Hour 20 at Le Mans: Kamui Kobayashi leads Sebastien Buemi and GTE battles heat up
With four hours left in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Toyota continues to lead one-two as GT battles heat up.
Kamui Kobyashi is currently holding a lead of roughly two minutes over Sebastien Buemi, with the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1-AER of Mikhail Aleshin in third position some five laps down. The lone remaining Russian entry has carved out a distinct advantage as the closest chasing Rebellion of Nathanaël Berthon was struck with brake issues and has now dropped behind the sister car, which now holds fourth at the hands of Andre Lotterer.
After the time loss for G-Drive in the previous hour, Signatech Alpine now holds a significant lead in LMP2, with Nicolas Lapierre about a lap clear of Jackie Chan DC Racing's Stephane Richelmi, while polesitters TDS Racing hold third at the hands of Francois Perrodo.
Two lower-placed LMP2 runners suffered problems in the past hour. First, Will Owen lost his United Autosports engine cover after the second chicane and had to come back to the pits for repairs, while Inter Europol's Nigel Moore suffered a puncture in his Ligier JSP217-Gibson.
The GTE Pro battle is close between Ferrari and Corvette, with Antonio Garcia leading in the #63 Corvette, holding only a 10-second gap over the #51 AF Corse 488 GTE Evo of James Calado, with the #91 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni a further half a minute back.
In GTE Am, Keating Motorsports' comfortable gap has been significantly decreased as the #85 crew had to complete a brake change on pit road. As a result, the gap has been decreased significantly, with the #56 Project 1 Porsche in the hunt and JMW Motorsport still continuing to hold on to third place in class.