Le Mans »

Hour 6: Double safety cars fail to disrupt Audi's flow

Two further safety car periods broke up the rhythm that the Le Mans 24 Hours had settled into, closing up the field once more and giving drivers attacking opportunities.
Having had a quiet, uninterrupted run for the last four hours, it was clearly time to shake things up a little.

A flurry of incidents at the start of the fifth hour of the Le Mans 24 Hour race - which included Marino Franchitti having a small incendiary incident on his #33 Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b on pit lane, Howard Blank finding the Mulsanne gravel in the #54 AF Ferrari and Jack Gerber spinning the GTE-Am class-leading #61 Ferrari 458 Italia AF Corse at the Ford chicane - culminated in a messy puncture for the #36 Signatech Alpine-Nissan that left a lot of debris scattered on the track requiring a safety car to effect the clean-up.

It was only the second safety car of the race, and virtually everyone was keen to take the opportunity to come onto pit lane for new tyres and fuel including race leader Benoît Treluyer in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The safety car was quickly withdrawn but that didn't stop multiple drivers getting caught out on their now-cold rubber and experiencing various spills and thrills, with the class-leading #24 G-Drive ORECA-Nissan among them after David Heinemeier Hansson was tapped into a spin by Loïc Duval driving the #2 Audi at the Porsche curves.

However there was a quantifiably bigger problem on the Mulsanne straight, where apparently the entire rear bodywork of the Lotus had dropped off and come to rest in the middle of the track, necessitating immediate recovery. That meant the third safety car of the race, a cumulative total of almost half an hour under yellow for the two separate incidents.

Treluyer had a good jump on the field when the green flag came out, with Oliver Jarvis in the #3 briefly leading Duval in the #2 in what was clearly a tense battle between the three Audi men each vying to outpace the others. All three were safely well ahead of the Toyotas of Sebastien Buemi and Neel Jani, who in turn were over a lap clear of the Rebellion Racing/Strakka Racing three-way fight for the remaining LMP1 positions.

Following Heinemeier Hansson's spin, Roman Rusinov was now in charge of the LMP2 class in the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan ahead of Martin Plowman in the #35 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan. In the GTE-Pro class it was Stefan Mücke in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 who was pacing the #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR of Romain Dumas, while in the amateur category Piergiuseppe Perazzini was leading in the #55 Ferrari 458 Italia AF Corse ahead of a trio of Porsche 911s.

Just ahead of the hour, second-place man Duval succeeded in posting the fastest lap of the race so far - 3m23.269s - which was very near the lap record as he battled hard to reel on the race leader Treluyer before the Audi #1 got too much of a lead over the rest of the field.

LMP1

1. #1 Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 88 laps (8 stops)
2. #2 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro * 87 laps (7 stops)
3. #3 Gene/Di Grassi/Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro 87 laps (7 stops)

LMP2

1. #26 Rusinov/Martin/Conway G-Drive Racing Oreca 03-Nissan * 82 laps (8 stops)
2. #35 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan * 82 laps (8 stops)
3. #38 Dolan/Turvey/Luhr Jota Sport Zytek-Nissan 82 laps (7 stops)

GTE-Pro

1. #99 Bell/Makowiecki/Senna Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 79 laps (5 stops)
2. #97 Turner/Mucke/Dumbreck Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 * 79 laps (5 stops)
3. #92 Lieb/Lietz/Dumas Porsche AG Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR * 79 laps (5 stops)

GTE-Am

1. #55 Perazzini/Case/O'Young AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia 77 laps (5 stops)
2. #88 Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR * 77 laps (5 stops)
3. #76 Narac/Bourret/Vernay IMSA Performance MATMUT Porsche 911 GT3 RSR * 76 laps (5 stops)

See full Hour 6 times.
Tributes pour in for Allan Simonsen.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Tom Kristensen / Loic Duval / Allan McNish Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Benoit Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audia R18 e-tron quattro
Toyota Racing
Toyota Racing
Toyota Racing 2014 Champions
Toyota Racing 2014 Champions
Podium (l-r)  Dominik Kraihamer / Andrea Belicchi / Fabio Leimer Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One Toyota. Nicolas Prost / Nick Heidfeld / Mathias Beche Rebellion R-One Toyota.
P1 Podium (l-r) Lucas Di Grassi / Loic Duval / Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro, Romain Dumas / Neel Jani / Marc Lieb Porsche AG Porsche 919 Hybrid, Anthony Davidson / Sebastien Buemi Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid.
Allan McNish (GBR)
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Anthony Davidsoni Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Anthony Davidsoni Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Nick Heidfeld Rebellion R-One Toyota.
Emerson Fittipaldi AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia and Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Emerson Fittipaldi AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia and Tom Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro
Lucas Di Grassi Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro

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