Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota resists Porsche into final hour

Toyota and Porsche entered the final hour of the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours separated by roughly half a minute as their race-long battle at the front nears its conclusion

Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota resists Porsche into final hour

The #5 Toyota in the hands of Kazuki Nakajima maintained its advantage over Neel Jani in the #2 Porsche, which hovered around the 30-second mark following the leading car's final driver change.

While Toyota appears to have the chasing Porsche under control, the fact both cars are separated by such a small margin after 23 hours sets up a tense final hour.

Porsche also started stretching the #2 car's stints to 14 laps, matching the tactic Toyota has employed throughout the race, but Jani has been unable to make any significant inroads into Nakajima's lead.

Toyota remains on course to have two cars on the podium, with the #6 TS050 that led for so long through the night still several laps clear of the fourth-placed Audi.

LMP2 - LAPIERRE TO BRING SIGNATECH HOME
By Mitchell Adam

G-Drive is still on the lead lap, but Signatech Alpine is one hour from its maiden Le Mans victory.

Nicolas Lapierre is back behind the wheel of the leading car, having taken over from Stephane Richelmi.

The driver change meant the G-Drive ORECA was able to stay on the same lap, but Roman Rusinov starts the final hour 3m15s adrift.

SMP Racing with Vitaly Petrov and Strakka Racing with Danny Watts are still third and fourth.

Pu Jun Jin is in the fifth-placed Eurasia Motorsport ORECA for the run home, with Julien Canal getting the nod for Greaves Motorsport.

Pegasus Racing's eventful weekend finished with another off at Mulsanne corner, with Ines Taittinger behind the wheel.

After the Morgan was retrieved under slow zone conditions, Taittinger had a punctured left-rear tyre, and stopped the car as it caught fire on the run to Indianapolis corner, leading to the deployment of another slow zone.

GTE PRO - VICTORY IN FORD'S SIGHTS
By Scott Mitchell

Ford is on course for a victorious return to Le Mans with Dirk Muller comfortably in control in the #68 GT.

The challenge from the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE has faded in the last couple of hours and was blunted further when a slow zone coincided with the Ford's penultimate pitstop.

With Giancarlo Fisichella entering the slow zone as Muller's stop took place, that extended the Ford's advantage from 40-odd seconds to more than a minute.

Fisichella has done well to cover off the late push from the #69 Ford.

Despite Scott Dixon's best efforts, the second of the IMSA SportsCar Championship regular Ford entries appears set to settle for third.

GTE AM - COMFORTABLE FOR CORSA
By Jack Cozens

The #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari stands on the verge of the victory in the GTE Am class with a huge buffer between itself and the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche.

Jeff Segal consolidated the #62's lead in his second stint of the afternoon and enters the final hour of the race with a lead of more than two minutes, with David Heinemeier Hansson promoted back to second ahead of the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Emmanuel Collard after the pitstop phase.

POSITIONS AFTER 23 HOURS

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #5 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 367
2 LMP1 #2 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 367 + 27.987s
3 LMP1 #6 Toyota Sarrazin, Conway, Kobayashi 363 + 4 Laps
4 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 354 + 13 Laps
5 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 349 + 18 Laps
6 LMP2 #36 Alpine Menezes, Lapierre, Richelmi 341 + 26 Laps
7 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Stevens, Rast 340 + 27 Laps
8 LMP2 #37 BR01 Petrov, Shaytar, Ladygin 336 + 31 Laps
9 LMP2 #42 Gibson Leventis, Watts, Kane 335 + 32 Laps
10 LMP2 #33 Oreca Pu, Gommendy, De Bruijn 332 + 35 Laps
11 LMP2 #41 Ligier Rojas, Canal, Berthon 331 + 36 Laps
12 LMP2 #27 BR01 Minassian, Mediani, Aleshin 331 + 1m35.641s
13 LMP2 #23 Ligier Barthez, Chatin, Buret 330 + 37 Laps
14 LMP2 #49 Ligier Pew, Negri Jr, Vanthoor 329 + 38 Laps
15 LMP1 #1 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 328 + 39 Laps
16 LMP2 #43 Ligier Gonzalez, Senna, Albuquerque 328 + 2m02.742s
17 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Brown, Van Overbeek 326 + 41 Laps
18 LMP2 #25 Ligier Munemann, Hoy, Pizzitola 325 + 42 Laps
19 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 325 + 7.187s
20 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Fisichella, Vilander, Malucelli 324 + 43 Laps
21 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 324 + 22.040s
22 GTE Pro #66 Ford Pla, Mucke, Johnson 323 + 44 Laps
23 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 322 + 45 Laps
24 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 322 + 58.772s
25 GTE Pro #97 Aston Stanaway, Rees, Adam 321 + 46 Laps
26 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor 320 + 47 Laps
27 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 316 + 51 Laps
28 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 315 + 52 Laps
29 GTE Am #88 Porsche Al Qubaisi, Heinemeier Hansson, Long 315 + 20.961s
30 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Sawa, Bell 314 + 53 Laps
31 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr 313 + 54 Laps
32 GTE Pro #77 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Eng 313 + 52.522s
33 LMP2 #22 Ligier Capillaire, Maris, Coleman 313 + 1m31.148s
34 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Carroll, Barker 312 + 55 Laps
35 LMP2 #48 Oreca Keating, Bleekemolen, Goossens 308 + 59 Laps
36 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Laursen, Mac, Nielsen 304 + 63 Laps
37 GTE Am #99 Aston Howard, Griffin, Hirsch 303 + 64 Laps
38 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Yamagishi, Ragues, Belloc 300 + 67 Laps
39 CDNT #84 Morgan Sausset, Tinseau, Bouvet 300 + 2m05.845s
40 LMP2 #31 Ligier Dalziel, Derani, Cumming 295 + 72 Laps
41 LMP2 #28 Morgan Taittinger, Striebig, Roussel 292 + 75 Laps
42 GTE Am #57 Chevrolet O'Connel, Bryant, Patterson 291 + 76 Laps
43 GTE Pro #67 Ford Franchitti, Priaulx, Tincknell 290 + 77 Laps
44 GTE Am #78 Porsche Ried, Henzler, Camathias 285 + 82 Laps
45 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Scott 283 + 84 Laps
46 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 281 + 86 Laps
47 LMP2 #34 Oreca Leutwiler, Nakano, Winslow 281 + 2h00m04.717s
48 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Dennis, Van Der Garde 222 + 145 Laps
49 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Tuscher, Imperatori, Kraihamer 200 + 167 Laps
50 LMP2 #44 Oreca Graves, Rao, Merhi 283 Retired
51 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Beche, Hirakawa 241 Retired
52 LMP2 #35 Alpine Cheng, Tung, Panciatici 234 Retired
53 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 219 Retired
54 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Webb, Kaffer 206 Retired
55 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Calado, Pier Guidi 179 Retired
56 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Bertolini 143 Retired
57 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Makowiecki, Bamber, Bergmeister 140 Retired
58 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Pilet, Estre, Tandy 135 Retired
59 LMP2 #47 Oreca Matsuda, Howson, Bradley 116 Retired
60 GTE Am #89 Porsche Macneil, Keen, Miller 50 Retired
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#5 Toyota leads Porsche in Le Mans 24 Hours with two hours to go

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