Le Mans hour 5: Alonso takes lead from Lopez after safety car restart

Fernando Alonso regained the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the fifth hour, overtaking Toyota stablemate Jose Maria Lopez shortly after a safety car restart

Le Mans hour 5: Alonso takes lead from Lopez after safety car restart

Lopez started the fifth hour at the head of the field, but was off-sequence having stopped to change his left-rear tyre which had punctured in the previous hour.

The Argentinian was offered a reprieve when a safety car period was called a quarter of the way into the hour when Dominik Kraihamer crashed out of eighth in the ByKolles ENSO CLM-Nissan while fighting through traffic.

Kraihamer got between a pair of GTE Porsches but made contact with the front end of the #80 Ebimotors 911 RSR as he attempted to pass it, and was spat off to the right at Corvette corner before a hefty impact with a tyre wall.

With the safety cars - which remained on track for half an hour while barrier and track repairs were made - immediately deployed, Toyota called both of its cars into the pits at once.

That allowed Lopez to stay ahead of Alonso, who Toyota reported had picked up a puncture shortly before his stop, while also moving back on sequence, but the pair swapped places once more in the final 10 minutes of the hour.

Alonso stalked Lopez through heavy traffic on the restart lap, but he had to wait one more tour before he was able to pass the sister #7 TS050 HYBRID on the run off Arnage.

The double Formula 1 world champion ended the hour with a lead of half a second.

Egor Orudzhev maintained third position with a strong run in the #17 SMP BR1, and now sits 1m20s ahead of the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 of Mathias Beche - albeit having made one less pitstop.

The second Rebellion was briefly wheeled into the garage and had its engine cover removed, but returned to the track after five minutes in the pits having only lost one more lap. It currently lies fifth.

The #11 SMP car returned to the track for the first time in more than two hours with Jenson Button at the wheel.

The 2009 F1 world champion has completed 12 laps since the car headed back out on track, although it remains last by 33 laps.

G-Drive's lead reduced in LMP2

The #26 G-Drive ORECA continues to lead after five hours in the hands of Roman Rusinov, but has seen its lead reduced to just over 1m10s after the race's second safety car period played into the hands of Pierre Thiriet's pursuing Signatech-Alpine.

Thiriet had been using his tyre advantage to chip away at Andrea Pizzitola, who was entering his third stint aboard the G-Drive car when Kraihamer's accident brought another safety car appearance.

A frustrated Thiriet was the first car in his queue, which preserved the gap to Pizzitola, but while Thiriet was already in the pits when the safety car period ended on lap 70, Pizzitola made his driver change to Rusinov under green and lost around 15 seconds.

Julien Canal was also separated from Thiriet's safety car train so his Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier remains 50 seconds behind in the hands of Thimothe Buret after making its own stop.

The pole-sitting IDEC Sport ORECA of Memo Rojas holds fourth position after pitting before the safety car, ahead of Jonathan Hirschi's Graff-So24 ORECA, which was held at the end of the pitlane behind the two Toyotas.

Matthieu Vaxiviere is the final car on the lead lap in sixth position in the #28 TDS Racing ORECA, having taken over from gentleman driver Francois Perrodo.

Hindered Porsches start to recover in GTE Pro

The #92 Porsche continues to control the GTE Pro class, after Kevin Estre's advantage was consolidated by the last safety car period.

At the five-hour mark, the Frenchman led by 1m38s from the BMW of Nick Catsburg, which was another of the cars to have benefitted from the first safety car that shook up the order in class in the previous hour.

Two of those that lost out in the reshuffle, the #93 and #91 Porsches, were able to gain back some ground as the pack was bunched up and were running third and fourth in the hands of Earl Bamber and Richard Lietz respectively.

Having run as high as third in class, the #52 Ferrari of Antonio Giovinazzi slipped to fifth place, ahead of the lead Corvette of Mike Rockenfeller and a trio of Fords.

The two Aston Martin Vantage GTEs have now dropped off the lead lap, circulating 14th and 15th, while the #71 Ferrari was hit with a three-minute stop-and-go penalty for not respecting the red light on the pitlane that also cost it a lap.

In GTE Am, Dempsey-Proton driver Matt Campbell had over 20 seconds in hand over his nearest rival, Liam Griffin in the #85 JMW Ferrari, despite having made one more stop.

Positions after five hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 77
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 77 + 0.516s
3 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan 75 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 75 + 1m16.127s
5 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 74 + 3 Laps
6 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 74 + 18.253s
7 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 73 + 4 Laps
8 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 73 + 1m10.026s
9 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 73 + 2m03.234s
10 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 73 + 2m24.811s
11 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 73 + 2m48.283s
12 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 72 + 5 Laps
13 LMP2 #34 Ligier Taylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson 72 + 8.748s
14 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 72 + 52.209s
15 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 72 + 2m15.951s
16 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 72 + 2m18.278s
17 LMP2 #40 Oreca Allen, Gutierrez, Guibbert 72 + 2m20.033s
18 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 71 + 6 Laps
19 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 71 + 55.253s
20 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 71 + 2m17.077s
21 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 71 + 3m21.993s
22 LMP1 #6 Ginetta Rowland, Brundle, Turvey 71 + 3m23.478s
23 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 70 + 7 Laps
24 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 70 + 1m31.578s
25 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 69 + 8 Laps
26 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 69 + 1m01.223s
27 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 69 + 1m40.958s
28 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 68 + 9 Laps
29 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 68 + 1m39.735s
30 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 68 + 1m43.097s
31 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 68 + 1m44.306s
32 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 68 + 1m45.345s
33 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 68 + 1m52.909s
34 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 68 + 1m53.173s
35 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 68 + 1m53.445s
36 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 68 + 1m53.874s
37 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims 68 + 1m56.118s
38 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Dumas, Bernhard, Muller 68 + 1m59.452s
39 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 68 + 2m12.921s
40 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 67 + 10 Laps
41 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 67 + 44.189s
42 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 67 + 47.073s
43 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 67 + 50.774s
44 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 67 + 2m18.387s
45 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 67 + 2m53.193s
46 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 67 + 3m05.895s
47 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 67 + 3m12.475s
48 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 66 + 11 Laps
49 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 66 + 5.520s
50 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 66 + 21.320s
51 GTE Am #88 Porsche Cairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda 66 + 26.274s
52 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 66 + 1m13.396s
53 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 66 + 1m15.905s
54 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 66 + 1m18.556s
55 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 66 + 2m08.476s
56 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann 65 + 12 Laps
57 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 64 + 13 Laps
58 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 62 + 15 Laps
59 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 62 + 30.291s
60 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 29 + 48 Laps
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Le Mans hour 4: Toyotas swap places as safety car shakes race up
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