LM24, Hour 17: Green flags finally return

After a four-hour, 26-minute safety car intervention for heavy overnight rain, the 92nd annual 24 Hours of Le Mans finally resumed at 8:10 AM CEST to the delight of the millions of fans at the track and watching from home, whose patience was finally rewarded with green flag racing at last!

It left Ryo Hirakawa to lead the field back to racing, and the Japanese driver firmly held his advantage in the No.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid once the green flag waved again.

He built a two-second buffer to Laurens Vanthoor in the No.6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 9623, a gap that has been maintained since both cars came in for routing service.


The No.7 Toyota of Nyck de Vries is third, but is now off-sequence after De Vries came in for an unscheduled stop. Oil had accumulated on his windscreen and the Dutchman reported unacceptable visibility.

Rounding out the top six in Hypercar at this interval is the No.50 Ferrari AF Corse 499P of Nicklas Nielsen in fourth, followed by the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari of Robert Kubica in fifth, and the No.2 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R of Alex Lynn in sixth.

The No.51 Ferrari of Antonio Giovinazzi has dropped to ninth following a drive-through penalty for speeding under a Full Course Yellow.

In LMP2, Stephane Richelmi still owes a pit stop in the No.10 Vector Sport ORECA 07-Gibson, so when he pits from the lead, the No.183 AF Corse car of Ben Barnicoat will retake first place with a healthy margin over the No.22 United Autosport car driven by Oliver Jarvis that was running third at the interval.

Vladislav Lomko is currently fourth in the No.34 Inter Europol Competition car, while Reshad de Gerus in the No. 28 IDEC Sport car has leapt up to fifth in class.

Manthey Racing has maintained its advantage in LMGT3 – but only on one side of the garage.

The No. 92 Manthey PureRxcing Porsche of Klaus Bachler led at the restart, but after Bachler was overtaken by Richard Lietz, Bachler brought the car back to the garage with a gearbox issue.

It was a problem that cost the No.92 Porsche over 20 minutes in the garage, and that car is now out of contention, five laps down.

Lietz leads in the No.91 Manthey EMA Porsche, followed by Michelle Gatting in the No.85 Iron Dames Lamborghini in second, and Hiroshi Hamaguchi, still holding onto a solid third in the No.59 United Autosports McLaren after Jack Hawksworth pitted in with the safety car and went off-sequence.

The No.27 Heart of Racing Team Aston Martin of Daniel Mancinelli and No.59 United McLaren of Nicolas Costa round out the LMGT3 top five.


Story originally appeared on Racer