2022 24 Hours of Le Mans | 6H - #7 Toyota leads, Alpine woe; Jota dominate LMP2

The Toyota Gazoo Racing Hypercars continued to control the pace out front in the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans as the race reached the quarter-distance mark with surprisingly little disruption to disturb the momentum.
#38 Jota - Antonio Felix Da Costa, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Will Stevens
#38 Jota - Antonio Felix Da Costa, Rodolfo Gonzalez, Will Stevens

The #7 entry - which was in front at the three-hour mark - ceded the lead to the sister #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid soon afterwards as Brendon Hartley overhauled Jose Maria Lopez. 

However, after Hartley handed over to new Toyota signing Ryo Hurakawa, the 28-year old - who has only started two 24 Hours of Le Mans back in 2016 and 2017 in the LMP2 class - was leapfrogged by far more experienced countryman Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 car.

Nevertheless, the Toyotas continue to lap in relative proximity to one another, split by seven seconds to suggest they are managing their pace as the race enters nightfall. 

Glickenhaus continue to circulate reliably and with solid pace, with both cars still on the lead lap in third and fourth (#708 leading #709).

However, the Hypercar battle has been reduced to four cars after Alpine dropped back down the order with two lengthy stops to fix intermittent technical issues. The French car is now running 28th overall, seven laps off the lead.

In LMP2, the #38 Jota Sport stretched its advantage with Will Stevens building on Antonio Felix da Costa’s impressive first stint. Rodolfo Gonzalez is now in the car, a lap clear of the fight for second place led by Cool Racing.

With the LMP2 cars starting to slip out of sync in terms of pit-stops, at the turn of the hour the Danish team had shuffled their way up to second, though will likely slip behind the Team Penske entry. The American team is locked in a fight with the Prema Orlen car, while the second Jota entry follows in fourth.

Just as in LMP2, the GTE Pro class lead is unchanged with the #63 Corvette of Nicky Catsburg, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor two laps clear of the #92 Porsche in second and the #64 Corvette in third.

WeatherTech Racing consolidated its lead in GTE Am too, almost four minutes ahead of the second place Northwest Aston Martin and Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche. There was disappointment for JMW Motorsport however after power steering issues forced it into the garage to drop it well out of podium contention.

With six hours down, all 62 starters are still classified as running though the Duqueine LMP2 car is circulating 20 laps off the lead after a lengthy pit-stop, while the Vector Sport LMP2 has also dropped down the order after an off that resulted in front-end damage.

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