A series of accidents and stoppages severely impacted the running of Free Practice 3 for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which saw a total of two red flags and numerous Slow Zones and Full Course Yellows.
The LMP2 class Oreca 07 Gibsons from IDEC Sport and DragonSpeed were among the heaviest hit, with separate accidents by Dwight Merriman and Juan Pablo Montoya at the entrance to the Dunlop Curves that resulted in lengthy red flag periods for track cleanup and barrier repairs.
Merriman lost control of his No. 17 IDEC entry near the end of the opening hour while Montoya had a nearly identical incident one hour later.
At least ten other cars either had incidents over the course of the three-hour session, including the No. 65 IDEC Sport Oreca (Patrick Pilet), three off-course excursions for the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca (Guido van der Garde/Frits van Eerd) and the No. 20 High Class Racing entry of Marco Sorensen.
The No. 1 Richard Mille Racing Oreca of Sophia Floersch stopped on track with engine issues, while Antonio Garcia had an uncharacteristic off at the Porsche Curves, damaging the rear of the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
Rene Binder’s No. 30 Duqueine Team Oreca was also seen stopped aside the track at one point while Ollie Hancock had an off at Indianapolis in the No. 95 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid even found issues with Kazuki Nakajima spinning off at Indianapolis and slamming into the barriers with less than 30 minutes to go to bring out another FCY.
Nakajima brought the car back to the pits, without a rear wing, after getting towed out of the gravel by a crane.
The Japanese driver’s teammate Mike Conway was second quickest overall thanks to a 3:28.064 lap time set early in the running aboard the No. 7 Toyota.
It came prior to an electrical gremlin for the car, which briefly stopped on track for a systems reset.
Alpine Quickest Thanks to Late Flyer by Lapierre
A late flyer by Nico Lapierre put Alpine Endurance Team atop the overall time charts in the Alpine A480 Gibison’s fastest lap of the week so far, a 3:26.594.
After sitting out the opening hour due to undergoing engine and gearbox changes, the pair of Glickenhaus 007 entries ended up fourth and 28th quickest overall.
The No. 709 Glickenhaus was reported to have had engine-related issues late in the session.
LMP2 was led by the No. 38 JOTA Sport Oreca of Antonio Felix Da Costa, who laid down a 3:30.507 time, demoting the pair of United Autosports entries to second and third in class.
Porsche continued its mark in the production-based ranks with the No. 92 entry quickest in GTE-Pro, leading a 1-2-3 for the German manufacturer.
GTE-Am, meanwhile, saw a Porsche sweep of the top four positions, led by the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing entry of Julien Andlauer.
Next up is Hyperpole, which is set to run from 9-9:30 p.m. CET (3-3:30 p.m. ET).
RESULTS: Free Practice 3