Le Mans hour 6: #8 Toyota edges away in lead battle

The #8 Toyota retained its Le Mans 24 Hours lead during the sixth hour, with Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima extending the car's advantage over the sister #7 TS050 HYBRID

Le Mans hour 6: #8 Toyota edges away in lead battle

Having passed Jose Maria Lopez towards the end of the previous hour, Alonso allowed the Argentinian to come back at him before stabilising a gap of around 1.5 seconds and then pitting to hand over to Nakajima.

In the hands of Nakajima - who secured pole for the race - the #8 eased clear of Lopez and ended the hour with an advantage of 10 seconds back to the #7, which Lopez handed over to Kamui Kobayashi late on.

Matevos Isaakyan has taken over the third-placed #17 SMP Racing BR1 from Egor Orudzhev and has an advantage of more than 80 seconds over the leading #3 Rebellion.

The #1 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 now has Neel Jani at the wheel but is three laps down, and one behind its sister car, after it was briefly wheeled into the garage in the previous hour.

Renger van der Zande had run sixth in the #10 DragonSpeed BR1 but, after going straight on at the Dunlop chicane midway through the hour, spent the majority of the final 15 minutes of the hour in the pits as DragonSpeed mechanics removed the engine cover to inspect the car's suspension.

Jenson Button has now completed 28 laps in the #11 SMP BR1 but remains last in the order.

G-Drive's LMP2 lead grows

The #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA which has led the race since the first hour continues at the head of the field at one quarter distance, with Roman Rusinov at the wheel.

The Russian has extended his margin over the #36 Signatech-Alpine of Pierre Thiriet to a little over two minutes after Thiriet spun exiting a slow zone at Arnage on the hour-mark.

Rusinov had around 90 seconds in hand over Thiriet prior to the slow zone, which was caused when Juan-Pablo Montoya nosed the #32 United Autosports Ligier into the barriers at Indianapolis, costing him one lap and dropping him from eighth to 12th.

Thiriet then pitted shortly after the hour mark to hand the car back to Nicolas Lapierre.

Timothe Buret held third at the hour mark in the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition Ligier, ahead of Paul-Loup Chatin's IDEC Sport ORECA - the first of the cars to make its ninth pitstop - and the #28 TDS Racing ORECA of Matthieu Vaxiviere, who owes a pitstop.

Tristan Gommendy's Graff-So24 ORECA, which is on an identical pitstop sequence to Chatin - and Come Ledogar's #34 Jackie Chan DC Racing Ligier are the first cars one lap down in sixth and seventh positions.

Montoya's incident promoted the sister #22 United Autosports Ligier into the top 10 in the hands of Paul di Resta, although the Scot remains the first car two laps down after the car lost seven minutes early on fixing the GPS tracker.

Leading Porsche building GTE Pro lead

The #92 Porsche continued to lead the GTE Pro class by almost two minutes.

Michael Christensen took over the car from Kevin Estre in the sixth hour, the 'Pink Pig'-liveried machine maintaining the lead despite pitting a lap earlier than several class rivals, and it was as far as three minutes ahead owing the Montoya-induced slow zone.

Ex-DTM racer Martin Tomczyk ran second at the six-hour mark in the #82 BMW, taking over from Nick Catsburg, but he was under serious pressure from Patrick Pilet in the #93 Porsche.

Gianmaria Bruni was fourth in the #91 Porsche, which lost time during an earlier safety car phase. ahead of Dirk Muller's #68 Ford and Antonio Felix da Costa in the second of the MTEK-run BMWs.

The #71 Ferrari lost yet more time as it wheeled into the garage after its three-minute stop-and-go, and currently runs four laps down.

In GTE Am, the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, now in the hands of team owner Christian Ried holds a commanding lead of more than three minutes over the Project 1 car, which gained ground with Jorg Bergmeister at the wheel.

The JMW Ferrari that had been second has dropped to fifth behind the old-spec factory Aston Martin Vantage and the Spirit of Race Ferrari.

Positions after six hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 94
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 94 + 12.587s
3 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan 92 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Beche, Menezes 92 + 1m17.637s
5 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Lotterer, Jani, Senna 90 + 4 Laps
6 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne 89 + 5 Laps
7 LMP2 #23 Ligier Buret, Canal, Stevens 89 + 3m31.459s
8 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 89 + 3m45.734s
9 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 89 + 4m15.189s
10 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 88 + 6 Laps
11 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 88 + 2m30.871s
12 LMP2 #39 Oreca Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy 88 + 4m07.713s
13 LMP2 #34 Ligier Taylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson 88 + 4m26.555s
14 LMP2 #35 Dallara Shaitar, Newey, Nato 88 + 6m34.225s
15 LMP2 #40 Oreca Allen, Gutierrez, Guibbert 88 + 7m19.374s
16 LMP1 #5 Ginetta Robertson, Simpson, Roussel 87 + 7 Laps
17 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 87 + 31.861s
18 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers 87 + 1m01.454s
19 LMP2 #32 Ligier De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya 87 + 4m19.496s
20 LMP1 #6 Ginetta Rowland, Brundle, Turvey 86 + 8 Laps
21 LMP2 #33 Ligier Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet 86 + 43.337s
22 LMP2 #44 Ligier Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn 86 + 1m41.558s
23 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon 86 + 3m05.861s
24 LMP2 #37 Oreca Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan 84 + 10 Laps
25 LMP2 #25 Ligier Patterson, De Jong, Kim 84 + 6.467s
26 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau 84 + 2m06.991s
27 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 83 + 11 Laps
28 GTE Pro #81 BMW Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng 83 + 3m09.054s
29 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Tandy, Bamber 83 + 3m09.714s
30 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 83 + 3m15.547s
31 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 83 + 3m20.597s
32 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims 83 + 3m23.418s
33 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr 83 + 3m25.378s
34 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 83 + 3m29.018s
35 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 83 + 3m30.628s
36 GTE Pro #52 Ferrari Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani 83 + 3m33.347s
37 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Dumas, Bernhard, Muller 83 + 4m09.113s
38 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan 83 + 4m12.837s
39 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 82 + 12 Laps
40 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Turner 82 + 2m56.453s
41 GTE Pro #97 Aston Lynn, Martin, Adam 82 + 2m59.062s
42 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 82 + 3m35.754s
43 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 81 + 13 Laps
44 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 81 + 0.387s
45 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Griffin, Macneil, Segal 81 + 16.212s
46 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 81 + 2m00.397s
47 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz 81 + 2m55.039s
48 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 81 + 3m31.159s
49 GTE Am #80 Porsche Babini, Nielsen, Maris 80 + 14 Laps
50 GTE Am #88 Porsche Cairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda 80 + 5.293s
51 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Griffin, Sawa 80 + 29.061s
52 GTE Am #99 Porsche Long, Pappas, Pumpelly 80 + 1m29.747s
53 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 80 + 2m05.840s
54 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 80 + 4m02.077s
55 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 80 + 5m12.498s
56 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 79 + 15 Laps
57 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 78 + 16 Laps
58 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Davison 77 + 17 Laps
59 LMP1 #4 Enso Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann 65 + 29 Laps
60 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Button 45 + 49 Laps
Le Mans hour 5: Alonso takes lead from Lopez after safety car restart

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Series WEC
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Jack Cozens
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