Darkness falls on the Circuit de la Sarthe, but not on Porsche and Ferrari, who take the top positions at the end of Free Practice 2 of the 24h of Le Mans, the fourth seasonal event of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
After the battle for one of the eight places in Thursday evening’s Hyperpole session, the protagonists of the French Centenary race have resumed work to adjust their machines to the night conditions and cooler temperatures.
Most took advantage of this to alternate all the drivers in the crew over the 120′ available, but there weren’t too many consecutive laps put together apart from a handful of cars, even if the times were obviously higher compared to what we saw previously, when it was necessary to push hard to attack the primacy.
#51 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado, Antonio Giovinazzi
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
The fact is that in the Hypercar Class the Porsche #6 of Team Penske takes first place in 3’28″878, with the twin 963 #5 finishing third almost half a second after sweating cold due to a technical problem that required a reset of systems for Dane Cameron.
Among the German LMDhs is Ferrari 499P #51, detached by 0″347 from the leader and better than the Reds managed by AF Corse given that the #50 finishes seventh at over 1″.
Cadillac has the #2 V-Series.R fourth, followed by the #7 Toyota, which of the top cars is the one that started immediately with 12 laps completed as a long run before Mike Conway handed over the wheel to his colleagues.
Sixth was the Cadillac #311 of Action Express Racing despite a problem with the front right which made Alex Sims slowly return to the pits, once the problems with the hybrid were fixed, the Porsche #38 driven by the Jota returned to action establishing the eighth time with the Glickenhaus #708 – another one that toured a lot initially with Ryan Briscoe – and Cadillac #3.
The second Toyota was only 11th, 1″6 behind its sister, followed by the Porsche #75, the two Peugeots and the other Glickenhaus. The Vanwall of ByKolles Racing remained at the rear with a gap of 6″4.
#63 Prema Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson Pin, Daniel Kvyat, Mirko Bortolotti
Photo by: Rainier Ehrhardt
In Class LMP2 for the first time the Prema Racing Oreca 07-Gibson #63 puts its nose ahead in 3’36″863, keeping behind the United Autosports #22 and #23, respectively second and fourth with the Jota #28 in the middle .
In Top5 the #43 of DKR Engineering which is the best in the PRO/AM category ahead of the rivals of Nielsen Racing #14.
The Oreca #34 of Inter Europol Competition was seventh, 1″5 from the leaders, the Prema #9 was eighth, while Racing Team Turkey obtained ninth place and third in PRO/AM with their #923, ahead of the Alpine #36 at complete the Top10.
In the overall standings, the best after the Orecas is always the Chevrolet Camaro NASCAR prepared by Hendrick Motorsport/Garage56.
The ZL1 finishes 40th with the usual Mike Rockenfeller at the wheel as the fastest of the crew to stop the clock at 3’51″904.
#24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 of Jimmie Johnson, Mike Rockenfeller, Jenson Button
Photo by: Alexander Trienitz
In the LMGTE AM Class, Kei Cozzolino’s kidney failure on the very last lap allows the #74 Kessel Racing Ferrari to leap to the lead.
The 488 stops the clock at 3’53″796 and beats the Porsches of iron Lynx #60 and Project 1-AO #56 by a handful of tenths.
The Ferrari #54 of AF Corse is fourth a bit further behind, with the Porsche #77 of Dempsey-Proton Racing and the #83 of the Iron Dames behind, followed by the Corvette #33 and the Ferraris of Kessel Racing #57 and AF Racing #83.
The Top10 is completed by the Porsche #88 of Proton Competition, immediately ahead of its twin #911 and the Ferrari #100 of Walkenhorst.
The Aston Martins fall further back this time: the #98 of NorthWest AMR-Heart of Racing is 13th at 2″, followed by the #25 of ORT by TF Sport.
The program will resume on Thursday with Free Practice 3 scheduled at 15.00, followed by the fight for the Hyperpole at 20.00 and then Free Practice 4 at 22.00.