2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – Hour 21 Update – Alonso Continues In The Lead As GTE PRO Begins To Boil Over

by Steven Batey

Fernando Alonso continues out in front with just three hours of the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans remaining.

The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid has a substantial lead over its rival #7 teammate, which still has Jose Maria Lopez behind the wheel. A spin midway through the hour for Lopez has helped Alonso increase his lead..

Both Rebellion R13’s continue to lap the Circuit De La Sarthe circuit in third and fourth in LMP1, while the #11 SMP Racing car with Vitaly Petrov behind the wheel is fifth in LMP1, albeit 55 laps down on the leading Toyota.

G-Drive hold strong in LMP2

Andrea Pizzitola continues to lead for G-Drive Racing, now with a three lap lead over second placed Andre Negrao for Signatech Alpine Matmut.

Third in LMP2 is now Vincent Capillaire in the Graff-SO24 Oreca 07 after the demise of the #23 Panis Barthez Competition machine which is now back on track after being in the pits for over an hour. The car now lies 14th in class.
The #48 IDEC Sport Oreca has also returned to the track  now sixth in LMP2 after being in the pits with a gearbox issue than the team believe they have now fixed.

GTE Pro’s go door-to-door

The best action of hour 21 has been the battle for second place in GTE Pro. A fantastic drive by Andy Priaulx early in the hour helped the #67 Chip Ganassi Team UK machine temporarily take second in class before he pitted.

After Priaulx dropped back down the order, it was then when the battle got controversial as Frédéric Makowiecki in the #91 Porsche repeatedly blocked the sister Ford GT of Sébastien Bourdais several times around the circuit over a sting of laps; event at one point weaving from side to side to prevent the French driver from overtaking him.

The race officials investigated the moves but deemed no penalty was needed to be handed out, much to the disagreement of Bourdais when he got out of the car.

The #92 Porsche with Laurens Vanthoor continues to be out in front with a one lap lead over its teammate.

Credit: Porsche

Dempsey-Proton push on as Ferrari’s give chase in GTE Am

It’s as you were in GTE Am as it’s the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing 911 RSR with Julien Andlauer still out in front. Nearly two minutes adrift of the leader is the #85 Keating Motorsport Ferrari F488 GTE with Ben Keating back behind the wheel and the #54 Spirit of Race 488 of Francesco Castellacci rounds out the top three in the class with three hours to go.

Credit: Ferrari

2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – Standings After 19 Hours

LMP1

  1. #8  Toyota Gazoo Racing– Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Fernando Alonso – Sébastien Buemi – Kazuki Nakajima
  2. #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing– Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Mike Conway – Kamui Kobayashi – José María López.
  3. #1 Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R13 – Gibson – André Lotterer – Neel Jani – Bruno Senna

LMP2

  1. #26 G-Drive Racing– Oreca 07 – Gibson – Roman Rusinov – Andrea Pizzitola – Jean-Éric Vergne
  2. #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut– Alpine A470 – Gibson – Nicolas Lapierre – André Negrâo – Pierre Thiriet
  3. #39 Graff-So24 – Oreca 07 – Gibson – Vincent Capillaire – Jonathan Hirschi – Tristan Gommendy

GTE Pro

  1. #92 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Michael Christensen – Kevin Estre – Laurens Vanthoor
  2. #91 Porsche GT Team– Porsche 911 RSR – Gianmaria Bruni  – Richard Leitz – Frédéric Makowiecki
  3. #68 Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA – Ford GT – Sébastien Buemi – Joey Hand – Dirk Müller

GTE Am

  1. #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing– Porsche 911 RSR – Julien Andlauer – Matt Campbell – Christian Ried
  2. #85 Keating Motorsport– Ferrari 488 GTE – Jeroen Bleekemolen – Ben Keating – Luca Stolz
  3. #54 Spirit of Race– Ferrari 488 GTE – Francesco Castellacci – Giancarlo Fisichella – Thomas Flöhr

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