Le Mans hour 7: Leading Toyotas separated by less than one second
The two Toyotas continued to have their own close-fought battle at the front of the Le Mans 24 Hours, with Kazuki Nakajima's #7 now in front
Nakajima held the lead despite double-stinting his tyres while Kamui Kobayashi had fresher tyres from the pitstop in which he took over the car from Jose Maria Lopez in the sixth hour.
The two ended up trading fast lap times after Kobayashi took 10s out of Nakajima's lead and got within two seconds of Nakajima following the conclusion of a slow zone after Juan Pablo Montoya's crash in the previous hour.
But Kobayashi held the lead over Nakajima by under one second at the conclusion of the seventh hour.
The privateer LMP1 field has largely become strung out, with SMP Racing's Matevos Isaakyan continuing to keep a lonely third place.
The two Rebellion Racing R-13s of Gustavo Menezes and ex-Porsche LMP1 driver Neel Jani continue in fourth and fifth.
The surviving LMP1 machines below fifth are all mired among the lower classes, with the two Manor-Ginettas in 16th and 19th with Charlie Robertson's #5 car the better placed.
Renger van der Zande's DragonSpeed BR-1 spent the majority of the hour in the pitlane following a skate across the Dunlop Chicane and dropped from sixth to 54th overall.
Jenson Button continues in the #11 SMP Racing BR-1 that is still the last running car, but is close to overhauling the retired ByKolles machine.
The 2009 Formula 1 world champion has lapped comparatively well to the best privateer LMP1 lap times.
Vergne back in LMP2-leading G-Drive car
Jean-Eric Vergne has retained the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA's advantage at the head of the LMP2 pack after seven hours at Le Mans, with Signatech-Alpine's Nicolas Lapierre giving chase.
The lead gap at the end of the hour was inflated by the slow zone for Paul Dalla Lana's stranded Aston Martin at the Porsche Curves, with Vergne's lead standing at 1m43s over Lapierre on his 104th lap.
Lapierre took over second place when IDEC Sport's Paul-Loup Chatin came in for the team's 11th stop just prior to the hour mark.
Chatin, who qualified the #48 ORECA on pole, had caught and passed Timothe Buret's third-placed Panis-Barthez Compeition Ligier before cycling through to second when Lapierre came in for his 10th stop on lap 100.
The IDEC driver then continued to chip away at Roman Rusinov prior to the Russian completing a triple-stint and handing over to Vergne, whose quadruple at the start of the race laid the groundwork for the #26 crew's dominance of the event so far.
Chatin had been a minute behind Vergne when the leader emerged from the pits on lap 101, before pitting himself on lap 104 and rejoining third.
Will Stevens has taken over from the struggling Buret aboard the fourth-placed #23 Ligier, while Francois Perrodo is back behind the wheel of the #28 TDS Racing ORECA after a treble stint from Matthieu Vaxiviere.
Tristan Gommendy remains the first car off the lead lap in sixth position in the #39 Graff-So24 Racing ORECA.
Porsche locking out GTE Pro podium spots
Porsche holds a 1-2-3 in the GTE Pro category, with the #92 'Pink Pig' car leading the #93 and #91 911 RSRs by a handsome margin.
Michael Christensen extended his lead out from 2m00s to 2m30s at the wheel of the #92 during the seventh hour, while Patrick Pilet and Gianmaria Bruni were both able to pass the #81 BMW of Martin Tomczyk to move into second and third.
Dirk Muller's #68 car continues to be the best-placed for the four Ford GTs in fifth, ahead of the lead Corvette C7.R of Antonio Garcia.
The second BMW that ran as high as fifth in the hands of Antonio Felix da Costa was forced to spend seven minutes in the garage for a front-left damper change, dropping it all the way down to 13th in class behind both Aston Martins.
Also hitting trouble was the #94 Porsche, which went into the garage with a right-rear wheel problem.
GTE Am is still being controlled by the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, which led by a minute with Christian Ried at the wheel and with a stop in hand over its immediate rivals.
The #84 JMW Ferrari has recovered to second in class after Jeff Segal took over from Matt Griffin, while Egidio Perfetti lies third in the #56 Project 1 Porsche.
Positions after seven hours
|1||LMP1||#7 Toyota||Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez||110|
|2||LMP1||#8 Toyota||Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso||110||+ 0.473s|
|3||LMP1||#17 BR||Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan||108||+ 2 Laps|
|4||LMP1||#3 Rebellion||Laurent, Beche, Menezes||108||+ 12.416s|
|5||LMP1||#1 Rebellion||Lotterer, Jani, Senna||106||+ 4 Laps|
|6||LMP2||#26 Oreca||Rusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne||104||+ 6 Laps|
|7||LMP2||#48 Oreca||Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas||104||+ 1m38.321s|
|8||LMP2||#36 Alpine||Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet||104||+ 1m42.113s|
|9||LMP2||#23 Ligier||Buret, Canal, Stevens||104||+ 2m57.434s|
|10||LMP2||#39 Oreca||Capillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy||104||+ 3m28.346s|
|11||LMP2||#28 Oreca||Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval||104||+ 3m35.231s|
|12||LMP2||#34 Ligier||Taylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson||103||+ 7 Laps|
|13||LMP2||#35 Dallara||Shaitar, Newey, Nato||103||+ 22.478s|
|14||LMP2||#22 Ligier||Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta||103||+ 1m13.401s|
|15||LMP2||#40 Oreca||Allen, Gutierrez, Guibbert||103||+ 1m50.212s|
|16||LMP1||#5 Ginetta||Robertson, Simpson, Roussel||103||+ 2m09.580s|
|17||LMP2||#29 Dallara||Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers||102||+ 8 Laps|
|18||LMP2||#32 Ligier||De Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya||102||+ 55.754s|
|19||LMP1||#6 Ginetta||Rowland, Brundle, Turvey||101||+ 9 Laps|
|20||LMP2||#31 Oreca||Gonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon||101||+ 2m13.242s|
|21||LMP2||#33 Ligier||Cheng, Boulle, Nicolet||101||+ 4m18.373s|
|22||LMP2||#44 Ligier||Bertolini, Jonsson, Krohn||101||+ 4m25.783s|
|23||LMP2||#37 Oreca||Jaafar, Jeffri, Tan||100||+ 10 Laps|
|24||LMP2||#50 Ligier||Creed, Ricci, Dagoneau||99||+ 11 Laps|
|25||LMP2||#47 Dallara||Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr||98||+ 12 Laps|
|26||GTE Pro||#92 Porsche||Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor||98||+ 1m54.591s|
|27||GTE Pro||#93 Porsche||Pilet, Tandy, Bamber||97||+ 13 Laps|
|28||GTE Pro||#91 Porsche||Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki||97||+ 0.867s|
|29||GTE Pro||#81 BMW||Tomczyk, Catsburg, Eng||97||+ 7.963s|
|30||GTE Pro||#68 Ford||Hand, Muller, Bourdais||97||+ 18.586s|
|31||GTE Pro||#63 Chevrolet||Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller||97||+ 22.944s|
|32||GTE Pro||#69 Ford||Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon||97||+ 30.238s|
|33||GTE Pro||#52 Ferrari||Vilander, Giovinazzi, Derani||97||+ 31.603s|
|34||GTE Pro||#67 Ford||Priaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan||97||+ 35.021s|
|35||GTE Pro||#51 Ferrari||Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra||96||+ 14 Laps|
|36||GTE Pro||#95 Aston||Sorensen, Thiim, Turner||96||+ 1m48.787s|
|37||GTE Pro||#97 Aston||Lynn, Martin, Adam||96||+ 2m00.870s|
|38||GTE Am||#77 Porsche||Campbell, Ried, Andlauer||95||+ 15 Laps|
|39||GTE Pro||#82 BMW||Farfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims||95||+ 40.172s|
|40||GTE Am||#84 Ferrari||Griffin, Macneil, Segal||95||+ 2m47.395s|
|41||GTE Am||#56 Porsche||Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti||95||+ 3m07.438s|
|42||GTE Pro||#66 Ford||Mucke, Pla, Johnson||95||+ 3m30.870s|
|43||GTE Am||#85 Ferrari||Keating, Bleekemolen, Stolz||95||+ 3m49.208s|
|44||GTE Am||#54 Ferrari||Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella||95||+ 4m11.906s|
|45||GTE Am||#88 Porsche||Cairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda||94||+ 16 Laps|
|46||GTE Am||#80 Porsche||Babini, Nielsen, Maris||94||+ 2m54.561s|
|47||GTE Am||#61 Ferrari||Mok, Griffin, Sawa||94||+ 3m03.682s|
|48||GTE Pro||#71 Ferrari||Rigon, Bird, Molina||94||+ 3m22.104s|
|49||LMP2||#38 Oreca||Tung, Richelmi, Aubry||94||+ 3m44.822s|
|50||GTE Am||#99 Porsche||Long, Pappas, Pumpelly||94||+ 4m11.760s|
|51||GTE Am||#90 Aston||Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood||94||+ 5m06.223s|
|52||GTE Pro||#64 Chevrolet||Gavin, Milner, Fassler||93||+ 17 Laps|
|53||GTE Pro||#94 Porsche||Dumas, Bernhard, Muller||92||+ 18 Laps|
|54||GTE Am||#98 Aston||Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda||92||+ 6m08.912s|
|55||LMP1||#10 BR||Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande||92||+ 18m21.768s|
|56||GTE Am||#86 Porsche||Wainwright, Barker, Davison||90||+ 20 Laps|
|57||GTE Am||#70 Ferrari||Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever||88||+ 22 Laps|
|58||LMP2||#25 Ligier||Patterson, De Jong, Kim||86||+ 24 Laps|
|59||LMP1||#4 Enso||Webb, Kraihamer, Dillmann||65||+ 45 Laps|
|60||LMP1||#11 BR||Petrov, Aleshin, Button||61||+ 49 Laps|
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