The #7 Toyota of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima continues to lead the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans after a two hours, with rain causing chaos for two of the favourites.
The hour started with a retirement in the LMP2 field, with the #37 Oreca 03R-Nissan of SMP Racing retiring with engine failure, with race control also announcing that the incident involving the #61 AF Corse Ferrari and the #37 OAK Racing Ligier at Mulsanne Corner would be put under investigation.
No sooner after that was announced the action on track heated up once again, with first the #24 Sebastien Loeb Racing Oreca 03R going straight off at Arnage as well, before re-joining whilst also losing fluids. A few minutes later and the Audi boys were back at play, with the #3 R18 e-tron Quattro of Marco Bonanomi out slipstreaming the sister #2 of Andre Lotterer, but a short while later the positions changed again, with the #2 moving back ahead.
Shortly afterwards another Ferrari was going off the track, this time the #90 8Star Motorsports entry, with Paulo Ruberti going clean off at Indianapolis, but able to re-join, all be it with a puncture. But, no sooner had that happened the race was soon declared wet, with spots of rain starting to appear on the windows of the Audi’s as they weaved their way through traffic down through Tertre Rouge and the Mulsanne Straight.
The first real signs of a wet track, however, came five minutes later when Matt McMurry, who had become the youngest ever driver at Le Mans, spun the Greaves/Caterham Zytek at the Forrest Esses, but a few minutes later, however, the big boys in LMP1 started to struggle, with race leader Wurz first straight lining the first Mulsanne Chicane, shortly followed by a crash involving the #8 Toyota of Nicolas Lapierre, the #3 Audi of Bonanomi, and GTE Am leader Sam Bird on the Mulsanne straight.
The crash, which ended the race for both the #81 and #3, was caused by the extreme rain shower passing over, with both the #3 and #81 slowing down the straight with a gaggle of cars, with the #8 then arriving at the scene out of control, slamming into both the Audi and Ferrari.
At the same time, although further down at the second Mulsanne chicane, the LMP2 leading KCMG Oreca of Richard Bradley went off, causing front end damage to the car and relegated the car to tenth in class. That, along with the rain and damage to the tyre barrier, meant that race director Eduardo Freitas had no choice but to deploy the safety car.
1 – #7 Toyota Racing – Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz
2 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
3 – #20 Porsche Team – Bernhard/Webber/Hartley
1 – #34 Race Performance – Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster
2 – #47 KCMG – Bradley/Howson/Imperatori
3 – ##36 Signatech Apline – Chatin/Panciatichi/Webb
1 – #74 Corvette Racing – Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
2- #91 Porsche Team Manthey – Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy
3 – #73 Corvette Racing – Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor
1 – #77 Dempsey Racing – Proton – Dempsey/Foster/Long
2 – #53 RAM Racing – Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton
3 – #57 Krohn Racing – Krohn/Jonsson/Collins