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Stuttgart. For over ten hours the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) led the Le Mans 24-Hours. Then this year’s race saw another of its many victims: Shortly after 11am, Lotterer stopped on track in the high noon heat with a lead of 13 laps. At the same time the drivers of the sister Porsche, Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) continue to make up places. After a long stop for repairs early on Saturday evening, they have recovered from last to second position.
How the race goes for car number 1 since 06:00 hrs:
At 5.53am (end of lap 233), Neel Jani takes over the leading 919 Hybrid. After 248 and 261 laps he refuels. Nick Tandy gets behind the wheel of the leading car on fresh tyres after 275 laps at 8:38am. He refuels after 287 and again after 300 laps. At 10:51am (lap 313 completed), André Lotterer is back in the car. At 11:09am he radios “low oil pressure” to the pit crew. He is told to switch off the combustion engine. However, the current charging level of the battery doesn’t allow him to limp home electrically.
How the race goes for car number 2 since 06:00 hrs:
At 5:13am (after 206 laps, race lap 223) Timo Bernhard takes over the 919 that runs in 10th position overall. After 221 and 234 laps (race laps 238 and 251) Bernhard stops for fuel. At the end of lap 247 (race lap 264) he hands over to Earl Bamber, who continues at 8:00am on fresh tyres with the car still 10th overall and second in the LMP1 class. Bamber refuels after 260 and 273 laps (race laps 277 and 290). After 286 laps (race lap 303) at 10:16am, it is Brendon Hartley’s turn again, running 7th overall. He refuels after 299 laps and after 312 laps. Meanwhile he is driving in second position overall. After 325 laps Hartley hands over to Bernhard.
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 1:
Neel Jani (33, Switzerland): “We tried to nurse the car home but it was not to be. Mentally the stints were quite hard anyway because when you are not pushing to the limits, too many things and thoughts come up. Last year we had the luck on our side but this year was not the case.”
André Lotterer (35, Germany): “I drove until shortly before sunrise and then again from just before 11am. We were driving really conservatively but suddenly the oil pressure dropped. To retire this way is hard. But this is Le Mans.”
Nick Tandy (32, Great Britain): “There's been so many incidents in this race, it is unbelievable. There was a lot of debris on the track. It was tough to try to look after the car to avoid punctures for example. I listened out for any strange noises in the car like never before and all seemed okay.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 2
Earl Bamber (26, New Zealand): “It is hard to believe what happened to the sister car. We are now really pushing hard and the car is running well. It is a 24-hour race but for us to catch back up there may not be enough time.”
Timo Bernhard (36, Germany): “I was in the car for nearly three hours early in the morning. I’ve had safety car periods and slow zones which, of course, don’t help us to claw back places. But we never give up.”
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All results: http://fiawec.alkamelsystems.com
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