Le Mans hour 18: Buemi extends #8 Toyota's lead

Sebastien Buemi edged away from Toyota team-mate Mike Conway as the Le Mans 24 Hours moved towards three-quarters distance

Le Mans hour 18: Buemi extends #8 Toyota's lead

The Swiss driver ended the 18th hour of the race 42s head of the sister car, a net gain of around 10s over the 60 minutes.

Buemi, who shares the #8 TS050 HYBRID with Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima, had been as little as half a minute ahead of Conway before extending his advantage in the closing stages of the hour.

The two Rebellion Racing entries continued to run strongly in third and fourth positions, albeit 10 laps behind the Toyotas.

Andre Lotterer had closed to within just over 20s of Mathias Beche in the sister Rebellion-Gibson R-13.

The only other privateer LMP1 on track at the top of the hour was the delayed SMP Racing BRE BR1.

Mikhail Aleshin was lapping significantly faster than the Rebellions in the AER-powered car.

The DragonSpeed BRE-Gibson BR1 was still in the pits undergoing repairs are Ben Hanley crashed in hour 17.

The remaining Manor-run Ginetta-Mecachrome G60-LT-P1 driven by Mike Simpson, Charlie Roberston and Leo Roussel was in its garage with gearbox problems.

No change in LMP2

For a fourth hour in a row, the leading five cars in the LMP2 class remained in the same order with the G-Drive entry still a lap clear.

Roman Rusinov continued in the #26 ORECA 07-Gibson and was consistently faster than the chasing pack.

He remains a lap clear of the Panis Barthez Ligier that occupies second, with Pierre Thiriet third in the #36 Signatech Alpine.

The IDEC Sport ORECA and #22 United Autosports Ligier remain fourth and fifth respectively, two laps down, as the gap between the two increased slightly to 27s in the 17th hour.

#92 more than two minutes clear

The status quo was maintained in a GTE Pro contest that looks increasingly likely to yield victory for Porsche and its two Manthey-run 911 RSRs.

Michael Christensen took over the lead #92 car from Kevin Estre and maintained a lead of 2m28s over Gianmaria Bruni, who replaced Richard Lietz at the wheel of the #91.

Dirk Muller took over the controls of the leading Ford GT, the #68, but failed to make any impression on the leading Porsches and was 32s down at the 18-hour mark.

In a rare change of position, the #63 Corvette moved ahead of the #69 Ford in the fight for fourth when Antonio Garcia and Ryan Briscoe took over those cars respectively.

The #52 Ferrari, now with Toni Vilander at the wheel, suffered more misfortune when Antonio Giovinazzi picked up a drive-through penalty for pitlane speeding in his stint.

In GTE Am, Giancarlo Fisichella reduced the advantage of the lead #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Christian Ried to just under three minutes in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari.

The Italian ex-F1 star has 30s in hand over the third-placed Keating/Risi Ferrari.

Positions after 18 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 295
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 295 + 42.155s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 285 + 10 Laps
4 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 285 + 23.463s
5 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 281 + 14 Laps
6 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 280 + 15 Laps
7 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 279 + 16 Laps
8 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 278 + 17 Laps
9 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 278 + 23.821s
10 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 277 + 18 Laps
11 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 277 + 1m24.876s
12 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 277 + 2m18.360s
13 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 272 + 23 Laps
14 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 272 + 2m59.565s
15 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 272 + 3m13.922s
16 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 269 + 26 Laps
17 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 269 + 19.670s
18 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 268 + 27 Laps
19 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 265 + 30 Laps
20 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 261 + 34 Laps
21 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 260 + 35 Laps
22 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 260 + 32.003s
23 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 260 + 2m09.842s
24 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 260 + 2m14.903s
25 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 260 + 2m41.648s
26 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 259 + 36 Laps
27 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 259 + 1m24.703s
28 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 257 + 38 Laps
29 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 257 + 1m25.453s
30 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 257 + 1m26.855s
31 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 256 + 39 Laps
32 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 255 + 40 Laps
33 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 255 + 2m36.283s
34 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 255 + 3m11.916s
35 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 254 + 41 Laps
36 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 254 + 2m24.917s
37 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 254 + 3m00.761s
38 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 254 + 3m31.390s
39 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 253 + 42 Laps
40 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 253 + 1m04.142s
41 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 252 + 43 Laps
42 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 252 + 46.691s
43 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 251 + 44 Laps
44 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 251 + 3m27.420s
45 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 249 + 46 Laps
46 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 244 + 51 Laps
47 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 244 + 1h32m31.113s
48 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 242 + 53 Laps
49 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 242 + 2m27.430s
50 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 225 + 70 Laps
51 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 208 + 87 Laps
52 LMP1 #6 Ginetta Rowland, Brundle, Turvey 137 + 158 Laps
53 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan 123 + 172 Laps
54 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 92 + 203 Laps
55 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann 65 + 230 Laps
56 GTE Am #88 Porsche Cairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda 225 Retired
57 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims 223 Retired
58 LMP2 #40 Oreca Allen, Gutierrez, Guibbert 197 Retired
59 LMP2 #34 Ligier Taylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson 195 Retired
60 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Dumas, Bernhard, Muller 92 Retired
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Le Mans 24 Hours H17: Buemi keeps #8 in control, #7 closes back in

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Series WEC
Drivers Sébastien Buemi
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Gary Watkins
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