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Porsche Closes in on Toyota at Hour 6 as Risi Cleanup Continues

Lotterer chasing down Sarrazin at Hour 6 as clean-up continues…

The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid is chasing down the race-leading No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid at the six-hour mark of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which has seen lengthy Slow Zones deployed after a large accident for the Risi Competizione Ferrari.

After taking over from Nick Tandy with a 45 second-deficit to Stephane Sarrazin’s No. 7 Toyota, Andre Lotterer proceeded to steadily chip away at Sarrazin’s advantage, which stood at 26 seconds on the hour mark.

The No. 8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima is also within striking distance, 30 seconds off the lead after a difficult stint for Anthony Davidson which saw the car fall over a minute behind Kobayashi.

The third Toyota driven by Yuji Kunimoto was forced to make an unscheduled stop to repair a loose door and sits over four minutes adrift in fourth.

The lead in LMP2 has changed several times between the two Vaillante Rebellion teammates, with the No. 31 Oreca 07-Gibson of Bruno Senna making best use of the Slow Zones to emerge from the last round of pitstops with a 90-second buffer over Nelson Piquet Jr in the sister No. 13 car.

After Thomas Laurent lost time with an overshoot at Indianapolis which required a nose change, Ho-Pin Tung has recovered the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca to third, passing the No. 35 Signatech-Alpine A470-Gibson of Pierre Ragues.

Mathieu Vaxivierre ran 12th in the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca at the turn of the hour, but was due to serve a seven-minute stop-go penalty for causing the second major incident involving an LMP2 and GTE car in the race so far.

Having passed Miguel Molina’s No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE on the approach to the first chicane on the Mulsanne Straight, Vaxiviere moved left to take his line but clipped Pierre Kaffer’s Risi Ferrari, which was sent hard into the barriers.

Kaffer emerged from the car unhurt, but the Risi car was destroyed. The accident also resulted in barrier damage that took almost an hour to repair.

Aston Martin continues to lead the GTE-Pro class with Darren Turner now behind the wheel of the No. 95 Vantage GTE, 25 seconds up on Andy Priaulx in the No. 67 Ford.

On his first outing for Corvette Racing at Le Mans since 2009, Marcel Fassler had passed Alessandro Pier Guidi’s Ferrari for third and was piling the pressure on Priaulx until he pitted shortly before the hour mark, promoting Stefan Muecke in the No. 66 Ford, which was delayed by a puncture early in the race.

The No. 98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana enjoys a 15 second advantage in the GTE-Am ranks over Rob Smith’s JMW Motorsport Ferrari, but has been placed under investigation for pitlane speeding.

Salih Yoluc runs third in the TF Sport Aston Martin ahead of Cooper MacNeil, who is coming to the end of a double stint in the No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, and Christian Reid’s Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche.

James Newbold (@James_Newbold) is a UK-based freelance motorsport journalist. A graduate of Politics and International Relations, James is also the editor of Autosport Performance.

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