Hour 18 started under the safety car, after Roald Goethe‘s crash in the #96 Aston Martin. Racing got back underway 10 minutes past the hour, and saw the expected battle between Audi and Porsche continue.
Nico Hülkenberg pitted to hand control of the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid over to Nick Tandy, and by the end of the hour, this was the car out front. A lap behind is Mark Webber, driving the #17 Porsche, ahead of René Rast‘s #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The remaining #7 and #8 Audis are next, followed by the #18 Porsche that started from pole.
KCMG continued their domination of LMP2, and Richard Bradley kept the #47 Oreca 05 out front. Behind them is the #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2, followed by JOTA Sport, who have done a fantastic effort to bring the #38 Gibson 015S – Nissan back to the front of the field after their problems early in the race.
Perhaps not surprisingly, we also saw Tracy Krohn spin the Krohn Racing #40 Ligier, for certainly not the first time this race. Also, two LMP2 cars picked up stop/go penalties for speeding in the pitlane, with the #35 Oak Racing Ligier and #37 SMP Racing BR01 having to serve penalties of 15 and 35 seconds respectively.
The LM GTE Pro battle is still far from over, and AF Corse led by the end of the hour with Toni Vilander at the wheel of the #51 Ferrari 458 Italia. Corvette Racing are only a few seconds behind with the #64 being piloted by Oliver Gavin. Finally, third place is currently held by Jorg Bergmeister‘s #91 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR.
Paul Dalla Lana is at the wheel of the leading #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 in LM GTE Am, ahead of Victor Shaytar‘s #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia and Townsend Bell in the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.
Top 3 positions in each class after Hour 18 of the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans:
- #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Hulkenberg/Bamber/Tandy
- #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Bernhard/Webber/Hartley
- #9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro – Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Rast
- #47 KCMG Oreca 05 – Howson/Lapierre/Bradley
- #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 –Bird/Rusinov/Canal
- #38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S – Nissan – Dolan/Evans/Turvey
LM GTE Pro
- #51 AF Corse – Vilander/Bruni/Fisichella
- #64 Corvette Racing – Milner/Gavin/Taylor
- #91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR – Lietz/Christensen/Bergmeister
LM GTE Am
- #98 Aston Martin Racing V8 – Dalla Lana/Lauda/Lamy
- #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia – Shaytar/Bertolini/Basov
- #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia – Sweedler/Bell/Segal
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