Action-packed Le Mans 24 Hours
Within a few days is the summer solstice and this only means one thing: 24 Hours of Le Mans. Comes the most important event in motorsport and Falso9Sports will tell you all the details. Let’s see how was the 84th edition of the 24 Heures du Mans.
FREE PRACTICE AND QUALIFYING.
From free practice, Porsche was very strong, leading from start to finish ahead of Toyota and Audi. In LMP2, Roberto Merhi showed good times, but they were not the best. The race on Saturday promised. Ford also started very strong in free practice.
Qualifying sessions were short, the best times were in Q1, as in Q2 and Q3 the track would be wet. Q3 was finally cancelled due to the torrential rains that fell on the Circuit de la Sarthe. The pole was for the Porsche # 2, followed by peers, Toyota and Audi. In LMP2, the pole would be for the G-Drive # 26, with the Manor fourth. In GTEPro, Ford achieved a 1-2-4-5 and GTeam, would be the team leader Clearwater Racing (Ferrari # 61).
Just before start, the No.67 Ford got into pits and the race director announced the race would start behind the Safety Car. Some minutes after “the start” No.12 the Rebellion got into the box too. Fortunately, these cars could get back on track before the green flag, which waved after 50 minutes. In the first laps we saw strong performance from Toyota, as Mike Conway took first position. The Audi also had good pace. The track dried and Lotterer (No.7 Audi) became the first to change to slick tyres. The move went well and took the lead, but returned into the pits due a turbocharger problem. It took 20 minutes to replace it. At the moment the battle for the lead was now among Porsche, Toyota and No.8 Audi. In LMP2, Merhi lost positions in the first 5 laps, but quickly regained the pace and after three hours, he was running first with a 20 second lead. In the GTE categories, the podium positions were distributed among Ford, Ferrari and Porsche. The top cars were in a margin of 50 seconds.
The fifth hour of the race began with two “slow zones” because of accidents No.89 Porsche (GTEAm) and No.40 Krohn (LMP2). The marshalls declare this protocol when a crashed car is being removed and drivers must run at 80km/h at these points of the circuit. Merhi finished his stint with Manor in first position and gave the wheel to Matthew Rao, who made several mistakes and the advantage disappeared. In GTEPro, Ford was now forming a 1-2-3 with cars remaining on the track, No.67 was retired. Later, again there was slow zones because of the track exits by Mark Patterson (No.57 Corvette, GTEam) and Ines Taittinger (No.28 Morgan, LMP2). Late at night the Manor was again in problems with oil and electricity and remained nearly an hour in the garage and the KCMG stopped on Indianapolis Straight.
Night fell over Le Mans and tragedy is chewed. Continued problems in the Audi, and Porsche also came into pits due to temperature problems. Again and again, problems for Manor. This time, Tor Graves returned to the box with all the back shattered. The safety car was deployed again because the marshals were repairing some barriers. Race was relaunched and No.2 Porsche took the lead again. After a long stop, the No.1 Porsche was on track again, but it was a failed attempt as their first laps were slow. Also returned to track Roberto Merhi, who managed to climb in three hours from the 20th to 16th. During the night there were numerous off-track excursions, some inconsequential and other finishing the race. With the first light of dawn the ByKolles withdrew because of a fire and the Corvette # 64 had an accident. The Safety Car was deployed again, it was 7am in the morning.
The safety car went in and the No.5 Toyota took the lead. Meanwhile, in GTEPro, the Ford vs Ferrari battle was relived 50 years later. After many hours with the Ferrari leading, Hand overtook Malucelli in the first chicane but the differences were minimal. Again, the Audi got into pit again because of reliability problems. At this time of the morning, Roberto Merhi set the fastest lap in LMP2, with better time than the best ByKolles’ (LMP1) lap. Returning to LMP1, Davidson overtook Marc Lieb with 4 hours remaining to finish the race.
The last 4 hours began with the battle between Porsche and Toyota. A few minutes later, the Toyota # 6, which was running third, spun in the Porsche curves. A few laps later, Matthew Rao (Manor # 44) went off at Indianapolis inconsequential and then crashed into the wall of the Porsche curves. With two hours remaining came the surprise: Overheating problems for No.6 Toyota. They returned quickly to track after cleaning the air intakes, which were blocked due to the last excursion.
23 hours and 56 minutes run the Toyota No. 5 without any problems, and the car stopped at the finish line with one lap remaining. After this unexpected ending, Neel Jani crossed the line with his No. 2 Porsche after 24 hours and 35 seconds of race. Cruel defeat for the Japanese team, which was about 21 hours in head, leading and supporting pressure of Stuttgart squad.
In the other categories, the Signatech Alpine team won in LMP2, the No.68 Ford GT won in GTEPro and finally won in GTEAm won the No.62 Ferrari. We forget Fréderic Sausset, the pilot who took a car specially adapted to their mobility to 38th position in the overall standings, after completing 315 laps. A real hero.
This was a really tough, unpredictable and action-packed race. We hope you enjoyed it and we’re back in one year.
Here you have a little gallery: