Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota holds lead, privateers fight for third

Kamui Kobayashi continued to run clear of the #8 Toyota driven by Fernando Alonso, as the battle for third took centre-stage in the fifth hour of Le Mans 24 Hours 2019

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota holds lead, privateers fight for third

Kobayashi's gap was reduced slightly to just under 50s and the two Toyotas remain on an identical stint-length strategy of 11 laps in which the #8 stops first.

There was excitement in the battle for best-of-the-rest as SMP Racing's Stoffel Vandoorne continued to hunt down the #3 Rebellion of Nathanael Berthon and closed to within a second late in the hour.

Vandoorne continually demonstrated the SMP Racing BRE-AER BR1's top-speed advantage by closing in on the Mulsanne straight and hounding the Rebellion through the Porsche Curves and the Ford Chicanes.

But Vandoorne was baulked by slower cars on consecutive laps and it meant he was unable to overhaul Berthon on track.

But a slow two-minute pitstop by the Rebellion crew when Berthon came into to hand over to Neel Jani cost the #3 the position.

Vandoorne had already got out of his car and had been replaced by ex-IndyCar racer Mikhail Aleshin, but he was promoted to third by the Rebellion issue.

The sister SMP car also moved ahead of the Rebellion at the same time, with former Williams Formula 1 driver Sergey Sirotkin taking over fourth place.

New Toyota reserve Thomas Laurent is behind the wheel of the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 and ran ahead of fifth-placed Jani.

The ByKolles ENSO CLM-Gibson P1/01 of Oli Webb is ninth overall, while the #10 DragonSpeed BRE-Gibson BR1's made slower progress and Renger van der Zande ended the hour mired in the middle of the GTE Am field.

LMP2 - G-Drive holds the edge

G-Drive Racing continued to lead Signatech-Alpine at the head of the LMP2 class at the five-hour mark, as a late full course yellow allowed the breakaway leading duo to consolidate their advantage over the chasing pack.

After G-Drive's Job Van Uitert took the lead away from Pierre Thiriet's #36 Signatech-Alpine in the fourth hour, the Dutchman proceeded to build a small lead of three seconds before handing the #26 ORECA over to Roman Rusinov.

Rusinov carried on where Van Uitert left off and was 12 seconds ahead at the turn of the hour after a full course yellow was required to clear away the GTE-Am Ferrari of Francesco Castellaci, which had spun into the gravel at the Porsche Curves.

The FCY hampered the chasing #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, which in Gabriel Aubry's hands had gained 25s on the leaders during his triple stint.

But his stop came before the caution, while both leading cars were able to come in one lap later under the FCY and stretch their advantage back from 50 seconds to around a minute over Tung.

Pastor Maldonado held fourth for DragonSpeed ahead of the #28 TDS Racing ORECA of Francois Perrodo, who took over from Loic Duval under the FCY.

The second Jota-run car of David Heinemeier-Hansson had been ahead of Duval before the stops, but lost out by coming in after the race returned to green and then getting caught behind the slow moving Castelacci.

That dropped the #37 car now driven by Ricky Taylor from fifth down to seventh, with Phil Hanson also benefitting from a well-timed stop to move up a place to sixth in the #22 United Autosports Ligier.

GTE - Title-contending Porsche retains narow lead

Porsche takes over in GTE Pro Porsche assumed a narrow lead in an increasingly frenetic GTE Pro fight, as the 2018/19 World Endurance Championship points-leading #92 machine of Laurens Vanthoor moved to the front.

Vanthoor began the hour running in fourth, joining a four-car train that included the #63 Corvette of Mike Rockenfeller, the #51 Ferrari of Daniel Serra and the #93 Porsche of Earl Bamber.

Serra picked off Rockenfeller to deprive the #63 machine of the net lead for the first time since the opening hour, before Rockenfeller and Bamber pitted.

But Vanthoor was able to leapfrog into the class lead when he and Serra came into the pits, and at the five-hour mark he narrowly led Serra, Rockenfeller and Bamber.

Some 30 seconds behind this group were the leading Ford GTs - the #68 car of Sebastien Bourdais and the #69 machine of Ryan Briscoe - which were closely followed by the #71 Ferrari of Miguel Molina.

The next group of cars, led by the #91 Porsche, was another 20s back.

In GTE Am, the Keating Motorsports Ford GT took over the lead thanks to a rapid stint by Felipe Fraga, who had built a 25s advantage over Christian Ried in the #77 Dempsey-Proton at the top of the hour.

The third-placed JMW Motorsport Ferrari was third in the hands of Wei Lu, albeit one minute and 40 seconds off the class lead, with a narrow advantage over Rob Smith in the WeatherTech Ferrari.

Francesco Castellacci caused a full course yellow when he spun into the gravel at the Porsche Curves in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari.

That followed a similar excursion for Paul Dalla Lana in the #98 Aston Martin, which led to that car having a 17-minute spell in the garage, all but extinguishing any hopes of a farewell win for the old-generation Vantage.

Positions after five hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 84
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 84 + 42.388s
3 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne 82 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin 82 + 51.862s
5 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Berthon, Menezes 82 + 2m12.223s
6 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Jani, Lotterer, Senna 80 + 4 Laps
7 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne 79 + 5 Laps
8 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 79 + 34.604s
9 LMP1 #4 Enso Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti 79 + 2m59.722s
10 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 79 + 4m19.171s
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor 79 + 4m28.455s
12 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson 79 + 4m30.937s
13 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 79 + 5m30.216s
14 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 79 + 5m31.455s
15 LMP2 #39 Oreca Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi 79 + 5m45.539s
16 LMP2 #32 Ligier Cullen, Brundle, Owen 78 + 6 Laps
17 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 78 + 1m42.148s
18 LMP2 #23 Ligier Binder, Canal, Stevens 78 + 4m36.661s
19 LMP2 #43 Oreca Farano, Maini, Nato 78 + 5m37.662s
20 LMP2 #25 Oreca Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb 78 + 5m48.514s
21 LMP2 #20 Oreca Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche 77 + 7 Laps
22 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 77 + 2m09.158s
23 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore 77 + 3m30.030s
24 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries 77 + 4m32.014s
25 LMP2 #30 Oreca Jamin, Ragues, Dumas 77 + 5m10.966s
26 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Boulle 77 + 7m53.585s
27 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko 76 + 8 Laps
28 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 73 + 11 Laps
29 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 73 + 1.379s
30 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 73 + 1.868s
31 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Bamber, Tandy 73 + 4.099s
32 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 73 + 59.378s
33 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 73 + 1m01.036s
34 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 73 + 1m03.700s
35 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 73 + 1m23.586s
36 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 73 + 1m25.998s
37 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 73 + 1m26.852s
38 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito 73 + 1m34.046s
39 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Muller, Jaminet, Olsen 73 + 2m15.437s
40 GTE Pro #89 Ferrari Derani, Jarvis, Gounon 73 + 2m50.955s
41 GTE Pro #81 BMW Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng 73 + 2m51.608s
42 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 73 + 3m07.209s
43 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Adam 72 + 12 Laps
44 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn 72 + 32.392s
45 GTE Am #85 Ford Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga 72 + 5m33.405s
46 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 72 + 5m59.074s
47 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 71 + 13 Laps
48 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Segal, Baptista, Lu 71 + 1m44.966s
49 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Smith 71 + 1m53.607s
50 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 71 + 2m37.819s
51 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 71 + 4m33.787s
52 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni 71 + 4m45.041s
53 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Preining 71 + 5m44.959s
54 GTE Am #78 Porsche Prette, Prette, Abril 70 + 14 Laps
55 GTE Am #57 Ferrari Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar 70 + 1m16.711s
56 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 70 + 5m53.921s
57 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 70 + 6m18.897s
58 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini 70 + 6m24.178s
59 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 70 + 6m46.759s
60 GTE Am #88 Porsche Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli 68 + 16 Laps
61 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 62 + 22 Laps

Le Mans 24 Hours: Kobayashi holds leading Toyota's gap to Alonso
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