24 Hours of Le Mans: Live updates, streaming, results for 2018 race
Le Mans 24 Hours: Toyota holds early one-two after frantic start
Late slow zone allows Lopez Alonso reprieve 31m WEC
Alonso catching Lopez at halfway stage 1hr WEC
H11: Alonso chasing race-leading Toyota 2hr WEC
H10: Penalty setback for #8 Toyota 3hr WEC
H9: #7 Toyota increases lead due to slow zone 4hr WEC
H8: Kobayashi builds small lead for #7 Toyota 5hr WEC
Montoya ‘ran out of talent’ in Le Mans off 5hr WEC
Share this article on Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Email
Toyota held a 1-2 at the end of the first hour of the Le Mans 24 Hours with Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car leading team-mate Mike Conway.
From pole position, Buemi held the lead at the start of the race from the sister #7 TS050 HYBRID before Conway found a way ahead on the opening lap.
But Conway was never able to extend his advantage beyond 1.5 seconds and was repassed on lap five on the Mulsanne straight by Buemi, who had advanced three seconds up the road by the time he pitted at the end of lap nine.
After a 61-second stop, Buemi’s stunning 4m11.529s outlap was 10.5s faster than Conway’s a lap later, which allowed Buemi to stretch his lead beyond 15s after the pitstop phase had been completed.
Buemi had stretched that advantage to 18.281s by the end of the hour.
Stephane Sarrazin took advantage of a melee at the Dunlop chicane on the opening lap – when Andre Lotterer in the #1 Rebellion clipped the rear of the #8 Toyota, which dislodged his nose that then flew off and hit Ben Hanley’s DragonSpeed car – to run third in the early part of the race.
Sarrazin came under intense pressure from Thomas Laurent in the early part of the race and was briefly passed by the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 on the Mulsanne straight before the pitstops, but Sarrazin was able to draft his way back past on the run to Mulsanne corner.
The SMP Racing driver now sits three seconds clear of the Laurent.
Hanley recovered to fifth in the DragonSpeed BR1 after stopping out of sequence at the end of lap five, with the sole ByKolles sixth and three minutes behind the leader with Tom Dillmann at the wheel.
Subscribe to Autosport Plus
Premium motorsport journalism in an
Alex Brundle ran sixth in the early part of the race in the #6 Manor-Ginetta after avoiding the first-lap incident before dropping to eighth, but he slowed towards the end of the hour before making a pitstop and is now 22nd.
The #6 Ginetta is 29th and last of the LMP1 cars, three laps down.
TDS gets ahead during stops in LMP2
Jean-Eric Vergne leads a 1-2 for TDS Racing in the #26 ORECA entered under the G-Drive banner.
The Frenchman dropped to seventh after a cautious opening lap, but took the lead after pitting from sixth on lap nine, one lap later than the leading trio comprising Nathanael Berthon (DragonSpeed ORECA), Paul-Loup Chatin (IDEC Sport ORECA) and Loic Duval (TDS ORECA).
Duval emerged from that group ahead as Berthon fell back to tenth, but Vergne emerged as the new leader and continued to build his lead up to 7.1 seconds by lap 16, at times lapping a over second quicker than anybody in the low 3m29s.
Nicolas Lapierre was another to benefit from a good first stop to leapfrog from fifth to third in the #36 Signatech-Alpine, while Chatin ended the first hour in fourth, but with a steward’s investigation hanging over him for a potential infraction at his first stop.
Former F1 driver Will Stevens was the best of the Ligier runners in fifth, 24 seconds behind at the end of the first hour in the #23 Panis-Barthez Competition entry.
Defending winners Jackie Chan DC Racing had a difficult start to the race when Jazeman Jaafar brought the #37 ORECA slowly back to the pits on lap two. The Malaysian emerged after repairs four laps down.
Porsche leads frantic GTE battle
Porsche led the GTE Pro category after the first hour, with the #92 of Michael Christensen taking the advantage over the sister #91 car thanks to an early first stop.
Poleman Gianmaria Bruni and Kevin Estre led the field away at the start, edging away from Stefan Mucke’s #66 Ford, and both Manthey drivers held station until Estre pitted on lap 10 to hand over to Christensen.
When Bruni led the majority of the field in the next time by, Christensen assumed a slender lead, while Dirk Muller managed to leap to second in the #68 Ford ahead of Bruni.
Also gaining ground was Patrick Pilet in the #93 Porsche, who got ahead of James Calado’s #51 Ferrari to take fourth during the stops, while Mucke in the #66 Ford slipped to sixth.
The German then lost further ground in his second stint and was eighth behind Antonio Garcia’s #63 Corvette and Alexander Sims’s #81 BMW at the end of the opening hour.
Leading GTE Am was Ben Barker’s #86 Gulf Racing Porsche after taking an early first stop that leapfrogged the British-entered car 10s ahead of Giancarlo Fisichella’s #54 Spirit of Race entry.
Poleman Matteo Cairoli slipped to third in the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, running just behind Fisichella.