Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota leads, Porsches swap places in eighth hour

The #6 Toyota leads the Le Mans 24 Hours at one-third distance, with Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota leads, Porsches swap places in eighth hour

The Frenchman brought the car into the pits for its ninth stop late in the eighth hour, re-emerging with a lead of 23 seconds over the lead Porsche.

The Toyota also has a range advantage over the Porsches, completing 14-lap stints meaning there is now a nine-lap pitstop offset in the favour of the Japanese manufacturer.

While the #1 Porsche started the hour in second, it's the #2 car of Neel Jani that now runs seconds after he passed Timo Bernhard on track.

This was after the #1 Porsche endured yet more bad luck with slow zone timing, which has cost it significant ground over the past two hours.

The second Toyota, currently driven by Kazuki Nakajima, lies fourth after pitting at the end of the hour.

Audi lost more ground in this stint, with the #8 car now driven by Loic Duval having a three-and-a-half minute stop that included a visit to the garage.

This echoed the sister car's slightly longer stop earlier in the hour, although that was less costly as the car is now seven laps down after losing time to a turbocharger change early on.

Both cars were forced to the garage for repairs to their race number lighting systems, following instructions from race control.

LMP2 - TDS STRETCHES ITS LEGS, KCMG FALLS
By Mitchell Adam

Pierre Thiriet has rebuilt Thiriet by TDS Racing's lead in LMP2 to more than one minute at the end of the eighth hour.

Thiriet extended the advantage from 15s to 68s, aided by the fact Signatech Alpine made a driver change, replacing Stephane Richelmi with lead driver Nicolas Lapierre approaching 11pm.

Following problems for Manor in the previous hour, KCMG was the latest frontrunner to strike trouble.

While running third, Tsugio Matsuda stopped on the run between Mulsanne and Indianapolis corners, unable to restart the ORECA, which was last seen being pushed from the scene by marshals.

That has put the G-Drive ORECA back into third, albeit a lap down on Richelmi after a puncture and a drive-through penalty in the first third of the race, with pole winner Rene Rast now back behind the wheel.

The second G-Drive entry, with Simon Dolan in the Gibson, is fourth, 80s clear of Nick Leventis in the Strakka Gibson and the second Alpine with Nelson Panciatici behind the wheel.

With Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin driving, the SMP Racing BR01s are seventh and eighth, two laps behind Thiriet.

The Manor ORECA has returned to the track with Tor Graves, but has lost 11 laps and is 21st of the 23 runners.

FORD CAN'T SHAKE OFF RISI FERRARI IN GTE
By Scott Mitchell and Jack Cozens

Dirk Muller holds a narrow GTE lead for Ford as the stubborn Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE refuses to give up the chase.

Sebastien Bourdais moved the #68 Ford almost half a minute clear of the chasing sister #69 car and the Risi entry, helped in part by a well-timed slow zone.

That ensured that when Bourdais pitted to hand over to Muller the #68 Ford GT remained in front, but Giancarlo Fisichella is just four seconds behind in the 488.

The #66 Ford has recovered from delays in a slow zone to jump ahead of the #69 GT, in which Scott Dixon struggled for outright pace before handing over to Richard Westbrook.

Olivier Pla is now in the #66 car, which is 27s behind Fisichella.

Pedro Lamy continued his strong form from an hour earlier as he clinched the GTE Am lead in the #98 Aston Martin.

Lamy started the hour in second, but the Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing team's decision to swap Patrick Long back in for his second stint of the day in place of Khaled Al Qubaisi in the #88 Porsche allowed the Aston to nose ahead.

Long fought his way back by in the middle of the stint, only for Lamy to retake first.

Their battle for the lead is now a three-way one, as Jeff Segal hauled the #62 Scuderia Corsa entry back up into third early on in the hour, with the three separated by 2.8s.

POSITIONS AFTER EIGHT HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #6 Toyota Sarrazin, Conway, Kobayashi 126
2 LMP1 #2 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 126 + 22.374s
3 LMP1 #1 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 126 + 28.381s
4 LMP1 #5 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 125 + 1 Lap
5 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 124 + 2 Laps
6 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Tuscher, Imperatori, Kraihamer 120 + 6 Laps
7 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 118 + 8 Laps
8 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Beche, Hirakawa 117 + 9 Laps
9 LMP2 #36 Alpine Menezes, Lapierre, Richelmi 116 + 10 Laps
10 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Stevens, Rast 116 + 3m17.084s
11 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Dennis, Van Der Garde 115 + 11 Laps
12 LMP2 #42 Gibson Leventis, Watts, Kane 115 + 1m21.668s
13 LMP2 #35 Alpine Cheng, Tung, Panciatici 115 + 1m50.074s
14 LMP2 #37 BR01 Petrov, Shaytar, Ladygin 115 + 2m47.417s
15 LMP2 #27 BR01 Minassian, Mediani, Aleshin 115 + 2m59.997s
16 LMP2 #41 Ligier Rojas, Canal, Berthon 113 + 13 Laps
17 LMP2 #33 Oreca Pu, Gommendy, De Bruijn 113 + 15.921s
18 LMP2 #25 Ligier Munemann, Hoy, Pizzitola 112 + 14 Laps
19 LMP2 #23 Ligier Barthez, Chatin, Buret 112 + 1m51.294s
20 LMP2 #31 Ligier Dalziel, Derani, Cumming 112 + 2m31.790s
21 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 111 + 15 Laps
22 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Fisichella, Vilander, Malucelli 111 + 4.463s
23 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 111 + 31.123s
24 GTE Pro #66 Ford Pla, Mucke, Johnson 111 + 32.274s
25 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Brown, Van Overbeek 111 + 56.241s
26 LMP2 #49 Ligier Pew, Negri Jr, Vanthoor 111 + 2m42.200s
27 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 111 + 2m57.195s
28 GTE Pro #97 Aston Stanaway, Rees, Adam 110 + 16 Laps
29 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Bertolini 110 + 40.729s
30 GTE Pro #77 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Eng 110 + 46.573s
31 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 110 + 1m01.087s
32 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 110 + 1m07.409s
33 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor 110 + 3m07.158s
34 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Pilet, Estre, Tandy 110 + 3m14.606s
35 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 108 + 18 Laps
36 GTE Am #88 Porsche Al Qubaisi, Heinemeier Hansson, Long 108 + 2.175s
37 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 108 + 2.605s
38 CDNT #84 Morgan Sausset, Tinseau, Bouvet 108 + 16.128s
39 LMP2 #22 Ligier Capillaire, Maris, Coleman 108 + 41.356s
40 LMP2 #43 Ligier Gonzalez, Senna, Albuquerque 108 + 1m22.249s
41 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Scott 108 + 2m24.707s
42 GTE Am #78 Porsche Ried, Henzler, Camathias 107 + 19 Laps
43 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Sawa, Bell 107 + 48.401s
44 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 107 + 55.474s
45 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Yamagishi, Ragues, Belloc 107 + 1m33.840s
46 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr 106 + 20 Laps
47 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Carroll, Barker 106 + 1m14.891s
48 LMP2 #48 Oreca Keating, Bleekemolen, Goossens 106 + 2m28.897s
49 LMP2 #47 Oreca Matsuda, Howson, Bradley 105 + 21 Laps
50 LMP2 #44 Oreca Graves, Rao, Merhi 105 + 43m30.418s
51 LMP2 #34 Oreca Leutwiler, Nakano, Winslow 104 + 22 Laps
52 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Laursen, Mac, Nielsen 104 + 3m14.741s
53 GTE Am #99 Aston Howard, Griffin, Hirsch 102 + 24 Laps
54 LMP2 #28 Morgan Taittinger, Striebig, Roussel 100 + 26 Laps
55 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Calado, Pier Guidi 99 + 27 Laps
56 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Makowiecki, Bamber, Bergmeister 96 + 30 Laps
57 GTE Am #57 Chevrolet O'Connel, Bryant, Patterson 92 + 34 Laps
58 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Webb, Kaffer 91 + 35 Laps
59 GTE Pro #67 Ford Franchitti, Priaulx, Tincknell 86 + 40 Laps
60 GTE Am #89 Porsche Macneil, Keen, Miller 50 Retired
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Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota takes control in seventh hour

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