The long-time leading #7 Toyota looks to be out of the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours after hitting problems in a dramatic tenth hour, promoting the #1 Porsche out front.

Mike Conway had just handed over to Kamui Kobayashi when the Japanese driver couldn't get the TS050 Hybrid up to speed following a lengthy safety car period to clear gravel spread on the track by a spinning Ford GT.

Gallingly for Kobayashi, it occurred just as he was starting another lap, forcing him to spend the lap coasting at little more than 65kmh as the revs bounced off the limiter.

He eventually pulled over on the Mulsanne Straight, with the team revealing a suspected clutch failure to be the issue. At the top of the hour, Kobayashi had managed to get the car going to coast it back to the pit lane but it is already two laps adrift of the lead.

The drama comes after the #7 car - which has led almost the entire race - had just moved two minutes clear of the #1 Porsche after the combination of safety car timing coupled to a spin for Neel Jani as he entered the pit lane swelled the advantage between them.

However, with Nick Tandy in the car, he quickly caught and passed the ailing Toyota to move into a comfortable position, a lap clear of the #9 Toyota which is now up to second position but not on the same pace as the new leader.

It compounds a desperate couple of hours for Toyota after the #8 car was forced into the pit lane for more than two hours to replace an MGU after pitting from second place. The car is now back on track but 29 laps off the lead.
s led almost the entire race - had just moved two minutes clear of the #1 Porsche after the combination of safety car timing coupled to a spin for Neel Jani as he entered the pit lane swelled the advantage between them.

However, with Nick Tandy in the car, he quickly caught and passed the ailing Toyota to move into a comfortable position, a lap clear of the #9 Toyota which is now up to second position but not on the same pace as the new leader.

 

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