After the tragedy that hit Toyota Gazoo Racing at the end of the last hour, they turned all their hopes onto the #9 entrant. But luck clearly was not with Toyota and the win that was so cruelly snatched from them last year was not to be repaid this year. Nico Lapierre suffered a puncture that saw the #9 catch on fire before pulling to a halt, unable to move into the pit lane at Ford Chicane.
Lapierre made contact with the #25 CEFC Manor TDS Racing, causing a puncture to the Toyota that led to the terminal damage to the Hybrid. The #25 Manor also retired on the spot.
With thirteen hours of the racing still left, the situation stands that at least one LMP2 car could feature on the overall podium. Nick Tandy now leads with an eight-lap advantage over second place.
1st – #1 Porsche Team – 919 Hybrid – Jani/Lotterer/Tandy
2nd (18th) – #2 Porsche Team – 919 Hybrid – Bernhard/Hartley/Bamber
3rd (52nd) – #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima
With one Toyota confirmed retired and the other 2 hours down on track time, Toyota decided to pool their focus on the #9. It was as if the decision condemned the car to have a problem as just a few minutes after Kamui Kobayashi has climbed out of the #7, the #9 picked up a puncture.
Trying to avoid the traffic coming out of the pits, Lapierre caught the side of the #25 Manor and caused the pair of them to spin out. The #25 stopped and retired on the spot in the gravel, but Lapierre pushed on to try and get the Toyota back to the pits.
After catching on fire, Lapierre was forced to give up and follow Kobayashi in climbing out of the cockpit. He tried resetting the car a few times and got a little bit of power out of it but was not able to get it back into the pits. It was agonisingly close as Lapierre climbed out of the car at the Ford Chicane.
1st – #31 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Prost/Senna/Canal
2nd – #13 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche
3rd – #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing – Oreca 07-Gibson – Tung/Laurent/Jarvis
Manor #25 had some terrible luck in this hour as it was the victim of potential contact with Lapierre. The #25 had heavy contact into the tyre barrier at Dunlop Curve and instantly retired from the race. The driver climbed out and limped away. Apart from the limp he appeared to be OK. He has been sent to the medical centre.
1st – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Turner/Adam/Serra
2nd – #95 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Stanaway/Sorensen/Thiim
3rd – #91 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Lietz/Makowiecki/Pilet
Through the safety car periods the order of the GTE classes got shuffled around. Porsche GT Team were the luckiest with this and used it to their advantage to end up at the top of the order. This also brought the Ferrari running teams into contention. However, at the end of the hour for the fifteen mintues there was no safety car, the pit stops seemed to regulate a little and Aston Martin Racing got their duo of cars back on top.
1st – #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor
2nd – #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Ried/Dienst/Cairoli
3rd – #90 TF Sport – Aston Martin Vantage GTE – Yoluc/Hankey/Bell
The #84 JMW Motorsport team look to have a strong advantage at the front of this class, just as they have had for the last few hours. Dempsey-Proton Racing and TF Sport have a tight battle for second in class that is looking to be a highlight of hour twelve.