Porsche’s LMP1 challenge at the 82nd 24 Hours of Le Mans collapsed as the race entered its x hour.
Mark Webber dramatically slowed on circuit while running in second place, before crawling back to the pits where the #20 was retired. The sister #14 car, which was delayed earlier in the race, didn’t last much longer, with Marc Lieb bringing the car into the pits to end Porsche’s day in the top class.
The demise of the #20 has meant a reshuffled order right at the front of the field once more. Lucas di Grassi piloted the #1 car into second place, before handing over to Tom Kristensen for the final driving stint. Meanwhile, the #8 Toyota driven by Anthony Davidson moved up to third, making a routine pit stop for fuel and fresh tyres.
Andre Lotterer handed driving duties over to Benoit Treluyer in the leading #2 Audi for the final stint. Additionally, the double retirement of both Porsche 919 Hybrids means that Rebellion Racing may be classified in fourth place in the sole remaining R-One should the team be able to get the car through the final hour of the race.
LMP2 also had plenty of action. Alex Brundle had been struggling on in the hobbled #35 for a while, with the Thiriet by TDS Racing and Jota Sport #46 and #38 cars rolling in. Gommedy, behind the wheel of the former, soon found a way past the slow Brundle, with Tincknell moving up to second in class.
The latter would move into the lead of the class by the end of the lap as the two Ligiers pitted at the same time. For the #48 it was a routine stop, but that wasn’t the case for the #35, which was pushed into its pit garage and formally retired with a spark plug problem. That means the #38 Signatech Alpine now moves up to third in class.
Harry Tincknell would hand driving duties over to Oliver Turvey, with the #46 car chasing after him for class honours.
Things were more serene for the leading #51 AF Corse Ferrari in GTE Pro. The Italian team continued to hold a comfortable margin over the rest, but behind the race for second was on. The #74 Corvette began catching the #92 Porsche, and would move up to second in class when the latter pitted with Frederic Makowiecki behind the wheel.
There was also drama in the GTE-Am class, with the long-time class leading #95 Aston Martin having a brief scare. The car came to a halt at pit out and lost several seconds before it re-fired. Despite this, it continues to lead GTE-Am.
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 23 hours
1 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
2 – #1 Audi Sport Team Joest – di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen
3 – #8 Toyota Racing – Buemi/Davidson/Lapierre
1 – #38 JOTA Sport – Dolan/Tinknell/Turvey
2 – #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing – Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy
3 – #36 Signatech Alpine – Chatin/Panciatici/Webb
1 – #51 AF Corse – Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella
2 – #73 Corvette Racing Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor
3 – #92 Porsche Team Manthey – Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz
1 – #95 Aston Martin Racing – Poulsen/Heinemeier Hansson/Thiim
2 – #88 Proton Competition – Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi
3 – #61 AF Corse – Perez Companc/Cioci/Venturi