Following an unscheduled stop at the end of the previous hour, the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry remains stranded in the garage, though the #7 entry, currently with Mike Conway at the helm, continues to hold the lead.
A race long battle between the Vaillante Rebellions raged on, with Nelson Piquet Jr and Bruno Senna crossing paths once more and duking it out for the LMP2 class lead late in the hour.
Toyota weren’t the only team to suffer pit dramas, as Tommy Milner limped back to the Corvette Racing garage after a double spin from losing his left rear wheel. Despite the initial drama and damage to said corner of the car, his mechanics turned the #64 Corvette C7.R around in only six minutes.
1st – #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin
2nd – #1 Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Jani/Lotterer/Tandy
3rd – #9 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Lapierre/Kunimoto/Lopez
While things remained calm and steady out on track, the frenetic action was happening in the garage of the #8 Toyota, which was undergoing a full front-end repair. In a similar failure to the one that blighted the #2 Porsche 919 earlier in the race, the regeneration motor on the front axle was the cause of Sébastien Buemi‘s woes. This failure requires the entire front-end of the car to be disassembled, and an hour later, the car remains in the pits being rebuilt.
Nicolas Lapierre‘s #9 Toyota suffered a rather minor affliction, the right side positional marker suffering electrical problems and requiring some ad-hoc repairs during his scheduled stop.
1st – #13 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche
2nd – #31 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Prost/Senna/Canal
3rd – #38 CEFC Manor TRS Racing – Oreca 07-Gibson – Tung/Laurent/Jarvis
The #13 Rebellion with Piquet Jr at the wheel had spent the majority of the past hour leading its class, but trouble was brewing. After his stop at the top of the hour, race director Eduardo Freitas came on the radio with a request aimed at the #13.
“Number 13; Please ask the driver to turn on the rear lights immediately.”
They were initially able to scrape by for 40 minutes, but with intermittent issues with their rear lights persisting, were forced to come to pit-lane and fit new rear bodywork to cure the problem.
At that stop, Mathias Beche has taken of the #13 car, and so between the lights issue and the driver change, Bruno Senna is now leading the category once more in the #31 car.
The #17 IDEC Sport Racing Ligier made itself noticed thanks to Patrice Lafargue spinning out at the Porsche Curves. It came to pitlane for new tyres soon after.
1st – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Turner/Adam/Serra
2nd – #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK – Ford GT – Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani
3rd – #92 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Christensen/Estre/Werner
The GTE Pro class remains on a knife-edge, with 11 cars from 5 manufacturers still on the class lead lap. Daniel Serra continues to hold the rest of the field at arm’s length with the #97 Aston Martin Vantage, but competition from second down continues to be close, with lots of on-track battles resulting from alternate strategies being played out.
The #67 Ford GT and #92 Porsche 911 RSR continue to be the protagonists of the fight for second, and touched while battling for position. Harry Tincknell in the Ford was busy fending off Michael Christenen at the Michelin chicane, the duo making contact coming out of the corner. Having been forced to the outside for Mulsanne, Christensen switched back exiting the corner, using his momentum to streak ahead by the time they reached Indianapolis. The duo pit soon afterwards, and the order between the two was reversed soon after.
1st – #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor
2nd – #90 TF Sport – Aston Martin Vantage – Yoluc/Hankey/Bell
3rd – #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Ried/Cairoli/Dienst
Tracy Krohn livened up the otherwise stagnant GTE Am class with a trip through the gravel at Mulsanne. The lime green Ferrari 488 GTE just avoided the tyre barriers at the edge of the track, but Krohn spilled plenty of loose gravel onto the circuit when returning to the road. Despite the off, he continues in 10th place.