PORSCHE BOUNCE BACK TO WIN LE MANS 24
After spending almost an hour in the pits, the No. 2 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber bounced back to claim victory in the Le Mans 24 Hour.
It was a race of a attrition at the front of the field with all of the outright Porsche and Toyota contenders striking issues during the 24 hour duration. Leaving LMP2 cars the lead the field with just a few hours left in the race.
The No. 2 Porsche was the first on the LMP1 cars to find trouble, just four hours into the race. A lengthy stop to replace a front axle motor dropped them down to 55 place, 18 laps off the pace of the leaders.
Then it was the No 8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson turn to strike issues while sitting second. 8 hours into the race they had to stop for almost two hours to replace both a front motor and battery system. The WEC Championship points leaders would get back on track and finished the race ninth. Nine laps off the pace.
Toyota’s drama’s continued just after midnight. First the race leading No. 7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Stephane Sarrazin failed to get back up to speed after a safety car intervention, after a lengthy pit stop the car resumed only to stop on track a few laps later with electrical issue.
Shortly after the No. 9 Toyota suffered a similar fate. Fuel system issue halting the progress of the third Toyota entry. Both the No. 7 and No. 9 were retired from the race during the tenth hour of the race.
This left the No. 1 Porsche of Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Nicholas Tandy with a clear 11 lap lead over the rest of the field.
However, the leading Porsche would suffer its own issues. With just four hours left in the race, the car would have to retire due to loss of oil pressure.
Handing the lead of the Le Mans 24 Hour to the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2 entry of Ho-Pin Tung, Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis. The first time in the races history that an LMP2 car had lead the field outright.
Even though the No. 38 couldn’t match the pace of the LMP1 cars, losing the lead to No. 2 Porsche in the final hour. They would still hold on to second place outright and win the LMP2 class.
The No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion of Nelson Piquet Jr, David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche completed the outright podium and finished second in LMP2.
James Allen was the best of the Aussie contingent at Le Mans, finishing seventh outright in the No. 40 Graff LMP2 car. While teammate English born Aussie, James Winslow limped home to finished 44th in his No. 38 Graff LMP2 entry after suffering gear box issues during the race.
Ryan Briscoe was the next best of the Aussies in the No. 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Team Ford GT. Finishing seventh in the GTE Pro class and 24th outright.
Australian Carrera Cup champion Nick Foster crossed the line in 39th outright in his No. 86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 RSR. Finishing tenth in the GTE Am Class.
Make sure you pick up the next issue of Auto Action for a full run down of all the action from Le Mans. In the meantime follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest updates between issues.
Date posted: June 19, 2017