Toyota N.8 maintained its lead on Sunday morning at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ahead of its sister car and only rival, the N.7, which suffered a technical problem in the early hours of the morning.
The intervention of the security cars, for the first time, for a quarter of an hour before 11.00 (9.00 GMT), the time of evacuation of a damaged car, did not fundamentally influence the ranking.
From the start until dawn, the two Toyotas, already dominant in the last four editions at the Sarthe circuit, tied the game at the top of the race, regularly stealing first place thanks to misbehavior of a or a pit stop better negotiated than the others.
But around 7.45am (5.45am GMT), José Maria Lopez, driving the N.7, slowed down and stopped. He then left and drove at a good pace to his pit where the mechanics remained motionless for long seconds in front of the car, visibly relaunched electronically from a distance.
Leading with a twenty-second lead at the time of the incident, N.7, who had won last year after years of misfortune, was one lap behind N.8, winner of the 2018, 2019 and 2020 editions.
– Via Crucis alpine –
However, the two Toyotas maintained a substantial advantage as the third hypercar, the Glickenhaus N.709, was almost five laps behind the N.8. The race of his sister car, the N.708, changed on Saturday evening, when Olivier Pla turned after a poorly negotiated turn. She pointed to nine turns.
The last hypercar to enter, before the return of several renowned teams to the queen category next year for the centenary of the event, the Alpine N.36 completely lost its race.
She, who had managed to fall to third place behind the Toyota on the grid, thanks to a temporary power bonus granted by the organizers, only for the classification, saw that the two Glickenhaus immediately overtook her on both sides, from the principles.
From 20.00 hours (18.00 GMT), he experienced a series of mechanical incidents that caused him to go down in the classification. Part once on the gravel during the night, she also had to leave the track at 9:15 am (7:15 am GMT) after being obstructed in an overtaking, which caused her to lose 25 minutes. month. At the end of the morning, he was in 28th place, 17 laps behind.
Unless there are major incidents between the hypercars, the French manufacturer risks losing the lead in the World Endurance Championship classification, which it occupied before the race.
At the lower level, the Orota N.38 of the Jota team led the dance from Saturday afternoon in LMP2, with more than one lap ahead of the Oreca N.9 of Prema Orlen.
– Gravel Fassbender –
Cruel weekend, however, for the Corvette team, whose two cars were aiming for victory in the LM GTE-Pro category. The N.63, long on Saturday at the head, threw the towel around 9.30am (7.30am GMT), burdened by mechanical problems. Less than twenty minutes later, the N.64, in turn at the head, was catapulted to the rail by another car.
With the yellow cars out, the Porsche N.91 took advantage of a puncture in the Ferrari N.51 to take the lead in the category. At LMGTE Am, TF Sport’s Aston Martin N.33 remained in command.
After a smooth first lap for most teams, mechanical problems and driving errors occurred Sunday morning. With seven withdrawals recorded at the end of the morning, 55 cars were still officially in the running to run until 16:00 (2:00 pm GMT), under a radiant sky.
As for the celebrities involved, the Oreca N.1 of eight-time world rally champion Sébastien Ogier, who was making his Le Mans debut, was tenth in his LMP2 category. The Oreca N.23 of the American Josh Pierson, the youngest rider in the history of the race at 16 years and 3 months, was in seventh place in this category.
Actor Michael Fassbender, the Magneto of the X-Men saga, was found in the gravel twice around midnight and his Porsche N.93 (LMGTE Am) was in 52nd place overall.