24 Hours of Le Mans (LMP1) – after 9 hours
Nico Hülkenberg leads the 24-Hours for Porsche at midnight
It is midnight and not even half way through the Le Mans 24 Hours. After nine hours the three Porsche 919 Hybrids are in first, fourth and fifth positions. The number 17 car of Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber kept swapping the lead with an Audi until a one-minute stop-and-go penalty threw them back to fourth at 23:39 hrs. After that the number 19 Porsche of Earl Bamber/Nico Hülkenberg/Nick Tandy, with Hülkenberg at the wheel, took over the lead. The black number 18 Porsche prototype of Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb was fifth at midnight. At this time the first six cars in the field were racing still on the same lap. The three Porsche 919 Hybrids have so far had ten or 11 pit stops each.
Mark Webber had taken over the leading number 17 car after 83 laps from Brendon Hartley. The Australian came in for fuel after 96, 109 and 122 laps. He and the Audi number 9 frequently swapped P1. After the stop-and-go penalty for overtaking under yellow, Webber, who did four stints on one set of tyres, refuelled after 136 laps and handed over to Timo Bernhard.
Romain Dumas, who had taken over the number 18 Porsche earlier from Marc Lieb, refuelled after 87 and 100 laps, was lying fourth. On lap 112, shortly before his next scheduled fuel stop to end his four stints with the same set of tyres, he went wide at Mulsanne and touched the barriers. He pitted for fuel, tyres and a new car nose and handed over to Neel Jani without a big delay. Jani refuelled after 127 laps.
At 20:08 hrs, after 78 laps, Earl Bamber refuelled car number 19 before he handed the car over to Nico Hülkenberg after another 13 laps. The F1 driver returned for fuel after 104 and 117 laps. At midnight he was leading the race.
Brendon Hartley (car number 17): “The car felt very good. It is running smoothly at the moment. I think we are doing a minimum number of pit stops. I’m enjoying it out there. There were a few safety cars and slow zones, but it was good fun. The pace is very even and I think that it will be a tough race.“
Romain Dumas (car number 18): “I locked the wheels under braking and went straight into the barriers. I broke the front nose, which is annoying, but still we were lucky and were able to continue.”
Earl Bamber (car number 19):
“A really nice triple stint. The car is going well and is strong, I can’t complain. We were looking after the tyres. The pace is really hot, this is getting a very quick race for 24-hours.”
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