Hour 18 at Le Mans: Ferrari, Corvette and Porsche battle for GTE Pro lead
The 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans has reached the three-quarter mark, and as Toyota still lead one-two, the battle in GTE Pro heats up and SMP Racing recapture third overall.
The two Toyotas of Mike Conway and Sebastien Buemi continue to do battle at the front of the field, with the Briton leading his colleague by about two minutes. The past hour has meanwhile seen a significant change in the fight for the podium in LMP1. Gustavo Menezes was hit with a three minute stop and go penalty for a tyre infraction. This handed third place to SMP Racing's Stoffel Vandoorne. Menezes then set off in pursuit of his Belgian rival, but spun at the Porsche Curves, costing the #3 Rebellion even more time.
In LMP2, G-Drive continues to lead ahead of Signatech Alpine. The two rivals have seen one of their main competitors taken out of the running as Pastor Maldonado crashed the #31 Dragonspeed at Tertre Rouge, bringing out a lenghty safety car. The #38 of Gabriel Aubry lost a lot of time as he appeared to be out of fuel in hour 18, crawling back to the pit lane but remaining in podium contention.
In GTE Pro, the battle for the lead is still on as Corvette's Mike Rockenfeller leads Ferrari's Daniel Serra, although the German still has to come in for his pitstop at which point the #51 AF Corse entry will likely cycle back into the lead. Both the #93 and #91 Porsches are still in the hunt with Earl Bamber and Richard Lietz.
In GTE Am, race leader Ben Keating had a bit of a scare as he spun his #85 Ford GT in the lead of the class, but was able to continue without issues. Jörg Bergmeister is still in second for Team Project 1, with JMW Motorsport in third place still.