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24H Le Mans

Isaakyan, SMP Find Trouble in Hour 8

No. 17 SMP BR1 crashes from fourth, Rebellion takes non-hybrid 1-2 as Toyota leads…

Image: ACO

Matevos Isaakyan has spun into the tire barriers in the Porsche Curves from fourth overall while Toyota Gazoo Racing continues to hold a dominant 1-2 at the front of the field as the 24 Hours of Le Mans heads to its ninth hour.

Isaakyan lost control of his SMP Racing-entered No. 17 BR Engineering BR1 AER and backed into the tire wall, sustaining heavy damage to the rear of the car.

The Russian driver exited the stricken BR1 under his own power and set to work making repairs with an eye on limping back to the pit lane, but abandoned his efforts soon after when a fire started in the engine bay.

Kamui Kobayashi is out front overall with Toyota still holding a 1-2 lead with the pair of hybrid cars separated by 3.5 seconds.

Thomas Laurent is the best-placed non-hybrid LMP1 driver for the No. 3 Rebellion Racing crew, running two laps down, while Andre Lotterer moved into fourth as a result of Isaakyan’s crash.

Jean-Eric Vergne is back in the LMP2 class leading G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson which has held onto the position for most of the race.

However, the TDS Racing-run car is currently under investigation for a pit stop violation.

Will Stevens and Panis Barthez Competition run in second position, behind the orange and black G-Drive car by almost two minutes.

Porsche still has a hold on the GTE-Pro category with three of its Porsche 911 RSRs running in the top three positions, led by Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 92 Manthey entry.

Dempsey-Proton Racing has been out front in GTE-Am for several hours with Julian Andlauer currently behind the wheel of its No. 77 Porsche.

Jake Kilshaw contributed to this report.

Ryan Myrehn is an Indianapolis-based journalist and sportscaster, covering IMSA and Pirelli World Challenge. Myrehn, a graduate of DePauw University, is also the host of Sportscar365's “Double Stint” Podcast.

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