With two hours remaining at Le Mans, fatigue has almost certainly set in among the fans trackside, though the on-track action remains calm and mostly clean at this late stage.
Toyota has all but won this race, its pair of GR010s continuing to hold dominant positions. The No. 7 is now a lap ahead of the No. 8 once again, as the team was forced to bring the No. 8 in for a passenger door change, costing the crew valuable time.
Behind, the gap between the Alpine and leading No. 708 Glickenhaus is 31s, the more economical 007 still in with a shot at third, though it does owe a pitstop shortly.
In LMP2, a small drama for WRT’s No. 31 ORECA – which leads the class – has woken up the crew on the pit wall. The car’s air jacks are not working properly, so to change a full set of tires, the team now needs to pit twice: once to change the fronts, a second time to change the rears. Depending on how the drivers manage tire wear, this could cost the No. 31 a victory over the sister No. 41, which is just nine seconds behind as things stand.
JOTA’s No. 28 ORECA is also not too far back, just 54s adrift in third. Could there be a surprise result for the British team after hours and hours of comfortable running for the Belgian GT3 stalwarts?
In the GTE classes, Corvette’s challenge for the Pro win appears to be fading, and the gap between Antonio Garcia in the No. 63 and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the leading No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari is now 51s. The C8.R doesn’t appear to have the pace to catch and pass, though it is still nevertheless right there if the lead 488 hits trouble.
GTE Am’s lead battle also appears to be settled. After a somewhat heroic effort by Ben Keating to get the TF Sport No. 33 Aston into the lead over the No. 83, Alessio Rovera was able to pull a gap and swing the pendulum back to AF Corse’s No. 83.
TF Sport then had to pit Keating early due to an engine misfire, meaning he will have to continue driving, going over his minimum drive time as a Bronze driver of six hours. This is costing the team time each lap, and potentially forces the team to make an additional stop. Tom Ferrier’s team’s chances of victory suddenly look slim…
HOUR 22 STANDINGS