Le Mans 2018: update on Sunday morning

Morning has broken at Le Mans – but the same cannot to be said of the two Toyota TS050 HYBRIDs… The pair have survived the night and continue to lead the 24 Hours with less than a quarter of the race still to run. The manufacturer remains on target to end its curse at a race it has been trying to win for more than 30 years.

It was a relatively calm night at the Circuit de la Sarthe, with remarkably few major incidents to report. The #7 Toyota had led, with the #8 sister entry that includes F1 superstar Fernando Alonso among its line-up finding itself playing a support role. That wasn’t in the script.

But in the morning, during the 16th hour, the order switched around. Whether it was stage-managed or genuine, Kazuki Nakajima passed Kamui Kobayashi into Mulsanne Corner. Both cars would later be penalised with a one-minute stop-go for speeding in a slow zone, but with more than 10 laps on the pair of Rebellion R-13s still running third and fourth it made little difference to the complexion of a race that appears very much in Toyota’s grip.

One incident of note was Ben Hanley’s accident in the DragonSpeed BR1. The car slithered off and hit the barriers hard. Hanley did well to nurse the car back to the pits, but it was in a sorry state. With SMP’s problems with its pair of BR1s and the troubles that befell the Ginetta challenge in the early stages, the long-time LMP2 leader is now running fifth overall. The G-Drive ORECA of Jean-Eric Vergne, Andrea Pizzitola and Roman Rusinov is a lap clear of the Panis-Barthez Ligier that is chasing it.

GTE continues to be dominated by Porsche. The #92 ‘Pink Pig’ entry still leads the Pro category, a couple of minutes clear of the sister ‘Rothmans’ 911. A pair of the Ford GTs continue to chase, seemingly in vain, while one of the Corvettes is in the mix too. But with the Dempsey-Proton #77 Porsche leading GTE Am too, it’s the Stuttgart marque’s race to lose.