Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota #7 car retains lead, Kobayashi heads Hartley

Toyota remained comfortably in control of the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours after four hours, with Kamui Kobayashi leading the race from Brendon Hartley

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota #7 car retains lead, Kobayashi heads Hartley

The two Toyotas were running out of sync to each other after Sebastien Buemi was forced to curtail his first stint in the #8 TS050 with a suspected puncture.

That meant they initially settled into an ebb and flow of trading the lead based on their stints, but partially through quicker pitstops the #7 car established a net lead.

At the four-hour mark Kamui Kobayashi, who took pole on Friday for the Japanese marque, led team-mate Brendon Hartley by 40 seconds.

Both Rebellion cars continued to lose ground at a steady rate of three to five seconds per lap. Third-placed #1 car of Gustavo Menezes was in danger of being lapped after four hours, a fate that already befell the fourth-placed #3 car of Le Mans veteran Romain Dumas.

The fifth and final LMP1 entrant, the #4 ByKolles car, spent time in the garage in the third hour with an alternator problem and returned to the track eight laps down.

In LMP2 the #39 Graff Racing ORECA gained the lead in the second hour with James Allen behind the wheel, but that car disappeared from the front due to a spin from Vincent Capillaire in the Porsche Curves after 3h30m, which prompted the Frenchman to make an extra pitstop.

In the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing, Will Stevens made rapid progress and took over the lead of the race before handing over the car to Ho-Pin Tung. At the four-hour mark the car was running fifth, but it was the only LMP2 runner to have made seven pitstops.

Job van Uitert drove the #32 United Autosports ORECA to the front before handing over to Will Owen, who assumed the lead after four hours, courtesy of earlier stops for both Tung and the #26 G-Drive of Roman Rusinov.

Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa made good progress after his #38 Jota ORECA qualified in the pack and handed the car over to Roberto Gonzalez while running in the top three.

The #30 Duqueine ORECA is also in the hunt after stellar driving by Konstantin Tereschenko, passing the polesitter #22 United Autosports of Phil Hanson.

The #97 Aston Martin took control of GTE Pro in the third hour. Maxime Martin caught and passed the #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Miguel Molina for the lead in the first Mulsanne chicane around 2h20 into the race, before handing over the car to Ford refugee Harry Tincknell.

In the #51 AF Corse entry Alessandro Pier Guidi also passed Molina, who then handed the car over to Sam Bird. Bird remained in third throughout the fourth hour but cycled to the lead at various times on a different pitstop cycle.

Marco Sorensen handed the second #95 Aston over to Richard Westbrook, another former Ford GT driver, in fourth.

Laurens Vanthoor took the reins of the #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19, which went off-sequence after a puncture for Michael Christensen. Porsche are struggling to match Aston Martin and Ferrari for outright pace, #91 driver Fred Makowiecki languishing in seventh.

In GTE Am the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Emmanuel Collard benefited by pitting under a Slow Zone to vault into the lead just before the four-hour mark.

Ross Gunn initially led the way throughout his stint in the #98 Aston Martin. When he handed over the car to the team's amateur driver Paul Dalla Lana, the car dropped to third as the competition was still using its pro drivers and the Canadian businessman lost time by going off in the Porsche Curves.

Augusto Farfus took over the #98 Aston before the four-hour mark to reclaim lost ground.

Salih Yoluc then assumed the lead in the #90 Aston, but was caught and passed by Larry ten Voorde in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche before a Slow Zone promoted Collard to the lead.

Le Mans 24 Hours - positions after 4 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 68
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Hartley 68 + 40.341s
3 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Senna, Nato, Menezes 67 + 1 Lap
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Dumas, Berthon, Deletraz 67 + 1m26.268s
5 LMP2 #32 Oreca Owen, Brundle, Van Uitert 64 + 4 Laps
6 LMP2 #38 Oreca Davidson, Da Costa, Gonzalez 64 + 17.495s
7 LMP2 #30 Oreca Hirschi, Tereschenko, Gommendy 64 + 18.037s
8 LMP2 #22 Oreca Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 64 + 19.986s
9 LMP2 #37 Oreca Tung, Aubry, Stevens 64 + 46.167s
10 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Vergne, Jensen 64 + 47.032s
11 LMP2 #31 Oreca Jamin, Canal, Vaxiviere 64 + 1m17.282s
12 LMP2 #39 Oreca Allen, Capillaire, Milesi 64 + 3m08.757s
13 LMP2 #27 Oreca Hedman, Hanley, Van der Zande 63 + 5 Laps
14 LMP2 #21 Oreca Montoya, Buret, Rojas 63 + 0.759s
15 LMP2 #50 Oreca Calderon, Florsch, Visser 63 + 52.114s
16 LMP2 #25 Oreca Falb, Trummer, McMurry 63 + 53.914s
17 LMP2 #33 Oreca Yamashita, Patterson, Fjordbach 63 + 1m07.420s
18 LMP2 #16 Aurus Cullen, Jarvis, Tandy 63 + 1m08.841s
19 LMP2 #42 Oreca Lapierre, Borga, Coigny 63 + 1m13.225s
20 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Belicchi, Sernagiotto 63 + 2m27.167s
21 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Binder, Isaakyan 62 + 6 Laps
22 LMP2 #17 Oreca Pilet, Tilley, Kennard 62 + 15.992s
23 LMP2 #28 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Bradley 62 + 2m00.660s
24 LMP2 #36 Alpine Negrao, Ragues, Laurent 62 + 3m00.499s
25 LMP2 #29 Oreca Van Eerd, Van der Garde, De Vries 61 + 7 Laps
26 LMP1 #4 ENSO Dillmann, Spengler, Webb 60 + 8 Laps
27 LMP2 #35 Ligier Yamanaka, Foster, Merhi 60 + 52.787s
28 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Molina, Bird 60 + 59.786s
29 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Tincknell 59 + 9 Laps
30 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 59 + 0.794s
31 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Westbrook 59 + 20.508s
32 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 59 + 38.251s
33 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Bruni, Lietz, Makowiecki 59 + 2m03.717s
34 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Pla, Bourdais, Gounon 59 + 2m05.012s
35 GTE Pro #63 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Segal 59 + 2m18.918s
36 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Nielsen 58 + 10 Laps
37 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Chen, Blomqvist, Gomes 58 + 18.407s
38 GTE Am #56 Porsche Perfetti, Ten Voorde, Cairoli 58 + 26.234s
39 GTE Am #75 Ferrari Mastronardi, Cressoni, Piccini 58 + 45.214s
40 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Eastwood, Adam 58 + 46.065s
41 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Gunn, Farfus 58 + 1m02.620s
42 GTE Am #57 Porsche Keating, Fraga, Bleekemolen 58 + 1m23.247s
43 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Piovanetti, Negri Jr., Ledogar 58 + 1m57.502s
44 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Scott, Griffin 58 + 2m29.795s
45 GTE Am #77 Porsche Ried, Pera, Campbell 57 + 11 Laps
46 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Watson 57 + 1.827s
47 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Heistand, Root, Magnussen 57 + 27.425s
48 LMP2 #24 Oreca Grist, Kapadia, Wells 57 + 37.093s
49 GTE Am #99 Porsche Inthraphuvasak, Legeret, Andlauer 57 + 1m25.912s
50 GTE Am #78 Porsche Felbermayr, Beretta, Van Splunteren 57 + 2m02.266s
51 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 57 + 2m36.458s
52 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Ruberti 57 + 3m12.900s
53 GTE Am #89 Porsche Brooks, Piguet, Laskaratos 56 + 12 Laps
54 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Grimes, Mowlem, Hollings 56 + 18.432s
55 GTE Am #52 Ferrari Ulrich, Gorig, West 56 + 2m13.558s
56 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 55 + 13 Laps
57 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Kimura, Abril, Cozzolino 51 + 17 Laps
58 GTE Am #88 Porsche Preining, Bastien, De Leener 8 + 60 Laps
59 LMP2 #11 Ligier Tambay, Maris, D'Ansembourg 26 + 42 Laps
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About this article

Series WEC
Drivers Brendon Hartley , Kamui Kobayashi
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Filip Cleeren
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