With five hours to go, the Porsche #1 (Tandy/Lotterer/Jani) looks unstoppable. Just behind, LMP2 teams Jackie Chan DC Racing and Vaillante Rebellion are currently poised for the overall race podium. In the LMGTE class, the battle is as fierce as ever.
The LMP1 class suffered heavy losses in the first half of race: the #4 Enso went out in the first hour, followed by lengthy stays in the garage or retirements for the #2 Porsche, the #8 Toyota, the #7 Toyota and the #9 Toyota. Only the #1 Porsche has managed to stay out of trouble (apart from a spin and a change of front bonnet). It has a more than comfortable 13-lap lead on its closest rival — an LMP2 car! The drivers in the #8 Toyota and the #2 Porsche are now doing all they can to make up for lost time. The latter could still be in with a chance of a podium place — on condition that they put in a faultless performance right to the chequered flag.
The ‘junior’ prototypes hold every position from P2 to P7, which is pretty much unheard off! Since the class was created in 2004, no LMP2 team has ever made it on to the podium, but that will no doubt change in five hours’ time. For the moment, the Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 Oreca is ahead of its closest rival, the #31 Vaillante Rebellion which lost time with gearbox issues this past hour.
There is still everything to play for. There are just 2.30 minutes between the first five with, in order, an Aston Martin, a Corvette, a Porsche, a Ferrari and a Ford! Pit stops could be crucial in the hours to come. The #97 Aston Martin appears to have a slight advantage when it comes to fuel consumption as it has made 18 stops so far, compared to 20 or 21 for its adversaries.
No change in this class: three Ferraris hold the first three places, the #84 JMW Motorsport ahead of the #55 Spirit of Race and the #62 Scuderia Corsa.
Photo: Fans here are keeping a close eye on the LMGTE class where any of the five manufacturers competing could win!