LM24, Hour 5: No.83’s dream run continues; Alpine registers first Hypercar retirement

With the six-hour mark edging closer, the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari leads a Ferrari 1-2 in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The privately-funded machine is in the midst of a dream run so far, and has Ye Yifei currently behind the wheel with a 17-second gap ahead of the No. 50 factory Ferrari of Miguel Molina.

The No. 5 Penske Porsche is also still in the top three and very much in the fight, 24 seconds down the road and being peddled nicely by Matt Campbell.

The two Toyotas, which are slowly regaining ground and clawing their way back into contention after their failed tire gamble, are fourth and fifth, 47s (No. 8) and 1m 41s (No. 7) off the lead.


The No. 51 Ferrari AF Corse 499P is sixth, ahead of the No. 38 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche that’s seventh.

Vector Sport continues to lead in LMP2; Ryan Cullen enjoying what is surely his most impressive stint as a prototype driver. He is 48 seconds up the road from the No. 37 COOL Racing ORECA, which is being driven now by Lorenzo Fluxa after a steady run from Ritomo Miyata.

The No. 22 United Autosports ORECA, despite its off and drive-through, is still third, ahead of the Pro/Am leading AO by TF ORECA which lost time and positions during Bronze-ranked PJ Hyett’s first stint. Alex Quinn is now installed and has a strong gap to Francois Perrodo in the No. 183 AF Corse ORECA that is second in the sub-class.

Valentino Rossi sits atop the pile in LMGT3. The Italian is having a faultless run and has managed to open up a strong lead over the No. 92 Pure Rxcing Porsche that is now up to second and has Joel Sturm at the wheel. The Manthey EMA Porsche is third.

MotoGP legend Valentino Rossi has Team WRT ‘s BMW M4 in the LMGT3 lead. JEP/Motorsport Images

It was a difficult hour for Iron Dames, which had been running as high as third during the hour. With a few minutes remaining before the sixth hour began Sarah Bovy ended up needing a trip to the pit lane for checks.

Replays revealed she was side-swiped through the Porsche Curves by a Porsche Hypercar, which sent her into a spin. She avoided contact with any barriers, but took a long time to rejoin the race and has dropped to 13th.

The biggest drama of the hour was the first Hypercar retirement. The No. 35 Alpine A424 suffered an engine expiry at Arnage – Ferdinand Habsberg pulled off at the exit of the corner, climbed out immediately and hopped over the barriers. That makes it two retirements now, after the No. 54 Vista AF Corse crashed out earlier on.

“It’s really difficult for the whole team, it’s so cruel because we have done a mega job all week to give us a strong car. The pace was strong but we need to accept it’s a mechanical sport and this can happen. It’s hard but there is still the sister car with amazing drivers. I am sure the whole team will push even more for them,” driver Paul Loup Chatin said.

Another car that may well become a retirement soon is the No. 77 Proton Competition Mustang, which towards the end of the previous hour entered its garage with a steering issue.

Yet another piece of action to report involved the No. 3 Ganassi Cadillac. Renger van der Zande had a hair-raising moment on the run down to Tertre Rouge, sliding off the circuit and onto the grass. The Dutchman did kiss the Armco but avoided big damage.

The No. 3 crew find themselves down to a lowly 14th after such a strong start to the race. 

“The start of the race was pretty clean,” van der Zande’s teammate Sebastien Bourdais said. “Pace on its own is fine, but when we get stuck in traffic we can’t make the lap time and fall further behind. It’s frustrating. 

“All the cars that stayed out because it didn’t really rain – it was like one straight, one corner, another corner – but it wasn’t really wet enough to pay dividends on the wets and we lost the lead train. There’s a lot of time left, so we’ll keep fighting.”

Both Lamborghini Hypercars suffered off-track excursions too, Daniil Kyvat and Matteo Cairoli spinning on their out laps.


Story originally appeared on Racer