Le Mans hour 19: Alonso leads by more than one minute in Toyota #8

Fernando Alonso leads the Le Mans 24 Hours once again after taking over the #8 Toyota from Sebastien Buemi during the 19th hour of the race

Le Mans hour 19: Alonso leads by more than one minute in Toyota #8

Buemi had held the lead at the end of the previous hour and was more than 40 seconds up on the sister #8 car of Mike Conway when a safety car period was called to allow for repairs to be made to drain covers on the outside of Tertre Rouge.

Toyota used that opportunity to bring the leading car in and swap Alonso in for Buemi, which allowed the #7 to take the lead when Alonso was held at pit exit until a safety car train had cleared the start/finish straight.

But Alonso quickly caught Conway on the restart following the safety car period - which lasted half an hour - before Conway dived for the pits at the end of the lap to hand over to Jose Maria Lopez.

Alonso now holds a lead of 1m12.704 seconds over the #8 TS050 HYBRID, bolstered by Lopez encountering a slow zone that was still in place at Tertre Rouge when he exited the pits.

The #3 Rebellion briefly dropped out of third place for the first time in 11 hours when Matthias Beche stopped under the safety car.

He was delayed by the team changing the nose on his Rebellion-Gibson R13 and then had to wait at pit exit at a red light, which allowed the #1 of Bruno Senna ahead, although Beche gained the place back when Senna stopped with five minutes of the hour remaining.

After the reappearance of the #11 SMP in hour 18, the 35 Ginetta returned to the track in the 19th hour with Mike Simpson at the wheel.

Heavy crash for di Resta in LMP2

The #26 G-Drive ORECA continues to dominate the LMP2 division, having put another lap on the third-placed Signatech-Alpine approaching the hour mark.

Jean-Eric Vergne took over the wheel from Roman Rusinov and continued his unrelenting pace at the head of the field, which has become spaced out during the morning.

Will Stevens remains one lap down in second aboard the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier and is himself almost a lap ahead of Pierre Thiriet.

The #22 United Autosports Ligier had been fourth at the hour mark in the hands of Paul di Resta, but crashed shortly afterwards when the Scot made heavy contact with the concrete wall at the Porsche Curves. Fortunately, di Resta emerged unharmed.

Paul-Loup Chatin was fifth in the #48 IDEC Sport ORECA with Tristan Gommendy sixth in the #39 Graff So24 Racing ORECA ahead of the battle for seventh between Will Owen's #32 United Autosports Ligier and the recovering #28 TDS ORECA of Loic Duval.

Fords close on second Porsche

The safety car consolidated the lead of the GTE Pro class-leading #92 Porsche, which led in Michael Christensen's hands by 3m12s at the 19-hour mark.

However, the caution had the effect of closing the fight for second, with Gianmaria Bruni's #91 Porsche losing its 30s lead over the #68 Ford.

Dirk Muller ran just under five seconds adrift of Bruni at the top of the hour, while the #67 Ford - which jumped from sixth to fourth - had just taken a stop for Harry Tincknell to hand over to Andy Priaulx and was 58s in arrears.

Corvette's lead runner, the #63 of Antonio Garcia, has fallen off the lead lap, but holds a minute's advantage over the #69 Ford of Ryan Briscoe.

The sister #64 Corvette's woes continued when it was wheeled into the garage, while the #97 Aston Martin was also taken in for repairs with a loss of oil pressure.

Dempsey-Proton's #77 car continues to lead the GTE Am contest by 3m40s in the hands of Christian Ried over the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari, now with Thomas Flohr at the controls.

Jeroen Bleekemolen was another minute back in the #85 Risi/Keating Ferrari.

Positions after 19 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 306
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 306 + 1m12.728s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 295 + 11 Laps
4 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 295 + 41.399s
5 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 291 + 15 Laps
6 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 290 + 16 Laps
7 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 289 + 17 Laps
8 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 288 + 18 Laps
9 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 288 + 4.551s
10 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 288 + 3m15.601s
11 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 287 + 19 Laps
12 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 287 + 1.640s
13 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 282 + 24 Laps
14 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 282 + 3m51.255s
15 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 282 + 4m22.936s
16 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 280 + 26 Laps
17 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 279 + 27 Laps
18 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 278 + 28 Laps
19 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 275 + 31 Laps
20 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 271 + 35 Laps
21 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 270 + 36 Laps
22 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 270 + 2.874s
23 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 270 + 56.956s
24 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 270 + 2m07.062s
25 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 269 + 37 Laps
26 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 269 + 2m08.956s
27 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 269 + 2m52.876s
28 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 267 + 39 Laps
29 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 267 + 2m03.005s
30 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 266 + 40 Laps
31 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 266 + 36.437s
32 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 265 + 41 Laps
33 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 264 + 42 Laps
34 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 263 + 43 Laps
35 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 263 + 16.620s
36 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 263 + 3m56.010s
37 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 263 + 4m12.513s
38 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 262 + 44 Laps
39 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 262 + 1m17.489s
40 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 262 + 1m20.256s
41 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 261 + 45 Laps
42 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 261 + 2m44.441s
43 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 259 + 47 Laps
44 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 259 + 4m13.873s
45 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 259 + 37m27.005s
46 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 254 + 52 Laps
47 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 252 + 54 Laps
48 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 252 + 3m07.264s
49 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 244 + 62 Laps
50 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 234 + 72 Laps
51 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 218 + 88 Laps
52 LMP1 #6 Ginetta Rowland, Brundle, Turvey 137 + 169 Laps
53 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan 123 + 183 Laps
54 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 92 + 214 Laps
55 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann 65 + 241 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 hour 18: Buemi extends #8 Toyota's lead

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Series WEC
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Jack Cozens
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