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Tandy Out Front after Halfway at Le Mans

Tandy out front in third Porsche at halfway mark in Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

A Porsche leads halfway at the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Nick Tandy pacing the field in the No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid by more than a minute over a pair of chasing Audi R18 e-tron quattros.

Tandy drove a quintuple stint of nearly three hours after taking over the car from Nico Hulkenberg, and made up for a reduced first stint in the car, which was cut short due to a puncture. Tandy handed over to Earl Bamber in the 13th hour.

The Nos. 9 and 7 Audis ran consistently well behind the Porsche, with Marco Bonanomi and Andre Lotterer, the two starting drivers, back in that car.

Following its penalty assessed for overtaking under yellow, the pace-setting No. 17 Porsche lost ground to be at the tail end of the lead lap, with the No. 8 Audi and No. 18 Porsche more than a lap down after separate incidents during the race, a nose change for the Audi and slow puncture for the Porsche.

The No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan continues to lead the way in LMP2, following a thus far dominant drive by the trio of Richard Bradley, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthew Howson. The fellow Oreca 05 of Thiriet by TDS Racing and the No. 26 Ligier JS P2 Nissan from G-Drive Racing are giving chase, albeit more than a minute behind.

Aston Martin, now likely down to one remaining bullet in GTE-Pro with the No. 95 car delayed by power steering issues and the No. 97 car having stopped out on track and retiring, leads the way in class with its No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage V8, driven by Richie Stanaway, Fernando Rees and Alex MacDowall.

The Aston Martin and No. 64 Corvette C7.R have engaged in a great scrap for the lead throughout most of the race and will look to do so again in the second 12-hour stint. The Corvette is running a solid race thus far, driven by Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor.

SMP Racing leads in GTE-Am at the halfway mark with the No. 72 Ferrari F458 Italia, shared by Andrea Bertolini, Victor Shaytar and Alexey Basov.

The Russian-entered Ferrari and the otherwise pace-setting No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda have exchanged the lead for most of the race in class, depending on pit stops.

Also in GTE-Am, each of three American-affiliated entries, the No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F458 Italia, No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR, and No. 53 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R are in contention for the final podium position.

Official retirements at the halfway mark include the No. 21 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO, No. 36 Signatech Alpine A450b Nissan, No. 97 Aston Martin, No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R, No. 41 Greaves Motorsport Gibson 015S Nissan, No. 88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR and No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR.

RESULTS: Hour 12

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 NBCSports.com and other motorsports outlets. Contact Tony

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