It was a race of surprises in the 24 hour race at Le Mans this weekend as the pole sitters Toyota lost two of their cars, handing the win to the #2 car of Porsche driven by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley. Leading car #7 driven by Kamui Kobayashi, had to retire 10 hours in, after a gear problem caused the car to stop out on track. The #9 Toyota was knocked out of the race just 20 minutes later after a collision with the #25 Manor LMP2.
It later transpired that Kobayashi mistook Algarve Pro Racing team driver Vincent Capillaire for a marshall in the pit lane, Capillaire raised his hand as a sign of encouragement to Kobayashi who was waiting to enter the pit lane with clutch problems, on seeing the hand gesture Kobayashi started to make his way into the pits before being told to stop again via his radio, an action that meant he had to use the clutch with the combustion engine to get restarted, with a few other attempted starts the clutch was finished.
Porsche weren’t without their fair share of bad luck, 11 hours in the #1 car with Andre Lotterer at the wheel, suffered an oil pressure problem taking it out of the race. This put the LMP2 #38 of Jackie Chan DC Racing in the lead. A position they held until the relentless pace of the #2 Porsche which had earlier suffered with a front axle motor problem and had been in the pits for a lengthy spell was able to regain lost ground at just under 22 hours.
Third place originally went to the LMP2 #13 Rebellion Oreca of Nelson Piquet Jr, David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche inheriting third position with less than an hour to go after the preceding car #35 Signatech Alpine driven by Andre Negrao span off and out of the race. However post race checks found that the #13 Oreca had breached regulations with modifications being made to the bodywork, so were later disqualified handing third place to #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car of Alex Brundle, David Cheng and Tristan Gommendy.
In GTE a terrific clash between Aston Martin and Corvette led to some thrilling racing and a nail biting final lap after the #97 Vantage of Jonny Adam, Darren Turner and Daniel Serra did battle with the #63 Corvette C7.R of Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Jordan Taylor, resulting in the Corvette suffering a puncture and the #97 car taking the victory shortly followed by the #67 Ford GT of Harry Tincknell, Pipo Derani and Andy Priaulx with the #63 Chevrolet taking third place.
Allison Remzi Images ©Andy Fitzpatrick