2019 24 Hours of Le Mans – Hour 18 Update – Rebellion Stumble as GTE Pro Heats Up

by Alice Holloway
The leading Ford GT Am Keating Motorsport

More incidents befell the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid in the last three hours, and although three of the classes have leaders with comfortable gaps to their competitors the GTE Pro field remain closer than ever.

Toyota Gazoo Racing still dominate out front, with the better paced #7 holds the sister car off by nearly three seconds. However, the more interesting battle for best of the rest honours took a dramatic turn as the then third-placed #3 Rebellion Racing got itself beached.

Looking to hook the front right on the kerb, the car got pitched round into a spin and ended up buried in a gravel trap. At the time, driver Gustavo Menezes was in a tight battle with Stoffel Vandoorne for third in class, but the incident dropped the Rebellion right out of contention.

LMP2 saw the retirement of the early week favourite #31 DragonSpeed as Pastor Maldonado lost the car at Tertre Rouge and hit the barrier. The barrier had to be repaired, which brought out a lengthy safety car period, halting the action for around an hour.

G-Drive Racing still hold a competitive lead over the rest of the field, with the #36 Signatech Alpine staying about a minute and a half behind. The TDS Racing has come back to life in the morning sunlight and is looking at challenging the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing for the bottom step of the class podium.

GTE Pro is still keeping things spicy with four different manufacturers in the top four. the #51 AF Corse Ferrari has been a surprise surge to the front of the grid and is looking keen to take class victory, currently leading. It is defending from the #63 and sole remaining Corvette Racing and the #93 Porsche GT Team. The Ford does finish the top four, but is a long way down the road from the top three.

The top three in Pro is covered by around 50 seconds.

A couple of spinners in the GTE Am brought out a Full Course Yellow early in the three-hour period. Both the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche and Kessel Racing Ferrari managed to get going again after their brief stops out on track.

It’s been a great showing for the Keating Motorsport Ford GT who has a strong lead of nearly three minutes at the front of the field.

2019 24 Hours of Le Mans – Standings After 18 Hours

LMP1

  1. #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Mike Conway – Kamui Kobayashi – José María López
  2. #8  Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Fernando Alonso – Sébastien Buemi – Kazuki Nakajima
  3. #11 SMP Racing – BR Engineering BR1-AER – Mikhail Aleshin – Vitaly Petrov – Stoffel Vandoorne

LMP2

  1. #26 G-Drive Racing – Aurus 01 – Gibson – Roman Rusinov – Job Van Uitert – Jean-Éric Vergne
  2. #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut – Alpine A470 – Gibson – Nicolas Lapierre – André Negrâo – Pierre Thiriet
  3. #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing – Oreca 07 – Gibson – Gabriel Aubry – Stéphane Richelmi – Ho-Pin Tung

GTE Pro

  1. #51 AF Corse – Ferrari 488 GTE – James Calado – Alessandro Pier Guidi – Daniel Serra
  2. #63 Corvette Racing – Chevrolet Corvette C7.R – Antonio García – Jan Magnussen – Mike Rockenfeller
  3. #91 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Gianmaria Bruni – Richard Lietz – Frédéric Makowieck

GTE Am

  1. #85 Keating Motorsports – Ford GT – Jeroen Bleekemolen – Felipe Fraga – Ben Keating
  2. #56 Team Project 1 – Porsche 911 RSR – Jörg Bergmeister – Patrick Lindsey – Egidio Perfetti
  3. #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Jeff Segal – Rodrigo Baptista – Wei Lu

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