LM24, Hour: 6: Alpine drops out of the fight

With 18 hours to go at Le Mans, the big story trackside is the end of Alpine’s challenge for victory in its big return to the race. 

After the No. 35 A424 suffered an engine failure at Arnage in the previous hour, it was the No. 36’s turn to hit trouble this time. 

Mechanics were seen poking around the engine bay in the back of the garage after Nicolas Lapierre brought it in. It was confirmed that the car suffered a driveshaft failure and has since been retired. Alpine’s chances of a strong finish on home soil are now over.

The No. 36 wasn’t the only car in the garage during the hour, as the No. 4 Porsche ended up in its box for repairs. Replays revealed that Mathieu Jaminet was the culprit in the Sarah Bovy Iron Dames clash in the previous hour. The contact damaged the car’s right-side number panel, which eventually fell off.


This prompted the team to pit the car for a replacement, which took over four minutes and dropped the car off the lead lap.

On track, there was a mechanical issue for the No. 9 Proton ORECA. Jonas Ried slowed to a stop at the Porsche Curves while running fifth, adding to the disastrous day so far for the German team, which has already been forced to pit the No.77 Mustang (steering) and No. 99 Porsche (door) for repairs in this race.

In terms of positions, it was relatively static in Hypercar. Ye Yifei leads in the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari, 42 seconds ahead of the No. 5 Porsche. The No. 50 factory Ferrari is down to fourth, having pitted just before Hour 7 began, promoting the No. 8 Toyota, which continues to climb closer to the front.

In LMP2, COOL Racing’s No. 37 ORECA has taken the lead, after Lorenzo Fluxa found a way past Stephane Richelmi in the No. 10 Vector Sport car during the hour. The No. 22 United ORECA is third. 

LMGT3 has also seen a lead change, Joel Sturm in the No. 92 Pure Rxcing Porsche catching and passing Valentino Rossi in the No. 46 WRT BMW.

Something that should be noted is that the Pure Rxcing squad has already burned through half of Alex Malykhin’s drive time. If he completes all his stints before the second half of the race, this would hand the team an enormous advantage into Sunday morning, with just Sturm and Klaus Bachler stints to cycle through.

Third in the class is the sister No. 91 Manthey EMA 911 LMGT3.R 992.

As the hour came to a close, adding to the drama, it started to rain, hard, at the Porsche Curves. A chunk of the track is wet, the rest is dry. Rain tires at the ready – here we go again!


Story originally appeared on Racer