Le Mans hour 3: Alonso chasing Lopez in Toyota lead battle

Jose Maria Lopez held a narrow lead in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID at the Le Mans 24 Hours in the third hour as Fernando Alonso closed in

Le Mans hour 3: Alonso chasing Lopez in Toyota lead battle

Mike Conway ended his spell in the #7 car after almost two and a half hours and his Toyota team's stop to place Lopez in the car was almost eight seconds quicker than Sebastien Buemi's handover to McLaren Formula 1 driver Alonso.

Alonso was able to consistently take time out of Lopez - notably lapping three seconds quicker than the Argentinian late in the hour - but remained just under four seconds adrift of the leader.

SMP Racing's Stephane Sarrazin ran the longest stint of the LMP1 class so far after a long-running duel with #1 Rebellion driver Thomas Laurent, but that came to an end when the pair finished their runs.

Rebellion now holds the edge with Mathias Beche in third taking over from Laurent with Sarrazin's replacement Egor Orudzhev now in fourth aboard the #17 BR1.

The second Rebellion machine of Bruno Senna is fifth after he made quick work of DragonSpeed's Henrik Hedman after Ben Hanley had worked the BR1 back into the lead pack following his lap one contact.

Hedman stopped close to the end of the hour after losing swathes of time to Senna.

Tom Dillmann's climb through the LMP2 field to return the ByKolles machine to fringes of the leading LMP1 cars continued in the hands of Dominik Kraihamer in ninth overall behind two LMP2 machines with over two minutes to make up to Hedman.

The Manor-Ginettas are still some distance behind the LMP1 contenders, with Oliver Rowland's #6 car ahead of the #5 driven by Leo Roussel in 15th and 20th overall respectively.

G-Drive pulling away in LMP2

Andrea Pizzitola has extended the lead of the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA to over a minute after taking over from Jean-Eric Vergne.

Vergne had 54 seconds in hand over the #28 TDS Racing ORECA of Loic Duval when the latter pitted on lap 38 to hand over to gentleman co-driver Francois Perrodo.

Pizzitola emerged still in the lead when he took over from Vergne one lap later and had extended his advantage to 1m16s by lap 47, as Perrodo slipped down to fourth behind Andre Negrao's #36 Signatech-Alpine and the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier driven by Julien Canal.

David Heinemeier-Hansson's #34 DC Racing Ligier was fifth after Vincent Capillaire (#39 Graff-So24 ORECA) and Paul Lafargue's IDEC Sport ORECA pitted shortly before the hour, with Will Owen sixth in the #32 United Autosports Ligier and veteran Jan Lammers seventh in the Racing Team Netherlands Dallara.

Only eight cars are still on the lead lap, with Lafargue the first car one lap down.

Further cars to hit trouble included the #22 United Autosports Ligier, which had been a fixture inside the top 10 in the hands of Filipe Albuquerque before a seven-minute stop to repair the car's GPS tracking unit dropped it two laps down.

Phil Hanson is now at the wheel and running in 15th position.

Leading Porsches switch places

Porsche continues to control the GTE Pro class, but its two retro-liveried cars have swapped positions, with the Rothmans-coloured #91 car retaking the lead.

Frederic Makowiecki closed down team-mate Laurens Vanthoor after having passed Sebastien Bourdais' Ford at the tail end of the second hour, and took the class lead just before Vanthoor peeled in for the #92's third stop of the race.

After pitting the next time by, Makowiecki held on to his advantage, and at the end of the hour the Frenchman was ahead of the 'Pink Pig' sister car by just two tenths.

Bourdais maintained third place in the #68 Ford, five seconds behind, while Nick Tandy moved up to fourth place in the leading IMSA CORE autosport-run Porsche, the #93 car.

Olivier Pla ran fifth in the #66 Ford, while Augusto Farfus (#82 BMW) and Richard Westbrook (#69 Ford) were fighting over sixth position, the Brazilian having nosed ahead just before the top of the hour.

In GTE Am, Julian Andlauer held a comfortable 30s lead in the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche after passing Thomas Flohr's #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari.

Bronze-rated Flohr inherited a big lead after the #54 crew benefitted from making a pitstop during a Slow Zone, but couldn't maintain the pace set by Andlauer or Cooper MacNeil in the #84 JMW Ferrari, ultimately dropping behind both.

MacNeil was 33 seconds behind Andlauer and 27 seconds clear of Giorgio Roda in the second Dempsey-Proton Porsche, which also passed Flohr before the end of the hour.

Positions after three hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 50
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 50 + 4.185s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 49 + 1 Lap
4 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan 49 + 19.714s
5 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 48 + 2 Laps
6 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 48 + 2m30.031s
7 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 47 + 3 Laps
8 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 47 + 1m16.096s
9 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann 47 + 1m27.964s
10 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 47 + 1m49.147s
11 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 47 + 2m09.823s
12 LMP2 #34 Ligier Taylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson 47 + 2m38.567s
13 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 47 + 2m43.536s
14 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 47 + 3m04.813s
15 LMP1 #6 Ginetta Rowland, Brundle, Turvey 47 + 3m15.836s
16 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 46 + 4 Laps
17 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 46 + 22.886s
18 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 46 + 2m39.927s
19 LMP2 #40 Oreca Allen, Gutierrez, Guibbert 46 + 2m41.522s
20 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 46 + 3m42.210s
21 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 46 + 3m55.945s
22 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 46 + 4m30.354s
23 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 46 + 4m32.374s
24 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 45 + 5 Laps
25 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 45 + 54.673s
26 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 45 + 2m40.680s
27 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 44 + 6 Laps
28 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 44 + 9.472s
29 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 43 + 7 Laps
30 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 43 + 1.214s
31 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 43 + 8.204s
32 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 43 + 17.180s
33 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 43 + 19.009s
34 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims 43 + 26.894s
35 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 43 + 27.401s
36 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 43 + 35.263s
37 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 43 + 45.210s
38 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 43 + 46.651s
39 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 43 + 55.725s
40 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Dumas, Bernhard, Muller 43 + 1m13.531s
41 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 43 + 1m37.286s
42 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 43 + 3m01.249s
43 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 43 + 3m18.793s
44 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 43 + 3m19.939s
45 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 43 + 3m27.455s
46 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 42 + 8 Laps
47 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 42 + 15.724s
48 GTE Am #88 Porsche Cairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda 42 + 26.837s
49 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 42 + 35.300s
50 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 42 + 1m01.838s
51 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 42 + 1m21.644s
52 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 42 + 2m03.098s
53 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 42 + 2m07.543s
54 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 42 + 2m09.950s
55 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 42 + 2m26.453s
56 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 42 + 2m56.297s
57 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 42 + 3m35.420s
58 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 40 + 10 Laps
59 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 38 + 12 Laps
60 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 18 + 32 Laps
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About this article

Series WEC
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Tom Errington
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