24 Hours of Le Mans – the middle hours

AF Corse Ferrari #83 had a spin, when Alessio Rovera rushed a bit into Indianapolis and had to avoid hitting a GTE car. Luckily, no contact was made and Rovera could continue.

Filipe Albuquerque went off the track twice within a few minutes in United Autosports USA #22.

ARC Bratislava #44 went off again, but this time they hit the Armco and ripped the rear wing off the car. Matej Konopka pitted for a new rear wing.

Le Mans 2021, night
Photo: JJ Media

JOTA #38 lost a lot of laps when one little stone from their run-off had pierced the oil filter, causing the oil to slowly run out.

There was a big incident as Egidio Perfetti in Team Project 1 Porsche went off in the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight, hitting the Armco and tire walls at high speed – so high that the Medical Light on the car was turned on. TF Sport Aston Martin #33 came right behind and hit the tire wall lightly. Perfetti retired on the spot, while Felipe Fraga in #33 could drive the car back to the pits, though with a puncture.

It triggered a Safety Car, since the doctors had to check on Perfetti, even though the Norwegian was okay. But those are the rules.

PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports #24 pitted due to an oil leak.

About twenty-five minutes later, the race got restarted.

Proton Competition #99
Photo: JJ Media

Suddenly, Iron Lynx Ferrari #85 slowed down on the straight and had to roll back to the pits.

Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 had a spin in the first chicane on Mulsanne straight.

Cetilar Racing Ferrari #47 got a little push in Tertre Rouge by HubAuto Racing Porsche #72, and hit the tire wall hard. It caused a Slow Zone since Paolo Ruberti couldn’t restart the car. Thus #47 was also out of the race.

Absolute Racing Porsche #18 got pushed into the garage where the mechanics looked into the bottom of the car.

Alpine Elf Matmut #36 went off the track in the first chicane on Mulsanne straight and got stuck. It triggered a Slow Zone, so that the car could get removed.

Toyota Gazoo Racing #7
Photo: JJ Media

Spirit Of Race Ferrari #55 went off in Indianapolis and required help to leave the gravel. It caused yet another Slow Zone.

GR Racing Porsche #86 got a five-second pitstop penalty since the engine had been running during an earlier pitstop.

Racing Team India Eurasia #74 got a 10-second pitstop penalty causing a collision with Richard Mille Racing Team #1, earlier in the race.

High Class Racing #20 got a 10-second pitstop penalty for taking too long to slow down during the Full Course Yellow. The same penalty went to Racing Team Nederland #29.

Glickenhaus Racing #709 got a Drive-through for overtaking Kessel Racing Ferrari #57 under the Safety Car. HubAuto Racing Porsche #72 also got a Drive-through for overtaking both Porsche #92 and G-Drive Racing #26 under the Safety Car.

Corvette Racing #64
Photo: JJ Media

D’Station Racing Aston Martin #777 got a 10-second pitstop penalty because the engine was already started while they refuelled the car. The same penalty was given to Corvette Racing #63, for exactly the same thing.

Shortly before midnight, which was also the eight hours mark in the race, Rui Andrade in G-Drive Racing #25 went off at high speed under braking in Dunlop chicane. He lost control of the car like we saw with Dwight Merriman and Juan Pablo Montoya earlier in the week, and hit the concrete wall before crashing into the tire barrier. It triggered a Safety Car, so that the car could get removed and the tire wall repaired. Luckily, Andrade was okay.

Proton Competition Porsche #99 had to give up to continue the race, since their broken suspension, unfortunately, couldn’t be repaired.

When the race got restarted, it wasn’t long before Spirit Of Race Ferrari #55 slowed down on the track. Matt Griffen couldn’t manage to drive the car back to the pits, and the team was out of the race.

Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77
Photo: JJ Media

JMW Motorsport Ferrari #66 had to drive slowly due to a flat tire. Rodrigo Sales couldn’t take the car back to the pits, forcing them to retire.

Iron Lynx Ferrari #80 got a 10-second pitstop penalty for driving too fast under a Slow Zone earlier in the race.

Kessel Racing Ferrari #57 had been struggling with clutch problems for a long time, and had to finally give up the race, while Mikkel Jensen was behind the wheel.

Team Project 1 Porsche #46 had to retire since their damaged suspension couldn’t be repaired. Thus, Le Mans became yet another nightmare weekend for the team, where none of their cars saw the chequered flag.

WeatherTech Racing Porsche #79 had a big run-off with Cooper MacNeil behind the wheel, and retired on the spot.

Halfway into the race, it was Toyota Gazoo Racing 1-2 with #7 in front of #8 in Hypercar, Team WRT had a 1-2 in LMP2 with #31 ahead of #41, and AF Corse Ferrari #51 led the GTE Pro category, while Nicklas Nielsen and the rest of AF Corse Ferrari #83 team was ahead in GTE Am.

United Autosports USA #22
Photo: JJ Media

Jan Magnussen had a puncture in High Class Racing #49. It was yet another problem for the team, who earlier had to change two GPS antennas that delivered data to the FIA. That kind of antenna is obligatory for all cars and must work all the time. Later, it was revealed that he had contact with Roman Rusinov in G-Drive Racing #26, where the latter got a ten-second pitstop penalty for the offence.

Inception Racing Ferrari #71 lost one wheel, shortly after they pitted. Ben Barnicoat had to drive nearly an entire lap on three wheels, before he could come back to the pits and get a new tire. The team got a 2000-Euro fine for not mounting the tire securely, since it was a huge safety risk.

Iron Lynx Ferrari #85 & Inception Racing Ferrari #71
Photo: JJ Media

United Autosports USA #22 had to pit with a problem with the generator. The team was certainly not as dominant as they were last year.

AF Corse Ferrari #52 pitted after breaking the rear suspension. They had to stay in the pits for many laps before coming back out.

Ryan Briscoe got a 10-second pitstop penalty because a mechanic touched the car, when the engine had been started.

Racing Team India Eurasia #74 and Inter Europol Competition #34 had contact on the track. It damaged the rear on #34, which Alex Brundle luckily could drive back to the pits for some repair. John Corbett got a Drive-through penalty for the incident.

There was drama for the leading car in GTE Am. AF Corse Ferrari #83 had sped up in the pitlane, which got them a Drive-through. They, however, could keep the lead, which was almost a lap down to TF Sport Aston Martin #33.

HubAuto Racing Porsche #72 had to retire due to a gearbox problem when the car suddenly went straight in Dunlop chicane. Dries Vanthoor had tried to do some repair, but there was nothing he could do.

The weather was good since last night, and there was a fantastic sunset – until fog drove over the track at about eight o’clock. Not the entire track was covered, but the visibility wasn’t good around the start-finish. It was, however, not enough to trigger a Slow Zone – but it shouldn’t get much worse before it would.

ARC Bratislava #44
Photo: JJ Media

Corvette Racing #64 pitted again due to some problems with a generator, after their earlier problems with the clutch among others.

Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was in trouble again and drove very slowly on the way out of the Mulsanne corner. It came back to life when Sebastien Buemi got the system restarted. But it pushed him one lap behind the leading sister car, since the process took almost one and a half minutes.

AF Corse #52 had yet another problem. Sam Bird outbraked himself on the way into the Mulsanne corner but quickly recovered. A few hundred metres later, the right front tire exploded and ripped the entire front cover and side-view mirror off the car. It caused a Slow Zone, since there was so much debris all over the track.

Porsche #91 brushed the wall in the Porsche Curves, but Fred Makowiecki could continue without any problems.

After eighteen hours of driving, Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 continued to lead the Hypercar category, Team WRT #31 in LMP2, Realteam Racing #70 in LMP2 Pro/Am, AF Corse Ferrari #51 in GTE Pro, and AF Corse Ferrari #83 with Nicklas Nielsen, Alessio Rovera and Francois Perrodo led the GTE Am category.

Only six hours left…

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