Following a period full of drama for Toyota having lost two cars after midnight, the car number 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid took the Le Mans race lead at 00:45 hrs. At six this morning as the sun rose over the circuit, the trio of Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy led by 11 laps in the overall classification.
The number 2 sister Porsche of Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley recovered to 10th in the overall classification after its one hour repair stop early on Saturday evening. In the LMP1 class, it ranks second, 17 laps behind its leading teammates. With both 919 Hybrids, Porsche has managed smooth quadruple stints during the night.
After Neel Jani’s last refuelling at the end of lap 143, he had a spin on cold tyres during a safety car period and came in early for his next pit stop after 152 laps. Then he handed over the car to Tandy. When the number 7 Toyota stopped on track after the safety car period, Tandy took the lead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at 00:45 hrs.
After lap 167 at 01:48 hrs Nick came in for fuel and continued – now with a 29 lap lead ahead of the sole remaining Toyota (car number 8). At 02:35 hrs, after 180 laps, he pitted for fuel again. After 193 laps, André Lotterer jumped into the 919 Hybrid and continued the race on fresh tyres. He refuelled twice more. Since 5.53am (end of lap 233), Jani is at the wheel of the leading Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Following a period full of drama for Toyota having lost two cars after midnight, the car number 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid took the Le Mans race lead at 00:45 hrs
“I had a very difficult triple-stint that lasted until after midnight”, Neel Jani said. “In the first part, the front screen was somehow greasy so that I had very poor visibility. This was better after the first stop but the overall grip level was very low. Also, there was quite some confusion on track during the safety car period.”
“Yes, we are leading the race in the very early morning hours, but I don’t want to think about anything apart from doing our job, making no mistakes and just trying to bring our car home to the finish. We have to make sure we stay fully focused”, Nick Tandy added.
— 24 Hours of Le Mans (@24hoursoflemans) June 18, 2017