LM24, Hour 19: Ferrari leads four-way fight for the lead

The end is now in sight and with five hours to go at Le Mans, the race is well and truly on for the overall win.

The safety car for the Heart of Racing incident at Indianapolis bunched the field up, placing the top 10 cars on the lead lap together on track.

When the race went green halfway through the hour it was the No. 2 Cadillac that found itself out front, Earl Bamber inheriting top spot after the No. 6 Porsche and No. 8 Toyota pitted under safety car.

But by the end of the hour Bamber would drop to 10th behind both JOTA Porsches though as he owed a stop out of sync.

This left the fans trackside with a four-way fight for the lead to savour, with the No. 50 Ferrari of Antonio Fuoco leading Frederic Makowiecki in the No. 5 Porsche, No. 83 AF Corse 499P of Robert Shwartzman and No. 8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi. All four cars are still in a train and it’s game on!


There were a handful of moves made in recent laps, with Fuoco taking the lead off Makowiecki with a bold move into Indianapolis, having previously found a way past Shwartzman around the outside at Mulsanne Corner.

Kamui Kobayashi meanwhile, has fallen down to sixth, behind the No. 6 Porsche and No. 8 Toyota. He has struggled for pace since the race returned to green with a suspected turbo issue in the No. 7 Toyota.

In the hour, two Hypercars hit trouble, both at Indianapolis, a corner that has claimed countless victims in the second half of the race. The first was Nico Muller in the No. 93 Peugeot, who ended up nose-into the tires under the safety car after an error in judgment.

Pipo Derani then slammed into the barriers hard side-on just after the race went green in the No. 311 Cadillac. He limped back to the pits but the car is severely damaged and will need lengthy repairs.

Adding to Cadillac’s woes was the No. 3 Ganassi V-Series.R suffering a loss of power. Scott Dixon managed to make it back to pit lane under pure EV power, but it doesn’t look like the car will be back out any time soon.

“It’s an engine issue, and he drove back on full EV. But now the floor of the car is covered in oil,” teammate Renger van der Zande said.

“It’s a shame, we would have been fighting for more than a top 10. We lost time because of the tire choice early, but the gap stayed the same despite the fact we had the pace.”

In LMP2 Vector Sport is back at the helm in the class, Patrick Pilet attempting to pull away from Lorenzo Fluxa in the No. 37 COOL Racing ORECA.

The No. 183 Pro/Am AF Corse entry, which has led the class overall for much of this race, has fallen to third after a shuffle to the order under safety car.

Like Hypercar it’s game on in LMP2, the top six cars all on the lead lap and separated by 14 seconds.

LMGT3 is being controlled by Richard Lietz in the Manthey EMA Porsch, with the No. 31 WRT BMW now up to second, and the No. 95 and No. 59 United McLarens third and fourth.


Story originally appeared on Racer