U.S. Markets closed

Le Mans 24 Hours: Buemi holds narrow lead after SMP-induced safety car

Jack Cozens, James Newbold
H11: Third-placed SMP crashes, Toyotas battle

A green-flag pitstop helped Sebastien Buemi move the #8 Toyota into the Le Mans 24 Hours lead in hour 11, 20 minutes of which was lost to a safety car.

Buemi started the hour more than a minute behind the sister #7 TS050 HYBRID of Mike Conway, a result of being caught behind a different safety car during a previous neutralised period, but served his stop shortly before Egor Orudzhev crashed from third place.

SMP driver Orudzhev went off at the Porsche Curves 20 minutes into the hour, with his #17 BR Engineering-AER BR1 taking some time for the recovery crew to extract.

But while Buemi had stopped under green-flag conditions, Conway - who had not previously been headed during his time in the cockpit - was held at the end of the pitlane until the safety-car train had passed, which meant he dropped behind his team-mate.

The Briton was within a second and a half of Buemi on the restart and got closer to the #8 in the laps immediately afterwards, but could not find a way past before the top of the hour.

Orudzhev's crash, after which the Russian threw a part of the car aside in anger, promoted the #3 Rebellion into the final podium position.

Gustavo Menezes had been making small inroads into Orudzhev's advantage before the SMP's crash, and used the safety car to end a strong stint in the lead Rebellion R-13.

Nathanael Berthon took over from Menezes, and had a margin of more than two minutes over the fifth-place car of Stoffel Vandoorne (#11 SMP BR1).

The ByKolles ENSO CLM-Gibson P1/01 is still circulating in 56th overall, but the #10 DragonSpeed car stopped shortly after returning to the track at the end of the previous hour.

LMP2 - G-Drive establish huge lead after safety car

G-Drive Racing continues to lead the LMP2 pack, with Roman Rusinov managing an increasingly comfortable two-minute gap back to Signatech Alpine's Pierre Thiriet.

In his second spell behind the wheel, Job Van Uitert began to stamp his authority over the race in the #26 - now sixth overall - even as the safety car contrived to heighten his advantage.

Thiriet had no answer for Van Uitert's pace in the green flag running and was powerless to stem the tide as the G-Drive man built his lead to over two minutes, despite running tyres one stint older, prior to his handover to Rusinov shortly before the hour mark.

Only four cars now remain on the lead lap, with third-placed Gabriel Aubry in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA pursued by Pastor Maldonado's #31 DragonSpeed ORECA.

Maldonado was 7s in arrears before the safety car and was 13s behind at the hour mark, having been held at the end of the pitlane when he came in under the safety car.

The second DC Racing entry of David Heinemeier-Hansson is fifth, ahead of Loic Duval's #28 TDS Racing ORECA.

GTE - #92 Porsche retakes lead from Ferrari, #85 Ford leads Ams

The #92 Porsche and AF Corse's #51 Ferrari remain in a private battle for the lead of the GTE Pro class.

A safety car in the previous hour broke up what had been a multi-car battle for the lead, and a further intervention in the 11th hour kept the two leaders away from the chasing pack.

The Porsche is now at the head of that order in Laurens Vanthoor's hands, and finished the hour eight seconds clear of Daniel Serra.

Earl Bamber is third in the #93 Porsche, ahead of the #63 Corvette and the lead #67 Ford GT.

The safety cars also affected the field in the Am class, as the third to sixth-placed cars were lumped together behind a different safety car than the second-placed #77 Porsche of Julien Andlauer.

While Felipe Fraga continued to lead in the #85 Keating Motorsport Ford ahead of the #77 Porsche, Charlie Eastwood made up three positions at the restart to move past Cooper MacNeil's Weathertech Ferrari, Rodrigo Baptista in the JMW Ferrari and Patrick Lindsey's Project 1 Porsche to hold third at the hour mark.

Positions after 11 hours

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #8 Toyota Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso 173
2 LMP1 #7 Toyota Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez 173 + 0.428s
3 LMP1 #3 Rebellion Laurent, Berthon, Menezes 171 + 2 Laps
4 LMP1 #11 BR Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne 170 + 3 Laps
5 LMP1 #1 Rebellion Jani, Lotterer, Senna 167 + 6 Laps
6 LMP2 #26 Aurus Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne 165 + 8 Laps
7 LMP2 #36 Alpine Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet 165 + 2m04.092s
8 LMP2 #38 Oreca Tung, Richelmi, Aubry 164 + 9 Laps
9 LMP2 #31 Oreca Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson 164 + 19.468s
10 LMP2 #28 Oreca Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval 164 + 1m08.054s
11 LMP2 #37 Oreca Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor 164 + 1m18.981s
12 LMP1 #17 BR Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin 163 + 10 Laps
13 LMP2 #32 Ligier Cullen, Brundle, Owen 163 + 38m25.419s
14 LMP2 #22 Ligier Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta 163 + 39m15.402s
15 LMP2 #48 Oreca Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas 163 + 40m49.084s
16 LMP2 #30 Oreca Jamin, Ragues, Dumas 162 + 11 Laps
17 LMP2 #23 Ligier Binder, Canal, Stevens 162 + 33.013s
18 LMP2 #25 Oreca Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb 161 + 12 Laps
19 LMP2 #39 Oreca Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi 161 + 3m14.783s
20 LMP2 #47 Dallara Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi 160 + 13 Laps
21 LMP2 #43 Oreca Farano, Maini, Nato 160 + 1m14.562s
22 LMP2 #50 Ligier Creed, Ricci, Boulle 160 + 2m41.869s
23 LMP2 #20 Oreca Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche 158 + 15 Laps
24 LMP2 #29 Dallara Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries 157 + 16 Laps
25 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor 154 + 19 Laps
26 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra 154 + 8.053s
27 GTE Pro #93 Porsche Pilet, Bamber, Tandy 153 + 20 Laps
28 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki 153 + 1.182s
29 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 153 + 8.982s
30 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 153 + 10.875s
31 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller 153 + 15.295s
32 GTE Pro #67 Ford Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito 153 + 16.536s
33 LMP2 #34 Ligier Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore 153 + 39.070s
34 GTE Pro #94 Porsche Muller, Jaminet, Olsen 153 + 2m38.216s
35 GTE Pro #66 Ford Mucke, Pla, Johnson 152 + 21 Laps
36 GTE Pro #89 Ferrari Derani, Jarvis, Gounon 152 + 1.571s
37 LMP2 #49 Ligier Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko 152 + 1m41.891s
38 GTE Pro #82 BMW Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn 151 + 22 Laps
39 GTE Am #85 Ford Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga 150 + 23 Laps
40 GTE Am #77 Porsche Campbell, Ried, Andlauer 150 + 1m23.507s
41 GTE Am #90 Aston Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood 150 + 2m33.501s
42 GTE Am #56 Porsche Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti 150 + 2m37.826s
43 GTE Am #84 Ferrari Segal, Baptista, Lu 150 + 2m38.697s
44 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Macneil, Vilander, Smith 150 + 2m39.399s
45 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni 149 + 24 Laps
46 GTE Am #57 Ferrari Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar 148 + 25 Laps
47 GTE Pro #81 BMW Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng 148 + 2.365s
48 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Barker, Preining 148 + 4.860s
49 GTE Am #78 Porsche Prette, Prette, Abril 148 + 1m42.447s
50 GTE Am #54 Ferrari Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella 147 + 26 Laps
51 GTE Am #70 Ferrari Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever 147 + 2.238s
52 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Gostner, Frey, Gatting 147 + 1m29.170s
53 GTE Pro #97 Aston Martin, Lynn, Adam 145 + 28 Laps
54 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini 144 + 29 Laps
55 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Molina 140 + 33 Laps
56 LMP1 #4 Enso Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti 134 + 39 Laps
57 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 132 + 41 Laps
58 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 87 + 86 Laps
59 GTE Am #88 Porsche Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli 79 + 94 Laps
60 LMP1 #10 BR Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande 76 + 97 Laps
61 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Fassler 82 + 91 Laps

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus