Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche still leads after long safety car period

Brendon Hartley retained the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours for Porsche in a fourth hour dominated by a lengthy safety car period

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche still leads after long safety car period

The race was neutralised once it became clear barrier repairs were required following Loic Duval's crash at the end of the third hour.

Le Mans 24 Hours live coverage

Crucially, the lead battle was split when the three safety cars were sent out, with Hartley circulating one group ahead of his pursuers.

Once the race restarted that amounted to a lead of 1m09s, which became 18 seconds over the #9 Audi of Filipe Albuquerque once Hartley completed a scheduled pitstop after under green flag conditions.

Benoit Treluyer also had to pit in the #7 Audi shortly after the restart, rejoining in third, ahead of the #18 Porsche of Marc Lieb.

Following a four-minute stop for repairs after Duval's shunt, Lucas di Grassi is the first of the main LMP1 cars to be a lap down in the #8 car, which runs eighth.

LMP2

KCMG retains control of LMP2, but it has a new closest challenger.

Having circulated three minutes clear of TDS Racing's Ludovic Badey for 40 minutes behind the safety car, Nicolas Lapierre pitted as soon as green flag conditions returned.

With its fourth stop completed and racing underway again, KCMG's lead was 40s - its buffer before TDS's pre-safety car stop - and Lapierre ended the hour with 33s up his sleeve.

Having taken over OAK's Honda-powered Ligier from Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre passed Badey on the restart and began to chip away at Lapierre's lead.

Badey remains third, ahead of Gary Hirsch in the Greaves Gibson, and the Signatech Alpine and Murphy Prototypes entries, which pitted while the safety car was out.

GTE

Corvette hit the front of a tight GTE scrap, in which Darren Turner spun the #97 Aston Martin out of second.

Tommy Milner led in the #74 Chevrolet entry, making up time with a pitstop under the safety car before taking advantage of a three-way fight ahead of him to move into the lead in the final 20 minutes of the fourth hour.

That charge to the front was facilitated by Aston's Fernando Rees dropping behind Davide Rigon in the #51 Ferrari after the safety car period ended, with Turner also moving ahead of the sister AMR machine.

But when Turner and Rigon lost time getting passed by prototype machinery Milner, who nipped ahead of Rees, drafted past both on the run out of Tertre Rouge.

He then put up a stern defence from Turner, who lost it on his own at the first Mulsanne chicane and dropped to fourth.

That promoted Rees to second in the #99 Aston ahead of Rigon's AF Corse 458 Italia, those two cars having swapped places when the Brazilian pulled a fine move around the outside on the run into the Mulsanne corner.

The second Ferrari and sole remaining Porsche are within a minute of the lead fight, while the long-time race-leading #95 Aston is five laps down after a power steering problem.

In GTE Am the #72 SMP Ferrari leads again, having got ahead of the #98 Aston Martin in a battle that has raged almost from the very start.

That class featured a spectacular exit for the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche, which caught fire at the second Mulsanne chicane and pulled off in a plume of black smoke.

POSITIONS AFTER FOUR HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #17 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 58
2 LMP1 #9 Audi Albuquerque, Bonanomi, Rast 58 + 15.256s
3 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 58 + 53.407s
4 LMP1 #18 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 58 + 1m06.889s
5 LMP1 #19 Porsche Hulkenberg, Bamber, Tandy 58 + 1m34.038s
6 LMP1 #1 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 57 + 1 Lap
7 LMP1 #2 Toyota Wurz, Sarrazin, Conway 57 + 12.077s
8 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 57 + 58.814s
9 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Beche 56 + 2 Laps
10 LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson, Bradley, Lapierre 54 + 4 Laps
11 LMP2 #34 Ligier Cumming, Vanthoor, Estre 54 + 34.016s
12 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Badey, Gommendy 54 + 35.927s
13 LMP2 #41 Gibson Hirsch, Paletou, Lancaster 54 + 46.247s
14 LMP2 #36 Alpine Panciatici, Chatin, Capillaire 53 + 5 Laps
15 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Imperatori, Kraihamer, Abt 53 + 27.148s
16 LMP2 #48 Oreca Chandhok, Patterson, Berthon 53 + 29.942s
17 LMP2 #43 Morgan Ragues, Webb, Amberg 53 + 1m08.747s
18 LMP2 #26 Ligier Rusinov, Canal, Bird 53 + 1m52.288s
19 LMP1 #21 Nissan Matsuda, Shulzhitskiy, Ordonez 53 + 2m15.768s
20 LMP1 #22 Nissan Tincknell, Krumm, Buncombe 53 + 2m20.145s
21 LMP2 #42 Dome Leventis, Watts, Kane 52 + 6 Laps
22 LMP2 #28 Ligier Yacaman, Derani, Gonzalez 52 + 34.164s
23 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Evans, Turvey 52 + 2m39.744s
24 LMP2 #27 BR Mediani, Markozov, Minassian 52 + 2m40.975s
25 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Dalziel, Heinemeier Hansson 51 + 7 Laps
26 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 51 + 2m08.903s
27 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Mucke, Bell 51 + 2m09.494s
28 GTE Pro #99 Aston Rees, Macdowall, Stanaway 51 + 2m10.978s
29 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Calado, Beretta 51 + 2m11.815s
30 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella 51 + 2m53.344s
31 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Bergmeister 51 + 2m56.351s
32 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Shaytar, Bertolini, Basov 51 + 3m27.507s
33 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 51 + 3m29.581s
34 GTE Am #53 Dodge Bleekemolen, Keating, Miller 51 + 3m31.877s
35 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 50 + 8 Laps
36 LMP2 #35 Ligier Nicolet, Merlin, Maris 50 + 5.110s
37 LMP2 #45 Oreca Ibanez, Perret, Bellarosa 50 + 18.119s
38 LMP2 #31 Ligier Brown, Van Overbeek, Fogarty 50 + 1m35.264s
39 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Al Faisal, Giermaziak, Avenatti 50 + 1m56.634s
40 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 50 + 2m07.380s
41 GTE Am #77 Porsche Dempsey, Long, Seefried 50 + 2m20.185s
42 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 50 + 2m27.230s
43 GTE Am #68 Porsche Chen, Vannelet, Parisy 49 + 9 Laps
44 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Mortimer 49 + 3m00.523s
45 LMP2 #29 Morgan Roussel, Tung, Cheng 48 + 10 Laps
46 GTE Am #67 Porsche Chen, Kapadia, Maassen 47 + 11 Laps
47 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Nygaard 46 + 12 Laps
48 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mann, Giammaria, Cressoni 46 + 1m11.379s
49 LMP1 #23 Nissan Pla, Mardenborough, Chilton 45 + 13 Laps
50 GTE Am #88 Porsche Ried, Al Qubaisi, Bachler 44 + 14 Laps
51 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Kaffer, Monteiro 44 + 35m18.292s
52 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Roda, Ruberti, Poulsen 44 + 35m23.222s
53 LMP2 #37 BR Aleshin, Ladygin, Ladygin 36 + 22 Laps
54 GTE Am #96 Aston Goethe, Hall, Castellacci 28 + 30 Laps
55 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Pilet, Makowiecki, Henzler 14 Retired
shares
comments
Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche back in front as Audis hit trouble

Previous article

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche back in front as Audis hit trouble

Next article

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche's Brendon Hartley keeps Audis at bay

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche's Brendon Hartley keeps Audis at bay
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 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
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021