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24H Le Mans

Porsche Still Leads Le Mans With Just Two Hours Left

Porsche controls race; all three Audis hit trouble…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

The No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Nico Hülkenberg, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy is still on course for Porsche’s 17th overall Le Mans victory.

With just two hours remaining in the 2015 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans the only rival for the No. 19 Porsche is the No. 17 sister car of Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard, which is a lap down on the leader.

All three Audi Sport Team Joest cars have had issues, which has resulted in the No. 9 Audi R18 e-tron quattro dropping behind the first of the two Toyota TS040 Hybrids. The best placed Audi is currently the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Benoit Tréluyer.

The No. 9 Audi, which had been reported with hybrid issues earlier in the race, made a 17-minute long stop to replace the front left driveshaft, the No. 8 lost time when the Audi crew had to replace the engine cover, while the No. 7 Audi also had to come in to change the engine cover.

Despite the issues the No. 7 Audi is still the fastest car on track and remains in third place. With a fastest lap of 3:17.475 André Lotterer broke the Le Mans lap record on lap 337.

Nicolas Lapierre scared the KCMG pit crew and his fellow drivers with two hours and 45 minutes remaining. The Frenchman went straight at Indianapolis and had to be pushed back by the marshals.

Fortunately nothing was wrong with the car that led from the beginning and soon the Oreca 05 Nissan was back on track, the gap to the second placed G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan now down to just 35 seconds.

At the end of the 22nd hour the gap between the KCMG Oreca and the No. 38 Jota Sport Gibson 015S Nissan was just over a minute and a half, with the G-Drive Racing car in third place.

AF Corse leads GTE-Pro with its No. 51 Ferrari 458 Italia, driven by Toni Vilander, Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella. The gap to the second placed No. 64 Corvette C7.R was just over half a minute at the hour. AF Corse’s second Ferrari, the No. 71 car, is a distant third.

In GTE-Am the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage continues to lead, ahead of the No. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari, which is two laps behind the Vantage. Dempsey – Proton Racing’s Patrick Long and Scuderia Corsa’s Townsend Bell were in a battle for third, but Bell spun the Ferrari out of Mulsanne Corner, allowing Long to hold on to third for the moment.

Marcel ten Caat (@marceltencaat) is a contributor to Sportscar365 and other publications including

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