After 22 hours, an unprecedented battle for victory has developed between an LMP2 and an LMP1. For the time being, the Oreca 07 – Gibson of Jackie Chan DC Racing leads by less than a lap from the pursuing #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, making up around ten seconds per lap
Timo Bernhard has just taken over the wheel of the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid from Brendon Hartley, who had driven practically all morning. His mission is a simple one: catch the #38 Oreca 07 – Gibson #38 fielded by Jackie Chan DC Racing, with 19-year-old rookie Thomas Laurent at the wheel. This LMP2 entry made the most of the issues experienced by the LMP1 competitors to take the lead, but lap times are not in its favour. The Porsche laps in 3:23, whereas the Oreca entry never dips below the 3:30 barrier. Mathematically, the Porsche should do it comfortably, but race incidents and particularly the appearance of Slow Zones, could scupper the Stuttgart-based team’s plans.
It’s the LMP2s’ day, with eight representatives of the class in the top ten in the general classification. The #35 Alpine A470 – Gibson is now second in class, and third overall, behind the #38 Oreca. A fourth LMP2 has retired in the last hour. Fabien Barthez pulled up after Arnage, and got out of his Ligier.
The #13 Vaillante Rebellion has also experienced starter trouble. The mechanics have taken a gamble by not changing the faulty component, as it seeks to remain in touch with the #35 Alpine in second place.
Since the start of the race, there have been 46 changes of lead in the LMGTE Pro class! Proof, if it were needed, of how close the performances are. The pole-sitting #97 Aston Martin Vantage leads the pack with two hours to go, but it’s anyone’s guess who will win. The #63 Corvette C7.R, the #91 Porsche, the #71 Ferrari and the #67 Ford are hot on the heels of the Vantage.
Status quo in the LMGTE Am standings with the three Ferraris still out in front. The #84 of JMW Motorsport leads from the #55 and the #62 of Spirit of Race and Scuderia Corsa respectively.