Laps
18 LMP2 #39 Oreca Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi 174 + 13 Laps
19 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 174 + 3m15.129s
20 LMP2 #43 Oreca Farano, Maini, Nato 173 + 14 Laps
21 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Boulle 172 + 15 Laps
22 LMP2 #20 Oreca Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche 171 + 16 Laps
23 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries 171 + 45.290s
24 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore 167 + 20 Laps
25 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 167 + 3m03.407s
26 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 167 + 3m05.645s
27 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 166 + 21 Laps
28 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Bamber, Tandy 166 + 0.838s
29 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 166 + 2.764s
30 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 166 + 5.532s
31 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 166 + 6.746s
32 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito 166 + 12.198s
33 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Muller, Jaminet, Olsen 166 + 3m31.130s
34 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 165 + 22 Laps
35 GTE Pro #89 Ferrari Derani, Jarvis, Gounon 165 + 7.869s
36 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn 164 + 23 Laps
37 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin 163 + 24 Laps
38 GTE Am #85 Ford Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga 163 + 1h37m10.637s
39 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 163 + 1h40m30.889s
40 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 163 + 1h40m31.287s
41 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Segal, Baptista, Lu 162 + 25 Laps
42 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Smith 162 + 3.368s
43 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 162 + 5.460s
44 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni 162 + 3m35.568s
45 GTE Pro #81 BMW Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng 161 + 26 Laps
46 GTE Am #57 Ferrari Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar 161 + 4.599s
47 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Preining 161 + 2m10.386s
48 GTE Am #78 Porsche Prette, Prette, Abril 161 + 3m24.739s
49 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 160 + 27 Laps
50 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 160 + 0.429s
51 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 160 + 1m03.558s
52 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko 158 + 29 Laps
53 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Adam 158 + 27m34.280s
54 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini 157 + 30 Laps
55 LMP1 #4 Enso Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti 148 + 39 Laps
56 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 140 + 47 Laps
57 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 132 + 55 Laps
58 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 87 + 100 Laps
59 GTE Am #88 Porsche Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli 79 + 108 Laps
60 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 76 + 111 Laps
61 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 82 + 105 Laps
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Buemi holds narrow lead after SMP-induced safety car
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