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Lead Changes as Virtual 24H Le Mans Resumes after Red Flag

Virtual 24H Le Mans resumes after server issue stoppage bunches the overall leaders up…

Photo: Xynamic

The virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans returned to action and reached one-quarter distance after being red-flagged for a server issue at the end of the fifth hour.

The near hour-long interruption changed the order at the front of both classes, with 2 Seas Motorsport taking the overall lead from Team Redline and R8G Esports moving ahead of Porsche Esports Team’s No. 93 car in GTE.

Similar scenarios played out in both categories as the respective leading cars pitted shortly before the red flag while some of their rivals stayed out for an extra lap.

The reset enabled the cars that hadn’t pitted to receive a new set of tires and a full load of fuel for when the race returned to green just before six hours were met.

This enabled 2 Seas Motorsport’s Oreca 07 driven by Oliver Rowland, Isa Bin Abdulla Al-Khalifa, Devin Braune and Rory MacDuff to overturn the net 20-second deficit to the Redline car that had existed before the server reset.

Redline took the lead midway through the third hour courtesy of Atze Kerkhof, who had taken over the No. 20 Oreca from Formula 1 driver Max Verstappen.

Kerkhof proceeded to build up a healthy lead over the No. 16 Veloce Esports Oreca over the next hour.

2 Seas Motorsport moved up to second midway through Hour 4 when Braune, as part of a quadruple stint, found a way past Veloce’s Tomek Poradzisz into Indianapolis.

Shortly after this move, Kerkhof handed the Redline car over to Lando Norris, who completed a double stint before pitting to swap for Greger Huttu just before the red flag.

Opening-hour leader E-Team WRT lost its place at the front in the second hour when Kelvin van der Linde’s internet connection expired.

This put Veloce’s Stoffel Vandoorne into the lead for a brief spell, before Kerkhof moved ahead when the No. 16 crew put Poradzidsz behind the wheel.

At the close of six hours, 2 Seas driver MacDuff held a narrow one-second advantage over five-time iRacing world champion Huttu, with ByKolles Burst Esport’s Jesper Pedersen eight seconds back in third.

The pole-sitting ByKolles car recovered from its early drive-through penalty thanks to an impressive set of position-gaining stints from touring car ace Esteban Guerrieri.

Sim racer Fabrizio Gobbi was fifth after six hours for Toyota Gazoo Racing ARG, ahead of Vandoorne for Veloce and Rebellion Williams Esport driver Michael Romanidis.

After retiring from the race in the second hour due to running out of fuel, the FA/RB Allinsports Oreca returned to the track at the restart, meaning that all 50 cars are still in the race.

Corvette, Porsche Crews Tussle in GTE Class

R8G Esports and Porsche Esports Team exchanged the lead in an entertaining GTE lead battle that continued after the red flag restart.

The Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche led the first two hours with Loek Hartog driving, but the No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR was overtaken right after the first driver swaps.

Both Erhan Jajovski in the R8G Esports Chevrolet Corvette C7.R and Tommy Ostgaard in the No. 93 factory Porsche overtook Hartog’s co-pilot Michael Francesconi before setting off in tandem for a tense lead duel that lasted half an hour.

Ostgaard’s patience in sitting behind Jajovski was rewarded midway through hour three when the Norwegian out-braked his rival into Mulsanne corner.

But Jajovski responded a couple of laps later, pulling off the same move, only for Ostgaard to power back past on the run down to Indianapolis.

After that scrap, Ostgaard enlarged the gap over the R8G Corvette and this continued when Ayhancan Güven took over the controls up against Mathias Beche.

However, the red flag enabled Beche to take the lead while the No. 63 factory Corvette jumped up to second with Güven back in third courtesy of his pit stop timing.

However, Güven quickly restored the original order at the restart, getting past Catsburg at Mulsanne before diving down the inside of Beche at the right-handed first turn to return the No. 93 Porsche to the front.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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