Le Mans 24 Hours: Safety cars help Alonso's Toyota cut gap to first

The #8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID's hunt of the leading sister car was boosted in an incident-filled sixth hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours, which featured two safety car periods

Le Mans 24 Hours: Safety cars help Alonso's Toyota cut gap to first

Fernando Alonso initially lost around 15 seconds for the #8 Toyota when he pitted under the safety car caused by John Farano crashing the RLR Msport ORECA-Gibson 07 at Tertre Rouge.

Alonso handed the car over to Kazuki Nakajima, who had to wait at the end of the pitlane before rejoining behind the safety car.

That meant the #7 Toyota - shared by Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez in the sixth hour - had its lead increased to over a minute.

But the damage was lessened significantly by the consquences of a bizarre crash caused by the GTE Am #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Satoshi Hoshino clipping the rear-right wheel of the GTE Pro #64 Corvette of Marcel Fassler at the Porsche Curve.

The contact sent the Corvette into the inside wall of the Porsche Curve at high speed and destroyed the front-end of the car.

The resulting safety car train picked up the two Toyotas and closed the gap to around 35 seconds between Nakajima and leader Lopez at the end of the hour.

The rivalry between SMP Racing and Rebellion continued to swing back and forth, with the #11 machine driven by Mikhail Aleshin currently in third.

A slow stop had cost the #4 Rebellion its third place in the previous hour, but a swift stop allowed Thomas Laurent to overhaul the #17 SMP machine of Sergey Sirotkin for fourth.

The second Rebellion of Neel Jani continues in sixth behind Sirotkin. ByKolles plummeted down the order to 44th overall - 10 laps down on nearest LMP1 rival Jani - due to a water leak that consigned it to the garage for 34 minutes.

The #10 DragonSpeed of Renger van der Zande is rock bottom in 61st overall after he went off at Tertre Rouge during the hour.

The car has suffered a multitude of problem during the race and it remained in the garage at the close of the hour.

LMP2 - Signatech-Alpine battles back into the lead

Signatech-Alpine reclaimed the lead in LMP2 in the sixth hour as Andre Negrao edged out G-Drive's Roman Rusinov in battle.

Negrao entered the fray in place of Pierre Thiriet at the start of the hour, mirroring G-Drive's strategy by short-filling under a full course yellow brought out by Francesco Castelacci's GTE Am Ferrari and then coming in for a full service one lap later.

Negrao quickly whittled away Rusinov's four-second advantage when racing resumed and took the lead with an aggressive pass into the second chicane on the Mulsanne.

The two cars again followed each other into the pits when the safety car was called for the Fassler crash, and were just under two seconds apart at the close of the hour.

After being disadvantaged by the timing of the FCY in the fifth hour, the chasing #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA of Ho-Pin Tung fell back into the clutches of Pastor Maldonado's #31 DragonSpeed ORECA, and Maldonado wasted no time in taking third place.

Maldonado handed over to Anthony Davidson before the hour ended, with the British driver holding a three second advantage over Tung.

The #22 United Autosports Ligier of Filipe Albuquerque is the best non-ORECA in fifth, just ahead of Ricky Taylor's #37 DC Racing ORECA.

GTE - Porsche takes first as leading Pro pack edges clear

Ferrari briefly moved into the lead of the GTE Pro division after Daniel Serra passed Laurens Vanthoor shortly before the safety car period induced by the #64 Corvette's crash.

That had the effect of bunching up the top five while putting them approximately 1m20s ahead of the next batch of cars, with the leaders all pitting just before the end of the hour.

In those stops, the #92 Porsche, which Kevin Estre took over from Vanthoor, retook the class lead from Serra in the #51 Ferrari, while the surviving #63 Corvette of Antonio Garcia held third ahead from Harry Tincknell's #67 Ford GT.

Nick Tandy ran fifth in the #93 Porsche, but was still to make his seventh stop, ahead of three other cars that were caught out by the safety car - the #91 Porsche, the #71 Ferrari and the #69 Ford.

The Keating Motorsports Ford GT continued to dominate GTE Am, with its lead further boosted by the safety car periods.

After six hours, Jeroen Bleekmolen's lead in the #85 machine was out to massive three minutes over Jeff Segal in the #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari.

TF Sport's Aston Martin, driven by Euan Hankey, and the lead Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Christian Ried were locked in a close fight for third in class.

Positions after six hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 97
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 97 + 17.988s
3 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne 96 + 1 Lap
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Berthon, Menezes 96 + 2.221s
5 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin 96 + 8.987s
6 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Jani, Lotterer, Senna 94 + 3 Laps
7 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 93 + 4 Laps
8 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne 93 + 1.797s
9 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson 92 + 5 Laps
10 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 92 + 3.403s
11 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 92 + 1m28.405s
12 LMP2 #37 Oreca Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor 92 + 1m30.715s
13 LMP2 #39 Oreca Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi 92 + 2m38.468s
14 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 92 + 2m44.686s
15 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 91 + 6 Laps
16 LMP2 #32 Ligier Cullen, Brundle, Owen 91 + 9.115s
17 LMP2 #23 Ligier Binder, Canal, Stevens 91 + 1m36.580s
18 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries 91 + 2m56.843s
19 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 90 + 7 Laps
20 LMP2 #30 Oreca Jamin, Ragues, Dumas 90 + 5.793s
21 LMP2 #25 Oreca Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb 90 + 6.540s
22 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore 90 + 1m41.934s
23 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Boulle 90 + 2m58.339s
24 LMP2 #43 Oreca Farano, Maini, Nato 89 + 8 Laps
25 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko 88 + 9 Laps
26 LMP2 #20 Oreca Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche 87 + 10 Laps
27 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 86 + 11 Laps
28 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 86 + 0.859s
29 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 86 + 4.602s
30 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 86 + 5.367s
31 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito 86 + 10.074s
32 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Bamber, Tandy 86 + 1m17.137s
33 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 86 + 1m19.911s
34 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 86 + 1m20.547s
35 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 86 + 1m21.091s
36 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 85 + 12 Laps
37 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Muller, Jaminet, Olsen 85 + 1.883s
38 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn 85 + 10.569s
39 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Adam 85 + 11.985s
40 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 85 + 17.364s
41 GTE Pro #81 BMW Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng 85 + 1m37.492s
42 GTE Pro #89 Ferrari Derani, Jarvis, Gounon 85 + 1m38.334s
43 GTE Am #85 Ford Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga 84 + 13 Laps
44 LMP1 #4 Enso Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti 84 + 5.385s
45 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Segal, Baptista, Lu 84 + 1m48.738s
46 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 84 + 3m12.451s
47 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Smith 83 + 14 Laps
48 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 83 + 2m16.154s
49 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 83 + 2m19.414s
50 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni 83 + 3m21.923s
51 GTE Am #78 Porsche Prette, Prette, Abril 83 + 5m01.282s
52 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 82 + 15 Laps
53 GTE Am #57 Ferrari Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar 82 + 17m17.159s
54 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Preining 82 + 19m22.586s
55 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 82 + 20m27.012s
56 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 82 + 22m02.482s
57 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 82 + 22m10.863s
58 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini 81 + 16 Laps
59 GTE Am #88 Porsche Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli 78 + 19 Laps
60 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 74 + 23 Laps
61 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 73 + 24 Laps


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Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota holds lead, privateers fight for third
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Lopez leads after Toyotas battle, Laurent crashes

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