A few minutes after a remarkable overtaking of the #11 BR Engineering BR1 of Mikhail Aleshin in the Porsche curves, Thomas Laurent committed a braking error at the wheel of the #3 Rebellion R13 in the second Mulsanne chicane, causing deployment of the safety car. The Russian car returned to its garage with a piece of the Rebellion on it, and the French driver started off again after five minutes in the garage.
The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid driven by Kazuki Nakajima took the lead from its #7 sister car during a neutralisation, but the Japanese driver didn't keep it long thanks to José María López's overtaking maneuver in the Mulsanne Straight. Sergey Sirotkin took advantage of his fellow countryman and teammate's misfortune to slip into third place with SMP Racing's #17 BR Engineering BR1.
Roman Rusinov held the lead in the class for quite some time at the wheel of G-Drive Racing's #26 Aurus, but an impressive move by André Negraõ in the Mulsanne Straight allowed Signatech Alpine Matmut's #36 to slip into first place.
Third place was snatched by Jackie Chan DC Racing's #38 ORECA after the #37 sister car and United Autosport's #22 Ligier incurred a drive through penalty for overtaking the safety car on the track.
After an thrillng two hours of racing in this class, the biggest takeaway is the retirement for the #64 Chevrolet Corvette after an incident. Contact was made with Dempsey-Proton Racing's #88 Porsche in the Porsche curve, and Marcel Fässler was unable to avoid the wall. The car was too damaged to continue, so only one Corvette remains in the race for victory.
Three safety cars were deployed on the track between 20:00 and 22:00, cutting the field in the class in two. The first pack was led by Porsche GT Team's #92 Porsche 911 RSR followed by AF Corse's #51 Ferrari 488 GTE and Corvette Racing's #63 Corvette. The top 8 were within about 12 seconds. Then the second pack was led by Porsche GT Team's #94 Porsche 911 RSR.
Le only Ford GT fielded (Keating Motorsports' #85) held the lead, but close on its heels were JMW Motorsport's #84 Ferrari 488 GTE, Team Project 1's #56 Porsche 911 RSR and TF Sport's #90 Aston Martin Vantage!
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PHOTO: LE MANS (SARTHE, FRANCE), CIRCUIT DES 24 HEURES DU MANS, RACE, 15 JUNE 2019. The #8 Toyota TS050 grabbed the lead for awhile after a timely refuelling.
BREAKING NEWS: THE 2020 24 HOURS OF LE MANS TO BE RACED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS