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Corvette Drama Prompts GTE-Pro Lead Change

Corvette loses GTE-Pro lead as both C8.Rs encounter issues on Saturday evening…

Image: FIA WEC

The GTE-Pro class lead in the 24 Hours has changed hands as both Chevrolet Corvette C8.Rs encountered issues with eight hours completed and the dark hours in full flow.

Both Corvette Racing entries, including the leading No. 63 car, suffered mechanical issues in the span of just under an hour which dropped them to the rear of GTE-Pro.

First, Nick Tandy brought the No. 64 car into the garage to clear debris from the wheel arches, followed by a brake change, which dropped it out of the podium positions.

Not much later, Antonio Garcia brought leading No. 63 Corvette into its side of the garage having suffered a left-rear suspension failure and has remained there since, with the car undergoing lengthy repairs.

With both cars spending time in the box, the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Michael Christensen assumed the lead in the class.

The sister Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni moved up to second, with Alessandro Pier Guidi third in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo. Tommy Milner took the No. 64 Corvette back out on track and sat fourth after eight hours.

AF Corse’s No. 52 Ferrari dropped to fifth after Miguel Molina suffered a right-front puncture.

In the battle for the overall lead, the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid moved back in front of its sister car after losing the lead due to a slow stop in hour seven.

Sebastien Buemi was able to capture the lead after taking the car over from Ryo Hirakawa as the No. 7 Toyota endured a sl0wer-than-usual tire change when Kamui Kobayashi came in to hand over to Mike Conway.

Buemi briefly headed the field ahead of Conway, before the Briton was able to close down and surpass his teammate into the Daytona Chicane.

With 16 hours to go, Conway held a narrow lead over Buemi, in the lone two cars still on the lead lap.

Glickenhaus has also hit drama as the squad’s best-running car spun into the Tertre Rouge exit barriers with Olivier Pla at the wheel. It too was brought into the garage to undergo repairs, but has since rejoined the race.

That made the No. 709 Glickenhaus 007 Pipo the American team’s highest-placed car, running third overall in the hands of Franck Mailleux but a lap down on Toyota.

JOTA continued to lead the LMP2 category, with Antonio Felix da Costa out front aboard the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson.

The Portuguese ace led from the No. 9 Prema Oreca of Robert Kubica, with the sister JOTA car driven by Jonathan Aberdein third.

Fabio Scherer held fourth place for Inter Europol Competition with the No. 31 Team WRT Oreca of Rene Rast fifth and on a charge back after incurring a penalty in the opening hours of the race.

GTE-Am saw the No. 79 WeatherTech Racing Porsche continue to lead with Julien Andlauer at the wheel, leading over the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton car of Sebastian Priaulx.

TF Sport’s Henrique Chaves held third ahead of David Pittard for NorthWest AMR while the No. 99 Absolute Racing Porsche of Alessio Picariello rounded out the top five.

While three of the Proton Competition-operated Porsches run in the first five positions in the class, the German squad’s No. 93 car driven by Michael Fassbender is in the garage after a crash at the kink before Indianapolis.

The Hollywood filmstar made contact with the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari of Vincent Abril, which caused the Porsche to spin off the track and hit the barriers.

Abril was given a one-minute stop-and-go penalty for causing the collision.

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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