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24H Le Mans

Ferrari Wins Highly Competitive, Rain-Soaked 24H Le Mans

Nielsen, Fuoco, Molina come out on top in highly-competitive French endurance classic…

Photo: ACO

Ferrari claimed back-to-back 24 Hours of Le Mans victories following a highly competitive and rain-impacted classic that saw more than a quarter of the race run behind the safety car and a record nine cars finish on the lead lap.

Nicklas Nielsen survived a scare with the right-side door of his No. 50 AF Corse-run Ferrari 499P to take a 14.221-second win over the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Jose Maria Lopez following a late-race duel between the two Hypercar manufacturers.

The Dane was forced to pit from the lead with 1 hour and 42 minutes to go due to the car’s right-side door becoming ajar, which initially appeared to put the Ferrari off-sequence.

However, Nielsen made it to the finish without needing an additional stop for energy ahead of Lopez’s No. 7 Toyota that he shared with Kamui Kobayashi and Nyck de Vries.

It marked Nielsen and co-drivers Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina’s first Le Mans overall triumphs after the sister No. 51 car won last year.

This edition of twice-around-the-clock enduro was the shortest in terms of distance since 1995, with the winning No. 50 Ferrari completing only 311 laps due to a lengthy four-and-a-half hour safety car period overnight for rain, along with on-and-off showers that impacted more than half of the running.

The No. 51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi crossed the line in third, despite having faced a five-second time penalty added to its penultimate stop for contact with the No. 8 Toyota of Brendon Hartley with two hours to go.

Hartley’s Toyota spun around as a result and dropped back to sixth at the time but managed to finish fifth in the hands of Sebastien Buemi.

Pier Guidi, who shared driving duties with fellow 2023 race winners James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi, held off a hard-charging Laurens Vanthoor for the final step of the podium, with the margin less than 1.2 seconds at the line.

Vanthoor, in the No. 6 Penske Porsche that he drove the majority of the race with pole-sitter Kevin Estre, was fourth in the car also shared by Andre Lotterer, who logged less than four hours of drive time.

Buemi, Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa completed the top-five, ahead of the sixth-placed No. 5 Penske Porsche of Matt Campbell, Fred Makowiecki and Michael Christensen, which bounced back from a drive-through penalty in the 20th hour for a slow zone procedure.

The No. 2 Chip Ganassi Racing-run Cadillac V-Series.R of Alex Palou, Earl Bamber and Alex Lynn faded to seventh after leading portions of the final stages of the race while initially being on an alternate strategy.

This was due to the race’s third safety car period that saw some cars, including the Ferraris and No. 2 Cadillac, stay out.

The pair of Hertz Team JOTA Porsches were next up, led by the freshly built No. 12 entry of Norman Nato, Callum Ilott and Will Stevens that was shaken down on the Le Mans airfield on Friday evening.

The Jenson Button, Phil Hanson and Oliver Rasmussen-driven No. 38 JOTA Porsche was ninth.

Iron Lynx, meanwhile, completed the top-ten following a solid Le Mans debut for the Lamborghini SC63, finishing just two laps behind.

Daniil Kvyat in the No. 63 Lamborghini edged out Stoffel Vandoorne, who finished 11th in the No. 94 Peugeot 9X8, ahead of the sister No. 93 car, which had two spins, including an off at Indianapolis in the hands of Nico Mueller while under a safety car.

The No. 19 Lamborghini, which like the sister car, also had a relatively trouble-free run to come home 13th, while the Isotta Fraschini Tipo6-C enjoyed a quiet race en route to 14th place.

An accident for Pipo Derani at Indianapolis in damp conditions during the 19th hour resulted in a lengthy stop for repairs for the No. 311 Action Express Racing Cadillac, after initially dropping off the lead lap and a previous trip through the gravel for Jack Aitken overnight.

The defending IMSA GTP championship-winning team was 29th overall.

Proton Competition’s Porsche, which initially lost four laps due to an issue with the door, suffered driveshaft failure late in the running that dropped it to a 45th place result.

Six Hypercars failed to finish the race.

The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari retired with electrical issues with four hours to go, while a punctured oil tank forced Sebastien Bourdais to stop on track and limp his No. 3 CGR Cadillac back to the pits while under the race’s third safety car period.

It came after a race-ending accident for Felipe Nasr in the No. 4 Porsche at Indianapolis.

BMW, in its return to Le Mans, had a race to forget, with the No. 15 Team WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 having crashed out after Dries Vanthoor had contact from Robert Kubica on the Mulsanne Straight in the seventh hour.

Kubica was assessed a 30-second stop-and-hold penalty for the incident, which took the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari out of the lead at the time.

The No. 20 BMW Art Car, meanwhile, crashed in the hands of Robin Frijns in the second hour, although the car returned to complete the final laps, although was not classified.

Both Alpine A424s dropped out with engine failures within the span of an hour of each other early in the running.

The No. 36 Alpine of Ferdinand Habsburg was the category’s first retirement in Hour 5, while Nico Lapierre brought the No. 35 entry to the garage one hour later.

RESULTS: 24 Hours of Le Mans

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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