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24H Le Mans

G-Drive Secures LMP2 Honors

Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov, Andrea Pizzitola lead 23.5 hours in LMP2…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

G-Drive Racing took a commanding LMP2 class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola all taking their maiden class wins in the French endurance classic.

The TDS Racing-run G-Drive car inherited the class lead during the opening hour and never looked back, giving ORECA its fourth consecutive win at Le Mans.

Jean-Eric Vergne took the car to the line with a two-lap lead over the Signatech Alpine Matmut entry of Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet in the Alpine-badged Oreca.

The Russian-backed entry finished fifth overall and 19 laps off the overall winner.

As well as being the first Le Mans class win for the drivers, the G-Drive brand and the Xavier Combet-led TDS squad also notched their first triumphs in the race.

Meanwhile, Graff-SO24 completed the podium with its No. 39 Oreca driven by Tristan Gommendy, Vincent Capillaire and Jonathan Hirschi.

Gommendy survived a late-race charge from Loic Duval who attempted to put the other TDS car onto the bottom step of the podium during the final few minutes.

IDEC Sport Racing started from pole but retired with gearbox problems late in the race. 

The No. 48 IDEC Sport and the No. 31 DragonSpeed Orecas were the only other cars to lead the class, both of which had brief stints out front during the first 30 minutes of the race.

The DragonSpeed car finished seventh after a string of problems including losing a wheel in the second hour and a puncture on Sunday morning.

United Autosports had the best-placed Ligier JS P217 Gibson in fifth.

The No. 32 Anglo-American-entered car had a puncture in the penultimate hour, while Juan Pablo Montoya went off track at Indianapolis earlh in the race, both of which delayed the car.

United Autosports was forced to retire its sister Ligier from top-five contention when Paul di Resta crashed hard at the Porsche Curves late on Sunday morning.

Panis Barthez Competition had the other strong-running Ligier but lost 70 minutes when Will Stevens had to bring the No. 23 car into the garage with clutch problems.

The car went back out on track but had lost several laps and eventually finished 11th in class.

Jackie Chan DC Racing’s most successful entry was the all-Malaysian lineup of Weiron Tan, Nabil Jeffri and Jazeman Jaafar in the No. 37 Oreca.

The team’s No. 34 Ligier, one of the two auto-invites from the Asian Le Mans Series and run by OAK Racing, retired during the night with an engine failure.

Ricky Taylor, David Heinemeier Hansson and Come Ledogar were amongst the favorite driver lineups heading into the race.

Along with the IDEC Sport, No. 22 United Autosports, No. 40 G-Drive and Algarve Pro Racing cars, it was one of just five in the 20-car class to retire.

Racing Team Nederland was the highest-placed Dallara team by avoiding major problems while the other P217 Gibsons of Cetilar Villorba Corse and SMP Racing both dropped back with mechanical issues.

The all-Dutch lineup of Jan Lammers, Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd finished eighth overall in the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara.

Villorba Corse, which rebuilt its car after a heavy crash for Giorgio Sernagiotto during qualifying, also had a crash during Hour 16, while SMP suffered repeated steering problems for much of the race. 

RESULTS: 24H Le Mans

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

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