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Le Mans victory #8 Toyota’s to lose through Hour 20

James Pavey

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Sunday 20th September, 2020 - 7:12pm

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The #8 led into the morning pic: Toyota Gazoo Racing

The #8 Toyota remains on course for victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans with four hours remaining as the two Rebellions battle over the minor placings in LMP1.

Brendon Hartley extended the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid’s overall lead over the #1 Rebellion to five laps, but just over 16 seconds splits Romain Dumas and Gustavo Menezes (#3 Rebellion) in third.

Following a mid-race turbo failure which forced 30 minutes of repairs, the #7 Toyota remains seven laps down, albeit in with a minor chance to reach the podium.

With the sun rising over La Sarthe, the race entered the final four hours following a relatively incident-free run through the night, a surprise considering the minimal track time given to drivers under dark in the lead-up to the race.

This weekend’s race featured approximately four more hours in darkness due to the September date, with the 2020 event pushed from its traditional June slot as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Complacency could yet play its role as the afternoon creeps closer, with the #1 Rebellion pushed into the garage on Hour 18 for a nose change after Bruno Senna complained of vibrations.

To Hour 20, the race had seen 10 retirements and one disqualification, with the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2 Oreca removed for violating rules against drivers receiving outside assistance.

In Hour 7, when the #37 stopped with an electrical problem with Gabriel Aubry at the wheel, it was revealed a team member had met Aubry and supplied a part to assist with the repair.

The LMP2 battle is in favour of the Hyperpole-winning #22 United Autosports Oreca, with Filipe Albuquerque holding a near-two-minute lead over the trailing #38 Jota Oreca with Antonio Felix da Costa behind the wheel.

It was a particularly stirring effort from Albuquerque, who completed a triple stint in the early hours of the morning despite battling with blurred vision due to an oily windscreen.

In LMGTE Pro, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari is the meat in an Aston Martin Racing sandwich, with Maxime Martin aboard the class-leading #97.

The disappointment continued for the Porsche GT Team, with the #91 suffering identical power steering issues as the #92 911 RSR-19. Both cars had dropped back to 10 and 15 laps respectively behind the class leader.

The #90 TF Sport crew had enjoyed a clean run to Hour 20, with Jonathan Adam holding a one-lap lead over Australian Matt Campbell’s #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche with Riccardo Pera at the helm.

CLICK HERE for classification to Hour 20.

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