LM24 H15: Toyotas slip back as Duval strengthens lead

Loic Duval strengthened Audi's grip on the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the race's 15th hour as Sebastien Buemi's Toyota slipped almost three minutes behind

LM24 H15: Toyotas slip back as Duval strengthens lead

The #2 R18 e-tron Quattro retained a relentless pace throughout the uninterrupted hour to add 50s to its lead over Buemi in the #8 Toyota.

In third place, Alexander Wurz also dropped back from his team-mate, almost 1m30s behind in the #7 TS030 HYBRID.

The second Toyota's podium position is precarious, the Austrian driver just 2m30s ahead of Marc Gene in the #3 Audi, who slashed the gap between the two cars in half during the hour.

Benoit Treluyer remains behind the two Rebellion-Lolas and the Strakka HPD in the #1 Audi, though moved onto the same lap as the latter following Jonny Kane's spin the previous hour.

In the battle for the LMP2 lead, Olivier Pla's #24 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan is 40s clear of his team-mate Bertrand Baguette in the #35 car.

Pla, who had closed the gap to less than a second by 0530, pitted first and claimed the lead when Baguette took over from Martin Plowman behind the wheel.

Michael Krumm's #42 Greaves Zytek-Nissan now heads the battle for the final podium place, having taken advantage of an off at the Esses for Lucas Luhr's Zytek-Nissan.

Luhr, who had been third, ended the hour sixth in class as his car sat in the garage with a front wheel askew and being repaired.

Further back in the class, Romain Brandela, aboard the #39 DKR Lola-Judd, endured a nightmare hour.

First, he spun at the Dunlop chicane, and made it as far as the Esses before pitching the fourth-placed GTE Am Proton Porsche of Paolo Ruberti into a spin and delaying Darryl O'Young's #55 AF Corse Ferrari.

That incident came under investigation while Proton checked the car over in the pits.

When it left the garage, the 48th-placed car - still with Brandela at the wheel - almost forced Buemi's Toyota off the road at the Dunlop chicane, and then ran straight on at the first Mulsanne chicane moments later.

The #92 Manthey Porsche continues to lead the GTE Pro battle, now in the hands of Richard Lietz. Frederic Makowiecki had clawed the #99 Aston Martin's deficit back to around a minute, but a changeover to Bruno Senna meant the gap rose to 1m16.

Further back the #93 Viper of Tommy Kendall lost further ground with a brake-disc change in the pits and a gravelly excursion.

Raymond Narac, in the #76 Imsa Porsche, remains out in front in GTE Am. O'Young is second despite his trip across the gravel, with Matt Griffin making it two Ferraris in the podium positions.

POSITIONS AFTER 15 HOURS

Pos Cl      Car       Drivers                         Laps  Gap
 1. P1  #2  Audi      Kristensen/McNish/Duval         219   
 2. P1  #8  Toyota    Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi         219   + 2m58.432s
 3. P1  #7  Toyota    Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima          218   +     1 Lap
 4. P1  #3  Audi      Gene/Jarvis/di Grassi           218   + 2m31.187s
 5. P1  #13 Lola      Beche/Belicchi/Cheng            212   +    7 Laps
 6. P1  #12 Lola      Prost/Jani/Heidfeld             210   +    9 Laps
 7. P1  #21 HPD       Leventis/Kane/Watts             210   +   51.259s
 8. P1  #1  Audi      Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler       208   +   11 Laps
 9. P2  #24 Morgan    Pla/Brundle/H Hansson           207   +   12 Laps
10. P2  #35 Morgan    Baguette/Plowman/Gonzalez       207   +   40.969s
11. P2  #42 Zytek     Krumm/Mardenborough/Ordonez     206   +   13 Laps
12. P2  #38 Zytek     Dolan/Turvey/Luhr               205   +   14 Laps
13. P2  #26 Oreca     Rusinov/Martin/Conway           205   + 4m15.961s
14. P2  #46 Oreca     Thiriet/Badey/Martin            205   + 4m49.070s
15. P2  #49 Oreca     P-Companc/Kaffer/Minassian      204   +   15 Laps
16. P2  #43 Morgan    Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard       203   +   16 Laps
17. P2  #32 Lotus     Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz        200   +   19 Laps
18. P2  #33 HPD       Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe       199   +   20 Laps
19. P2  #48 Oreca     Hartley/Chandhok/Patterson      199   + 1m49.439s
20. P2  #47 Morgan    Imperatori/Howson/Tung          199   + 3m16.404s
21. GTP #92 Porsche   Lieb/Richard Lietz/Dumas        199   + 3m19.723s
22. GTP #99 Aston     Makowiecki/Senna/Bell           198   +   21 Laps
23. GTP #97 Aston     Mucke/Turner/Dumbreck           198   + 1m24.833s
24. GTP #91 Porsche   Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard      198   + 2m28.545s
25. GTP #51 Ferrari   Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli      197   +   22 Laps
26. GTP #71 Ferrari   Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander      196   +   23 Laps
27. P2  #36 Alpine    Ragues/Panciatici/Gommendy      196   +    1.778s
28. P2  #34 Oreca     Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen   196   + 1m38.427s
29. P2  #41 Zytek     Rossi/K-Smith/Lux               196   + 1m43.198s
30. GTP #74 Corvette  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook          196   + 1m45.570s
31. GTP #73 Corvette  Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor         195   +   24 Laps
32. GTP #98 Aston     Dalla Lana/Lamy/Auberlen        194   +   25 Laps
33. P2  #45 Morgan    Nicolet/Merlin/Mondolot         193   +   26 Laps
34. GTA #76 Porsche   Narac/Vernay/Bourret            192   +   27 Laps
35. GTA #55 Ferrari   Perazzini/O'Young/Case          192   + 3m28.063s
36. GTA #61 Ferrari   Gerber/Griffin/Cioci            191   +   28 Laps
37. GTA #77 Porsche   Dempsey/Foster/Long             191   + 1m30.302s
38. GTP #53 SRT       Farnbacher/Goossens/Dalziel     191   + 3m07.829s
39. GTA #67 Porsche   Gibon/Milesi/Henzler            190   +   29 Laps
40. GTA #75 Porsche   Collard/Perrodo/Crubile         190   +    9.154s
41. GTA #50 Corvette  Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor         189   +   30 Laps
42. GTA #96 Aston     Goethe/Campbell-Walter/Hall     189   +    5.949s
43. P2  #40 Oreca     Dagoneau/Downs/Younessi         189   +   20.336s
44. GTP #93 SRT       Wittmer/Kendall/Bomarito        189   +   58.837s
45. GTP #66 Ferrari   Bertolini/Faisal/Qubaisi        187   +   32 Laps
46. GTA #88 Porsche   Ried/Roda/Ruberti               185   +   34 Laps
47. GTA #81 Ferrari   Potolicchio/Aguas/Bright        181   +   38 Laps
48. P2  #39 Lola      Porta/Brandela/Raffin           172   +   47 Laps
49. GTA #70 Corvette  MacNeil/Rodrigues/Dumas         158   +   61 Laps
50. P2  #30 Lola      Mowlem/Burgess/Hirschi          153   Retired
51. GTA #54 Ferrari   Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank        147   Retired
52. GTA #57 Ferrari   Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani           111   Retired
53. P2  #25 Oreca     Graves/Hamilton/Nakano          101   Retired
54. P2  #28 Lola      Giroix/Haezebrouck/Ihara        22    Retired
55. P2  #31 Lotus     Weeda/Rossiter/Bouchut          17    Retired
56. GTA #95 Aston     Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen        2     Retired
shares
comments
LM24 H14: Lead battle remains tense as Toyota closes on Audi
Previous article

LM24 H14: Lead battle remains tense as Toyota closes on Audi

Next article

LM24 H16: Loic Duval opens up one-lap advantage for Audi

LM24 H16: Loic Duval opens up one-lap advantage for Audi
Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023 Plus

Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023

OPINION: There is plenty of excitement over the glut of manufacturers tackling the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship this season. The selection committee is set to face headaches over who it decides to admit and who gets turned away from the 2023 entry list, but history tells us that the smaller entrants have a place

WEC
Jan 9, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay? Plus

Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay?

OPINION: Fresh from hosting a controversial 2022 football World Cup, Qatar has added its name to the 2024 World Endurance Championship calendar. Although questions may be asked about its presence on the calendar, is it simply the price to pay for having a healthy racing championship?

WEC
Dec 21, 2022
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Plus

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

WEC
Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022