Le Mans hour 20: Alonso increases lead for #8 Toyota

Toyota driver Fernando Alonso added to his Le Mans 24 Hours lead over the sister #7 car of Jose Maria Lopez in the 20th hour of the race

Le Mans hour 20: Alonso increases lead for #8 Toyota

Alonso started the hour with a healthy margin of more than a minute over the #7, in part thanks to Lopez catching a slow zone when he left the pits after taking over the car from Mike Conway, although the race was quickly neutralised when a safety car period was called.

A slow zone remained in place when the safety cars were called in, but Alonso increased his lead thereafter to as much as 1m30s before gradually backing off in the later part of the hour either side of a pitstop.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion now holds a 1m19.487-second lead over Lopez with four hours of the race remaining.

After the two Rebellions briefly swapped positions during the previous hour, Bruno Senna is now in an outright third place in the #1 car.

The #1 had reeled in the sister #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 earlier in the morning, but Senna was able to leapfrog Matthias Beche when the #3 spent an additional 30s in the pits.

Beche's car was also reported to have a door open at the end of the hour.

The #11 SMP Racing BR1 and #5 Manor-Ginetta are still circulating at the tail end of the field, but the #10 DragonSpeed entry was formally retired in the 20th hour.

All change behind LMP2 leader G-Drive

Andrea Pizzitola continued the #26 G-Drive ORECA's untroubled run at the front of the field in LMP2, as Ligier's challenge faded in hour 20.

Shortly after taking fourth place from Paul-Loup Chatin's IDEC Sport ORECA, Paul di Resta crashed the #22 United Autosports Ligier at the Porsche Curves, which brought out the fourth safety car of the race.

That was followed soon afterwards by Will Stevens losing second place to a mechanical problem on his #23 Panis-Barthez Ligier, which has yet to emerge from the garage after coming in on his 292nd lap.

Behind runaway leader Vergne, who pitted shortly before the hour mark on his 303rd lap, Ligier's problems promoted the #36 Signatech-Alpine of Pierre Thiriet back to second and Chatin to third.

Chatin has gradually closed the gap to Thiriet, which stood at 1m37s at the hour mark prior to the latter's stop on the hour mark.

Vincent Capillaire (#39 Graff-so24 Racing ORECA) caught and passed Francois Perrodo's TDS Racing ORECA to take fourth, but now has Juan-Pablo Montoya in the sole remaining #32 United Autosports Ligier on his tail.

Ford breaks up Porsche party

Although the #92 Porsche continued to dominate the GTE Pro class, the safety car ignited the fight for second towards the end of the 20th hour.

Nearly three minutes behind leader Laurens Vanthoor, who took over from Michael Christensen in the #92 Porsche at the start of the hour, the sister #91 car of Frederic Makowiecki was caught by the two lead Fords of Sebastien Bourdais and Andy Priaulx.

Makowiecki started to pull away when racing resumed, but a trip across the gravel brought the two Ford drivers back into play and Priaulx was able to jump from fourth to second.

The Briton ran 2m48s down on Vanthoor at the end of the hour, holding a one-second advantage over Makowiecki.

Jan Magnussen was a lap down in fifth in the sole remaining Corvette entry, the #63, after the US squad was forced to retire the #64 car due to engine overheating issues.

Dempsey-Proton's lead advantage has been slashed to just 30 seconds in the GTE Am class, with Jeroen Bleekemolen's #85 Risi/Keating Ferrari leading the chase against Julien Andlauer in the #77 Porsche.

The #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari has slipped to third in Thomas Flohr's hands, 1m40s down on Bleekemolen.

Positions after 20 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 318
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 318 + 1m20.149s
3 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 307 + 11 Laps
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 307 + 9.584s
5 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 303 + 15 Laps
6 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 301 + 17 Laps
7 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 300 + 18 Laps
8 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 299 + 19 Laps
9 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 299 + 2.866s
10 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 299 + 12.971s
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 294 + 24 Laps
12 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 294 + 1m25.036s
13 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 294 + 1m37.837s
14 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 292 + 26 Laps
15 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 291 + 27 Laps
16 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 291 + 2m34.886s
17 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 290 + 28 Laps
18 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 287 + 31 Laps
19 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 282 + 36 Laps
20 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 281 + 37 Laps
21 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 281 + 0.814s
22 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 281 + 1.092s
23 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 281 + 1m29.772s
24 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 281 + 1m46.202s
25 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 280 + 38 Laps
26 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 280 + 20.784s
27 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 278 + 40 Laps
28 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 278 + 2m14.355s
29 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 277 + 41 Laps
30 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 277 + 1m03.696s
31 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 275 + 43 Laps
32 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 275 + 28.871s
33 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 275 + 1m24.658s
34 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 275 + 2m05.589s
35 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 274 + 44 Laps
36 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 273 + 45 Laps
37 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 273 + 49.825s
38 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 273 + 1m18.447s
39 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 273 + 2m16.949s
40 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 273 + 2m37.980s
41 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 272 + 46 Laps
42 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 270 + 48 Laps
43 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 267 + 51 Laps
44 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 265 + 53 Laps
45 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 264 + 54 Laps
46 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 263 + 55 Laps
47 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 246 + 72 Laps
48 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 230 + 88 Laps
49 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 288 Retired
50 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 259 Retired
51 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 244 Retired
52 GTE Am #88 Porsche Cairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda 225 Retired
53 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims 223 Retired
54 LMP2 #40 Oreca Allen, Gutierrez, Guibbert 197 Retired
55 LMP2 #34 Ligier Taylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson 195 Retired
56 LMP1 #6 Ginetta Rowland, Brundle, Turvey 137 Retired
57 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan 123 Retired
58 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Dumas, Bernhard, Muller 92 Retired
59 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 92 Retired
60 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann 65 Retired
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Le Mans hour 19: Alonso leads by more than one minute in Toyota #8

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Series WEC
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Jack Cozens
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