Le Mans hour 23: Kobayashi pit error costs #7 Toyota a lap

The #7 Toyota has lost a lap in the battle for victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours after Kamui Kobayashi was forced to crawl back to the pits

Le Mans hour 23: Kobayashi pit error costs #7 Toyota a lap

Kobayashi was 55 seconds down on the leading #8 TS050 HYBRID 20 minutes into the penultimate hour, but he slowed dramatically shortly after crossing the start/finish line and cruised round the opening part of his next lap, because he forgot to pit at the correct time - making it marginal on fuel to get back around.

He was lapped by leader Kazuki Nakajima before he reached the final sector, but then picked up speed again as he came through the Porsche Curves towards the back end of the circuit.

Kobayashi returned to the pits and was then sent back out by Toyota mechanics after inspecting the car.

The #7 avoided being lapped for a second time, but its crew's hopes of winning the race now rest effectively on the sister car - shared by Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso - encountering a problem in the final 60 minutes of the race.

Gustavo Menezes held third place in the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 ahead of the sister #1 car driven by Neel Jani.

The #1 was ahead briefly in the previous hour, but Jani was forced to slow to close his left-hand door and then made an unscheduled stop that dropped him back behind the #3 - which spent 11 hours from Saturday evening until Sunday morning in third before it was temporarily displaced.

Menezes is currently 1m27s ahead of Jani, with the two cars having made the same number of planned stops.

G-Drive still clear in LMP2

Nicolas Lapierre has been installed in the chasing #36 Signatech-Alpine, but the two-lap deficit to G-Drive means a repeat of his 2016 victory with the team looks unlikely barring any unforeseen issues.

The battle for the final podium position looks to have been decided in favour of the #39 Graff-So24 Racing ORECA, with Tristan Gommendy managing an advantage of 1m12s over Loic Duval's #28 TDS Racing ORECA.

United Autosports' podium hopes all-but evaporated when Hugo de Sadeleer suffered a left-rear puncture at Mulsanne Corner and dropped a lap behind from the battling cars ahead.

The Swiss is still fifth, four laps ahead of the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA with Jazeman Jaafar at the wheel.

'Pink Pig' in control

Porsche is heading for victory in GTE Pro, with its #92 car holding an advantage of just under two minutes at the 23-hour mark.

Kevin Estre allowed what had been a lead of 2m09s to shrink to 1m56s in the 'Pink Pig'-themed 911 RSR, with the #91 Rothmans-coloured sister Manthey car consolidating its second place ahead of the final hour.

With 60 minutes left on the clock, Dirk Muller had dropped 17s adrift of the #91 car in the leading Ganassi-run Ford GT, while Harry Tincknell was more than a minute behind in the fourth-placed #66 car.

Corvette's sole remaining entry remains a lapped fifth in the hands of Antonio Garcia ahead of the top Ferrari, the #52 AF Corse 488 GTE Evo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

The #69 Ford remains stuck in the garage more than an hour on from Richard Westbrook having to pit with electrical issues and is now 14th and last in class.

That problem promoted the top Aston Martin Vantage to ninth place, albeit four laps down.

GTE Am honours appear destined to go to the Dempsey-Proton Porsche squad, which held a lead of 3m26s as the race entered its final hour.

Matt Campbell had the #77 Porsche's advantage out to more than a lap, but ex-F1 star Giancarlo Fisichella was able to get the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari back on the lead tour.

Positions after 23 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 370
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 369 + 1 Lap
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 358 + 12 Laps
4 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 357 + 13 Laps
5 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 352 + 18 Laps
6 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 349 + 21 Laps
7 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 348 + 22 Laps
8 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 348 + 1m22.029s
9 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 347 + 23 Laps
10 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 343 + 27 Laps
11 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 343 + 2m18.562s
12 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 340 + 30 Laps
13 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 339 + 31 Laps
14 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 338 + 32 Laps
15 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 334 + 36 Laps
16 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 334 + 18m31.841s
17 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 333 + 37 Laps
18 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 327 + 43 Laps
19 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 327 + 1m56.557s
20 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 327 + 2m14.256s
21 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 327 + 3m19.010s
22 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 326 + 44 Laps
23 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 325 + 45 Laps
24 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 325 + 1m29.845s
25 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 324 + 46 Laps
26 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 323 + 47 Laps
27 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 322 + 48 Laps
28 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 321 + 49 Laps
29 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 320 + 50 Laps
30 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 319 + 51 Laps
31 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 318 + 52 Laps
32 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 318 + 12.145s
33 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 318 + 1m12.730s
34 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 318 + 1m27.983s
35 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 316 + 54 Laps
36 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 316 + 21.951s
37 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 316 + 49.026s
38 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 316 + 2m43.287s
39 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 315 + 55 Laps
40 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 314 + 56 Laps
41 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 311 + 59 Laps
42 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 310 + 60 Laps
43 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 309 + 61 Laps
44 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 304 + 66 Laps
45 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 280 + 90 Laps
46 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 279 + 91 Laps
47 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 312 Retired
48 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 288 Retired
49 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 259 Retired
50 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 244 Retired
51 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 237 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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