Le Mans 24 Hours: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

Le Mans H8: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night fallsLe Mans H8: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

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Le Mans H8: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez leads into the night after eight hours of racing at the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, as the second Toyota lost a lap due to brake issues.

The 88th edition of the race was interrupted after 5 hours 45 minutes when Alexander West lost control of his GTE Am #52 AF Corse Ferrari and hit the outside wall in Porsche Curves. The incident prompted a prolonged safety car period, in which the pack was split into three different trains.

The 30-minute safety car period brought the two leading Toyotas back together, the #8 Toyota TS050 of Kazuki Nakajima leading the #7 machine of Jose Maria Lopez at the restart by nine seconds and the privateer Rebellion car one lap down.

In the LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am classes the top three cars were separated from the rest of the field because they caught a different safety car train. That proved particularly costly for the #95 GTE Pro Aston Martin, which lost 1m30s on its #87 sister car and both AF Corse Ferraris.

The safety cars were soon sent onto the Circuit de la Sarthe a second time following a big crash for Tristan Gommendy in the #30 Duqueine ORECA at the first Mulsanne chicane, and then a third time to allow the marshals at the site of the crash to safely return to their posts.

Toyota used the lengthy barrier repairs to bring in its #8 Toyota TS050 for a full front-right brake change. The car driven by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley had been suffering from overheating brakes for much of the race, but efforts to clean the brake ducts hadn’t solved the issue.

Nakajima was sent back out again in third place, closely behind the #1 Rebellion and a full lap plus two minutes behind the leading #7 sister of Jose Maria Lopez, who shares the car with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway.

A pitstop for Rebellion’s Norman Nato released Nakajima into second place, but the #8 crew still faces a large task to bridge the six-minute gap to the leader.

The second #3 Rebellion followed another lap behind with Louis Deletraz at the wheel. The #4 ByKolles was stuck in the pits for repairs after its rear wing fell off in the Esses when Bruno Spengler was in the car, with the Canadian making contact with the wall.

In LMP2 erstwhile leader Gabriel Aubry was one of several drivers hitting trouble during the interruptions, grinding to a halt at Porsche Curves in his #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA. Aubry ultimately managed to limp back to the pits, but the entry is now out of contention for the class win.

United Autosports led the way in the #32 ORECA driven by Alex Brundle, which was driven to the front earlier by his team-mate Job van Uitert.

Brundle led the #26 G-Drive ORECA of Jean-Eric Vergne by a second at the eight-hour mark, with the second #22 United Autosports car of Filipe Albuquerque and the #38 Jota ORECA of Anthony Davidson jostling for third position.

James Allen managed to drag the #39 Graff Oreca back up to fifth after an off for team-mate Vincent Capillaire.

Alex Lynn headed the GTE Pro field in the #97 Aston Martin, defending a slender lead on the #51 AF Corse of Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Le Mans H8: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night fallsLe Mans H8: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

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Le Mans H8: Lopez leads in #7 Toyota as night falls

The #71 AF Corse lost a minute during the second safety car period and sits in third in the hands of Miguel Molina, with the second Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim a further 1m30s in arrears.

Porsche was left baffled by a lack of pace which meant it is not a factor at the front in this year’s race. The #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Richard Lietz is seventh in class, only ahead of the #92 sister car which lost over 12 laps due to a power steering failure.

In GTE Am the leading #75 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Andrea Piccini also suffered a power steering issues and was stuck in the garage at the eight-hour mark.

Nicklas Nielsen inherited the class lead in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari, closely followed by Charlie Eastwood in the #90 TF Sport Aston, Ross Gunn in the #98 Aston and Matteo Cairoli in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche.

Le Mans 24 Hours – positions after 8 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 123
2 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Hartley 121 + 2 Laps
3 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Senna, Nato, Menezes 121 + 28.938s
4 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Dumas, Berthon, Deletraz 120 + 3 Laps
5 LMP2 #32 Oreca Owen, Brundle, Van Uitert 117 + 6 Laps
6 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Vergne, Jensen 117 + 0.390s
7 LMP2 #38 Oreca Davidson, Da Costa, Gonzalez 116 + 7 Laps
8 LMP2 #22 Oreca Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 116 + 0.225s
9 LMP2 #31 Oreca Jamin, Canal, Vaxiviere 116 + 3m15.755s
10 LMP2 #39 Oreca Allen, Capillaire, Milesi 115 + 8 Laps
11 LMP2 #50 Oreca Calderon, Florsch, Visser 115 + 1m31.105s
12 LMP2 #27 Oreca Hedman, Hanley, Van der Zande 115 + 1m33.468s
13 LMP2 #21 Oreca Montoya, Buret, Rojas 115 + 3m16.600s
14 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Belicchi, Sernagiotto 114 + 9 Laps
15 LMP2 #28 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Bradley 114 + 15.014s
16 LMP2 #17 Oreca Pilet, Tilley, Kennard 114 + 1m33.760s
17 LMP2 #36 Alpine Negrao, Ragues, Laurent 114 + 1m43.221s
18 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Binder, Isaakyan 114 + 1m47.663s
19 LMP2 #25 Oreca Falb, Trummer, McMurry 114 + 1m52.427s
20 LMP2 #42 Oreca Lapierre, Borga, Coigny 114 + 2m43.687s
21 LMP2 #29 Oreca Van Eerd, Van der Garde, De Vries 113 + 10 Laps
22 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Tincknell 109 + 14 Laps
23 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 109 + 1.595s
24 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Molina, Bird 109 + 1m11.866s
25 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Westbrook 109 + 2m42.013s
26 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Pla, Bourdais, Gounon 108 + 15 Laps
27 LMP2 #24 Oreca Grist, Kapadia, Wells 108 + 22.416s
28 GTE Pro #63 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Segal 108 + 56.879s
29 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Bruni, Lietz, Makowiecki 108 + 57.532s
30 LMP2 #35 Ligier Yamanaka, Foster, Merhi 107 + 16 Laps
31 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Nielsen 107 + 2m14.784s
32 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Eastwood, Adam 107 + 2m21.734s
33 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Gunn, Farfus 107 + 2m23.275s
34 GTE Am #56 Porsche Perfetti, Ten Voorde, Cairoli 107 + 2m24.504s
35 GTE Am #77 Porsche Ried, Pera, Campbell 106 + 17 Laps
36 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Piovanetti, Negri Jr., Ledogar 106 + 30.465s
37 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Heistand, Root, Magnussen 106 + 1m42.720s
38 GTE Am #99 Porsche Inthraphuvasak, Legeret, Andlauer 106 + 1m53.546s
39 LMP2 #16 Aurus Cullen, Jarvis, Tandy 105 + 18 Laps
40 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Watson 105 + 14m19.161s
41 GTE Am #78 Porsche Felbermayr, Beretta, Van Splunteren 105 + 15m35.770s
42 GTE Am #85 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 105 + 17m13.777s
43 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Chen, Blomqvist, Gomes 104 + 19 Laps
44 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Ruberti 104 + 29.985s
45 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Grimes, Mowlem, Hollings 104 + 3m21.307s
46 GTE Am #89 Porsche Brooks, Piguet, Laskaratos 104 + 3m36.402s
47 LMP2 #37 Oreca Tung, Aubry, Stevens 103 + 20 Laps
48 GTE Am #75 Ferrari Mastronardi, Cressoni, Piccini 103 + 29m24.896s
49 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 103 + 48m23.735s
50 GTE Am #57 Porsche Keating, Fraga, Bleekemolen 102 + 21 Laps
51 LMP2 #30 Oreca Hirschi, Tereschenko, Gommendy 100 + 23 Laps
52 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Kimura, Abril, Cozzolino 99 + 24 Laps
53 LMP1 #4 ENSO Dillmann, Spengler, Webb 97 + 26 Laps
54 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 97 + 1h08m50.363s
55 LMP2 #33 Oreca Yamashita, Patterson, Fjordbach 84 + 39 Laps
56 GTE Am #52 Ferrari Ulrich, Gorig, West 80 + 43 Laps
57 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Scott, Griffin 78 + 45 Laps
58 GTE Am #88 Porsche Preining, Bastien, De Leener 47 + 76 Laps
59 LMP2 #11 Ligier Tambay, Maris, D’Ansembourg 26 + 97 Laps

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