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24H Le Mans

Le Mans Sunday Notebook

John Dagys’ notebook from Sunday’s Le Mans Test Day…

Photo: MPS Agency

***Sunday’s second and final session was red flagged with less than five minutes to go when Pastor Maldonado crashed his No. 31 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 Gibson at Indianapolis. The extent of the damage to the car is unknown but is understood to be repairable.

***Maldonado’s co-driver, Nathanel Berton, had topped the LMP2 time sheets prior to the accident.

***Jenson Button, in his Le Mans debut, battled sensor-related issues to his No. 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER in the morning although was able to complete longer runs in the second session. The 2009 Formula One world champion set a best lap of 3:24.002.

***Marco Sorensen and Harrison Newey have both been reprimanded for the incident that led to Sorensen’s heavy crash in the opening session. The two drivers were handed 1-minute stop-and-hold penalties, which is suspended unless a repeat offense occurs, by race stewards for “unsafe maneuver during overtaking.”

***Aston Martin will be forced to revert to a spare Vantage GTE chassis for the race due to the accident, which tore a section of the barrier near Indianapolis and brought the morning session to an early end.

***The wrecked car was seen being loaded onto a AMR transporter bound for the UK late Sunday.

***It was a challenging day for the British outfit, as its GTE-Am class No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE sustained an oil leak after it was forced onto a curb. Mathias Lauda brought the car into pit lane unannounced, resulting in an oil spill and subsequent cleanup.

***A suspension issue for the No. 64 Corvette C7.R of Tommy Milner resulted in limited running. Both of the Pratt & Miller-run entries were pulled to the garage for extended stops to make “necessary fixes” according to a team statement, although they returned to action in the final hour.

***Tristan Vautier turned laps in the No. 23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier JS P217 Gibson on Sunday, in his first experience of Circuit de la Sarthe. The Frenchman, who came straight from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship race in Detroit, is expected to remain on as a reserve driver for the team.

***Drivers from Detroit arrived at Le Mans in various methods. The majority came on one of two chartered flights, including a Gulfstream IV flown by Patrick Lindsey, while a handful of others, such as Ricky Taylor, took commercial flights into Paris and hopped a taxi to the track.

***Both the Team Project 1 and Ebimotors Porsche 911 RSRs, which featured several IMSA drivers, had limited running. A fuel pickup issue sidelined the German squad for most of the morning while the Ebimotors entry completed 25 laps total, with Christina Nielsen getting only a single lap in after her overnight travels.

***All Le Mans rookies or drivers needing to re-qualify, however, completed their minimum ten laps each, with a total of 177 drivers clocking times over the course of the day.

***Multiple teams are due to take part in an optional test on the Le Mans Bugatti Circuit on Tuesday, which will provide running time for freshly rebuilt cars, in the final on-track opportunity prior to Free Practice on race week.

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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