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LM24 Hour 13: Delay For #3 Rebellion, #40 ORECA Out

Things going bump in the night!

LMP1

Major news for the hour was trouble for the #3 Rebellion R13, the car into the garage from third place for attention to the underbody.

A rapid (sub 9 minute) fix was impressive, but not enough to prevent losing the position to the sister #1 Rebellion with Neel Jani now 6 laps down on the Toyotas.

The lead gap was still coming down, but the rate of closing had slowed – under 40 seconds at the top of the hour, Kazuki Nakajima now chasing Jose Maria Lopez.

LMP2

The #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217 Gibson was spotted on track with a jet of flame playing from the right hand exhaust, the car pitted and garaged after what appeared to be a minor engine bay fire – Giedo van der Garde took the car back out after a ten-minute delay.

A car in much bigger trouble was the #40 G-Drive/ Graff Racing ORECA, Jose Gutierrez losing the car at the exit of the Porsche Curves which then hit the wall backwards hard, losing the rear wing and ending up back in the middle of the road facing traffic.

Gutierrez was out of the car under his own steam immediately, the car out of the race on the spot, the sixth official retirement.

Graham Goodwin

GTE-Pro and GTE-Am

Regular pitstops aside, it proved hard to find anything to comment upon as time moved inexorably onwards, and the sixteen GTE-Pro contenders continued to circulate with almost metronomic regularity The stops were routine, every forty minutes or so, and the only changes came when cars pitted out of sequence.

Only two positions were under contention. In GTE-Pro, the #69 Ford GT 40 was tight on the tail of its sister car, the #67, with less than two seconds between them, and fifth in class at stake.

Meanwhile Giancarlo Fisichella aboard the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari and Pat Lindsey in the #56 Project 1 Porsche were also contesting fifth, but in GTE-Am. They shared the added incentive of having Al Qubaisi in the #88 Dempsey Proton Porsche within sight, and offering the tempting prospect of fourth.

Heading up to the end of the hour we had drama for the #40 G-Drive LMP2, effectively into instant retirement after high-speed contact with the wall through the Porsche Curves. Then a couple of minutes later, the #61 Clearwater Ferrari slewed sideways on the run into the Mulsanne Corner, but narrowly avoided the gravel. After a brief pause, Keita Sawa headed on towards Indianapolis and, ultimately, a return to the pits, just as the hour concluded.

Marcus Potts