Everything is rolling for the candidates: Toyota’s two planes, the No. 7 and No. 8, remain at the top of the The 89th edition of 24 Hours of Le Mans After 5 and a half hours of racing, Saturday August 21, while the Alps number 36 still completes the top three at nightfall.
Party in first place on Sarth, the ° . number7 of Argentina’s Jose Maria Lopez, Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi and Britain’s Mike Conway still sit quietly at the front of the race, barely worried about a slow puncture. The trio’s goal: to win the event for the first time and become the first winners in the new first category, the Hypercar, introduced this season.
If Switzerland’s Sebastien Buemi’s #8 Toyota, Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima and New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley confident in second place, the start of the race was chaotic for the event’s triple champion. In second place on the starting grid is a file ° . number8 – then piloted by the Swiss – was hit by Glickenhaus number No. 708 from Frenchman Olivier Plas in the first corner.
Then the slide had to stop to reset its systems, and it took sixteen laps to get back to the starting position from the back of the peloton.
On the third lap, the French Alpine pilot ° . number36 Nicholas Lapierre sprinted into an Indianapolis corner, doomed himself to restart in 18th before reclaiming third more in line with his ambitions.
For the French foreigner, the plan revealed on Friday is simple: “We must attack (…). If we leave Toyotas alone up front, we know they’ll have a waiting sprint and it’s going to be easy. They will not push the mechanics, drivers and tires and they will succeed in winning as they have done in recent years.”, It is to explain.
The race began at 4:13 p.m., after three practice sessions instead of one, to allow drivers to gauge a wet track an hour after it rained. The rain returned around 6:30 p.m., before giving way to some clearing, intensifying again a few minutes around 9 p.m.
The race was neutralized twice, for a total duration of just over 45 minutes, after the LMGTE Am crashes and then the LMP2s crashes. Cars will operate until 4:00 pm on Sunday in mixed weather.
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