Porsche have continued their domination at the front of the field at the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans as hour 22 is put into the book with the 919s running one-two.
However, while the Porsche prototypes were feeling confident with their lead – the Audis were crumbling but we’ll get to that in a second – the Dempsey-Proton GTE Am Porsche was battling hammer and tongs with the #62 Scuderia Corsa of Townsend Bell who were both trying to stake their claim on the third podium position.
Patrick Long in the #77 got ahead just as the hour got underway, with Bell spinning the Ferrari at Mulsanne Corner trying to get past and reclaim his erstwhile podium place.
As the minutes ticked on, it was clear to see the Porsche was struggling – Bell had pulled from roughly a minute behind to be on the Porsche’s bumper in about 30 minutes and was looking racy. Unfortunately for him, the Porsche kept him ahead at the end of the hour.
Now, back into LMP1 and while Porsche looked calm at the front – with the #19 leading the #17 – Audi looked anything but. The start of hour 22 saw the #7 of Andre Lotterer within an incredibly slim potential of maybe taking on the leaders, sadly for the Swiss driver about 40 minutes into the hour had to make a number of pitstops to fix rear bodywork and found itself three laps behind the leader.
In LMP2 there was a scare for the #47 KCMG Oreca early on as Nico Lapierre decided to scare the mechanics by running through the gravel at Indianapolis. The Frenchman was no doubt very happy to be pushed back onto the tarmac without losing a position.
Just behind, the #38 JOTA Sport Gisbon 015S in third place was starting a charge to the G-Drive Racing Ligier in second but couldn’t make anything happen as the hour ended.
GTE Pro saw Toni Villander continue his good pace in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari as Jordan Taylor in the #64 Corvette tried his best to close up to the Ferrari but couldn’t match Villander’s pace.
At the front of GTE Am, you’ll probably be surprised to hear that the action wasn’t as great for first and second as it was for third with the #98 Aston Martin and the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari held position and were indeed intermingling themselves in with Pro traffic and really stretching their legs to the chasing pack behind.
Top 3 positions in each class after Hour 22 of the 83rd 24 Hours of Le Mans
- #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Hulkenberg/Bamber/Tandy
- #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid – Bernhard/Webber/Hartley
- #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro – Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer
- #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
- #51 AF Corse – Vilander/Bruni/Fisichella
- #64 Corvette Racing – Milner/Gavin/Taylor
- #71 AF Corse – Calado/Beretta/Rigon
- #98 Aston Martin Racing V8 – Dalla Lana/Lauda/Lamy
- #72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia – Shaytar/Bertolini/Basov
- #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 991 – Long/Dempsey/Seefried