2016 24 Hours of Le Mans: Hour 22 Update – Battles bubbling up as Le Mans reaches boiling point


As the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans closed in on two hours to go, drama hit the front of the LMP1 class as the damage sustained to the #6 Toyota Gazoo Racing car in the last hour came back to bite again as the car was pushed into the garage with a ten minute delay as the mechanics looked to fix what they could.

That allowed the #5 sister Toyota TS050 of Anthony Davidson and the #2 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani to break away into a two-way battle for victory with Jani a minute behind Davidson but a handful of laps ahead of Stephane Sarrazin who took over the #6 from Kamui Kobayashi.

As the hour ended, the #5 continued to lead this time with Kazuki Nakajima behind the wheel who should be taking the car to the end of the race from here with the Japanese driver opening up the gap to Jani’s Porsche.

In LMP2, Stephane Richelmi didn’t do anything to sacrifice his lead as he took his Signatech Alpine, badged as an Alpine A460 but in reality an Oreca 05, held position with Roman Rusinov a lap behind in the G-Drive Racing Oreca which was three laps ahead of Victor Shaytar in the SMP Racing BR01-Nissan.

GTE Pro saw the incident suffered by the Risi Competizione Ferrari in the last hour dull the race in that category somewhat as the #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford GT of Joey Hand held a lap advantage over Toni Vilander in the Ferrari. He was a lap ahead of the second Team USA Ford GT of Scott Dixon but there was the Algarve Pro Racing LMP2 Ligier in between them both providing a crumb of comfort to the Ferrari team.

The #62 had a tense moment in the lead of GTE Am as a brake change for the Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia when Townsend Bell swapped to Jeff Segal seemed to take an age. However, it didn’t affect their place in the end as Patrick Long in the Abu-Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR couldn’t make his lap up on the All-American Ferrari effort and actually ended up being relegated to third by Rui Aguas in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia who was pushing hard throughout the hour.

News from elsewhere in that class saw the #98 Aston Martin Racing entry of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda officially retire from the 84th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans after it pulled off on the run to the Dunlop Curves with gearbox issues.