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24H Le Mans

Lotterer Snatches Lead after Second Hour at Le Mans

Andre Lotterer takes Audi into lead after second hour…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Andre Lotterer took the lead on Lap 30 of the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and has the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro up front at the end of two hours.

Timo Bernhard had led in the red No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, but lost the lead to Lotterer after the second round of pit stops.

Bernhard led following a 22-minute safety car period to remove the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR from the Mulsanne straight, which Porsche Team Manthey indicated was a drivetrain issue that put the car out of the race.

Shortly after the restart, the star turn came from the three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner, Lotterer, in the No. 7 Audi.

Lotterer completed a two-in-one pass of Neel Jani in the No. 18 Porsche, then Bernhard, to take Audi’s first lead of the race. He pitted at the one hour and 39 minute mark for his second stop of the race.

Both Porsches pitted later, with Bernhard’s coming a full eight minutes later after Lap 27 of the race. Bernhard exited ahead of Lotterer and Jani, but lost the lead a couple laps later.

The lead changed hands in LMP2, with the polesitting No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan back ahead of the identical chassis fielded by Thiriet by TDS Racing.

Nicki Thiim retained the GTE-Pro lead in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage V8, while the best battle in class came for fourth.

Polesitter Richie Stanaway in the yellow-and-red No. 99 Aston Martin and the sole remaining factory Corvette, the No. 64 Corvette C7.R driven by Oliver Gavin were frequently side-by-side in a battle for fourth in class.

That occurred before James Calado got them both for fourth just before the end of the two-hour mark in the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia.

Andrea Bertolini and Pedro Lamy exchanged the GTE-Am lead in the second hour, with Bertolini still up front at the end of the two-hour mark as Lamy was again first to pit in class from the lead.

Two Americans had separate spins but resumed; Tracy Krohn recovered from a spin at the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight in his No. 40 Krohn Racing Ligier JS P2 Judd, while Ed Brown resumed after a spin at Mulsanne corner in the No. 31 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 Honda.

However, shortly thereafter, Krohn made contact with the other ESM Ligier JS P2 Honda, the No. 30 car driven by Scott Sharp, just before the two-hour mark.

Krohn was then stuck in the gravel, while Sharp was able to resume after the contact. It produced a slow zone between Zone 10 and Zone 11 on the 8.4-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.


Tony DiZinno (@tonydizinno) is Sportscar365's North American Editor, focusing on coverage of the IMSA-sanctioned championships as well as Pirelli World Challenge. DiZinno also contributes to and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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