Porsche continued to lead the 82nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as the race began to settle into something of a rhythm.
Following the chaotic opening hours of the race, drivers were finally able to enjoy an hour of uninterrupted running. The big three manufacturers each have a car in the top three.
With the #20 Porsche, #7 Toyota and #2 Audi all on the lead lap, the lead changed hands during the pit stop cycle. But it was the #20 Porsche, being driven by Brendon Hartley, that led for most of the stint, enjoying as much as a twenty second advantage over the early race leading #7 Toyota, with Stephane Sarrazin on-board.
Audi continues to have two cars in contention for victory, despite the early retirement of the #3. Nine times winner, Tom Kristensen, finished a lengthy stint to hand the #1 over to Tom Kristensen. Meanwhile, the #2 Audi holds third place, but the German manufacturer has yet to take the lead of this year’s race.
There was also close action in both the LMP2 and GTE-Pro classes.
In LMP2, the battle between the #34 Race Performance Oreca and #35 OAK Racing Ligier shows no signs of abating. Franck Mailleux handed the class leading #34 over to Michel Frey, which handed the lead to Ligier on its debut at Le Mans. But the lead would change again when the #35 made its scheduled stop, with Alex Brundle taking over the driving duties.
Brundle would repass Frey after the latter was baulked by GT traffic at Tetre Rouge, only to be repassed a few moments later when he misjudged his braking for the second chicane. But it is the #36 Signatech Alpine car that leads the class, having not made a stop.
Things were equally frantic in a battle for the lead of the GTE-Pro class. The Porsche #91 led for much of the hour, but Jorg Bergmeister was passed late on by Tommy Milner, piloting the #74 Corvette.
The hour passed mostly without incident, apart from two off track moments, both occurring at Indianapolis. Adderly Fong, driving the #33 OAK Team Asia Ligier lost time early in the hour before recovering to the pits. Meanwhile, the #60 GTE-Am AF Corse Ferrari, driven by Lorenzo Case, had a similar moment, coming perilously close to taking one of the Toyotas out.
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 4 hours.
1 – #20 Porsche Team – Bernhard/Hartley/Lieb
2 – #7 Toyota Racing – Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz
3 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
1 – #36 Signatech Alpine – Chatin/Webb/Panciatici
2 – #34 Race Performance – Lancaster/Mailleux/Frey
3 – #35 OAK Racing – Brundle/Mardenborough/Schulzhitskiy
1 – #74 Corvette Racing – Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
2 – #91 Porsche Team Manthey – Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy
3 – #92 Porsche Team Manthey – Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz
1 – #98 Aston Martin Racing – Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard
2 – #77 Dempsey Racing – Proton – Dempsey/Foster/Long
3 – #53 RAM Racing – Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton