Le Mans hour 21: Chasing #7 Toyota loses time to leader with spin

Jose Maria Lopez spun the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid as he chased down Fernando Alonso's lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours just before the end of the 21st hour

Le Mans hour 21: Chasing #7 Toyota loses time to leader with spin

Lopez lost 12 seconds when he spun exiting the Dunlop Chicane and allowed Alonso to increase his lead to more than one minute and 30 seconds in the #8 TS050 HYBRID.

The multiple World Touring Car champion had previously touched the grass on the exit of the Esses in the previous hour as Alonso ran untroubled.

After the race-leading car made its next pitstop, the gap between the two Toyotas stayed just under 40s.

Alonso will be replaced by team-mate Kazuki Nakajima to finish the race, while the #7 will put Kamui Kobayashi in the car after Lopez if everything goes to plan in the final three hours.

Bruno Senna's lead over the sister Rebellion Racing R-13 grew to over 30s following several pitstops for Matevos Beche in the #4 R-13.

Beche had been noted for having a loose door over an hour ago and a slow second pitstop in which the team forcefully closed it aided Senna's lead.

He then took another pitstop in the final five minutes of the hour to help Senna pull a 30s lead.

The hour ended with Rebellion making driver changes in both cars, with Neel Jani replacing Senna and Gustavo Menezes taking over from Beche.

SMP Racing's Vitaly Petrov is likely to make his way into the top 40 after consistently lapping well in the #11 BR1 that is enjoying a trouble-free run after its early race mechanical problems.

The last remaining LMP1 runner of Leo Roussel in the #5 Manor-Ginetta is five laps away from the nearest runner - a GTE Am car.

G-Drive stays strong at the front

Attrition continued to impact the LMP2 field in the 21st hour, although the #26 G-Drive ORECA which has led since the first hour remained peerless at the head of the field.

Andrea Pizzitola has over three laps in hand over the #36 Signatech-Alpine of Andre Negrao, who had come in for the car's 32nd pitstop just prior to the hour mark.

Negrao in turn is safe in second position, after two lengthy pitstops for the pole-sitting IDEC Sport ORECA dropped it out of podium contention.

Paul Lafargue remained in the pits as the hour mark was reached, and it has fallen eight laps behind the leading G-Drive car.

Profiting from IDEC's woes, Vincent Capillaire now runs third in the #39 Graff-So24 ORECA, but has Juan-Pablo Montoya's #32 United Autosport Ligier 14s behind.

TDS Racing's #28 ORECA is not out of podium contention either, with Matthieu Vaxiviere catching them both.

After spending over an hour in the pits to mechanical maladies, the Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier returned to the track 18 laps down in 14th spot with Timothe Buret at the wheel.

Battle for second ignites in GTE Pro

While the #92 Porsche continued to hold a big lead in GTE Pro, the fight for second between the German marque and Ford exploded in the 21st hour of the race.

Two-and-a-half minutes behind Laurens Vanthoor in the #92 Porsche, the sister #91 car of Frederic Makowiecki was busy trying to stave off the advances of Sebastien Bourdais' #68 Ford GT.

Bourdais appeared to have the pace to get ahead, but Makowiecki was robust in his defence, attracting the attention of the stewards in the process - but avoiding a penalty.

It appeared Bourdais had the move done when he pulled off a blistering outside pass approaching Indianapolis, but on the run out of Arnage Makowiecki drafted back by, nudging Bourdais out to very edge of the track.

That gave him the advantage when he made his next stop, staying in the #91 car, while a furious Bourdais handed over the #68 Ford to Joey Hand.

Makowiecki ran 2m23s behind team-mate Vanthoor at the top of the hour, having managed to pull out a 16s gap on Hand after the stops.

Andy Priaulx's #67 Ford ran just behind Hand before stopping at the tail end of the hour.

Jan Magnussen continues to hold a lapped fifth in the #63 Corvette, 18 seconds ahead of Richard Westbrook's #69 Ford.

In GTE Am, Julien Andlauer held the upper hand to the tune of 1m50s in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, with the #85 Risi/Keating Ferrari remaining second ahead of the #54 Spirit of Race machine.

Positions after 21 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 337
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 337 + 46.978s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 325 + 12 Laps
4 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 325 + 4.841s
5 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 321 + 16 Laps
6 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 318 + 19 Laps
7 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 317 + 20 Laps
8 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 317 + 14.596s
9 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 317 + 49.988s
10 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 312 + 25 Laps
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 312 + 15m25.783s
12 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 311 + 26 Laps
13 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 309 + 28 Laps
14 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 309 + 44.986s
15 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 308 + 29 Laps
16 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 307 + 30 Laps
17 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 305 + 32 Laps
18 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 303 + 34 Laps
19 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 298 + 39 Laps
20 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 298 + 2m23.270s
21 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 298 + 2m40.656s
22 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 297 + 40 Laps
23 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 297 + 1m23.143s
24 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 297 + 1m41.515s
25 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 296 + 41 Laps
26 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 296 + 0.658s
27 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 295 + 42 Laps
28 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 294 + 43 Laps
29 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 294 + 1m50.603s
30 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 293 + 44 Laps
31 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 291 + 46 Laps
32 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 291 + 30.158s
33 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 290 + 47 Laps
34 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 290 + 2m26.089s
35 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 289 + 48 Laps
36 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 289 + 24.260s
37 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 289 + 1m05.444s
38 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 289 + 2m30.538s
39 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 289 + 2m35.842s
40 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 288 + 49 Laps
41 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 285 + 52 Laps
42 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 284 + 53 Laps
43 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 283 + 54 Laps
44 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 282 + 55 Laps
45 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 280 + 57 Laps
46 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 270 + 67 Laps
47 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 264 + 73 Laps
48 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 237 + 100 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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Teams Toyota Racing
Author Tom Errington
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