Drama at Le Mans: Leader Lost Victory On The Last Lap Of The 24-Hour Race! Video


Drama at Le Mans: Leader Lost Victory On The Last Lap Of The 24-Hour Race! Video

This year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans turned out to be rather boring: the main favorite of the Hypercar category – Toyota Gazoo Racing – was in the lead in the “absolute” with two crews – and this despite the collision of one of them on the first lap and problems with the fuel system along the course ! In LMP2 – the most massive category in 2021 – there was no struggle in the last hours either: two crews of the debut team Team WRT were in the lead and controlled the gap from their rivals from JOTA. Until the last lap …

Drama for Kubica, triumph for Freins

The Chinese driver Ye Yifei, Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz, finished their shifts in the carriage No. 41 . The Chinese had a 30-plus second lead before Robin Freins , a teammate whose crew was in second position. At the same time, the Dutchman himself hardly thought of fighting for victory: a few seconds behind was Antonio Felix da Costa from JOTA and the slightest mistake would have cost the team a double.

However, Ye was worth worrying about: on the last lap, his car stopped on the track! There were no official comments from Team WRT at the time of preparation – and it is unclear whether there was a breakdown in the car or the engineers made a mistake when calculating the fuel, but for the crew, in any case, it was all over.

Video copyright owned by The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). You can watch the video on Twitter 24 Hours of Le Mans .

At the same time, Oreca No. 41 covered 362 complete laps – and could potentially qualify for third place in LMP2 (Panis Racing No. 65 also drove 362, but completed the last lap later No. 41). The rules, however, prescribe that the last lap of the crew must be at least a certain standard, and therefore Kubica and his teammates are considered unclassified and will not receive bronze awards.

The victory in LMP2 was eventually won by Robin Freins, Charles Milesi and Ferdinand Habsburg – despite the problems of the crew number 41, Team WRT managed to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the first try! The second were Stoffel Vandorn, Sean Gelael and Tom Blomkvist from the JOTA team – they would have had a better chance of winning if not for the penalties. As a result, the third position went to Julien Canal, Will Stevens and James Allen – the three crew of Panis Racing No. 65.

For G-Drive Racing, this Le Mans, alas, turned out to be a disappointment: at the very beginning of the night phase of the race, both crews got into accidents. First, Franco Colapinto bumped into Sofia Flursch , and then Rui Andrade could not resist on the track and flew into the barriers. The mechanics managed to get one of the crews back into the race, but with a huge lag. Roman Rusinov dragged the car to the finish line – in seventh position in the class, five laps from the winners. The dream of the Russian team to win again remained only a dream.

Justice for Kobayashi

There were no such dramas in the Hypercar standings: Mike Conway , Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez, who went ahead at the start , coped with the technical problems that arose and successfully finished first. Sébastien Buemi’s crew , turned in the first corner by Olivier Pla of Glickenhaus Racing, bounced back after these problems and didn’t even chase too much of their teammates – No. 8 won three previous Le Mans marathons. Before the finish line, Toyota Gazoo Racing held a double pit stop so that its cars passed the checkered flag together.

Video copyright owned by The Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). You can watch the video on Twitter 24 Hours of Le Mans .

For Kobayashi and Conway, this victory was a kind of compensation for 2017, when they led the race with Stefan Sarrazen , but withdrew due to grip problems. Then, for three years in a row, he, along with Jose-Maria Lopez, followed the progress of his teammates. And now it’s finally time for the “seven”: in the 2020 season, this crew won the World Endurance Championship, and now – their first Le Mans.

André Negran, Nicolas Lapierre and Mathieu Vaxivier of the Alpine Elf Matmut team became the bronze medalists of this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans . Of the boxes, these three were supported by their Formula 1 teammate, Esteban Ocon , however, this did not help against Toyota Gazoo Racing. Alpine hoped to run 12 laps in one segment, and this should have helped in the fight for victory, but already in the first hour Lapierre turned around, crew No. 36 lagged behind and did not rise above the third position.

Rounding out the top 5 were Glickenhaus Racing cars that arrived at Le Mans for the first time. The pace was obviously not enough for them, but both reached the finish line – and this is already a great success! James Glickenhouse himself did not leave the command bridge for a minute and closely followed everything that happened on the track – for the 71-year-old entrepreneur, the race was also a test. “I’m happy to be here. Of course, we are not yet able to fight the giants, but the fact that cars with your name are participating in this race, and you are standing in the very place where the great history of motorsport was created, is a fairy tale! ” – he noted.

You won’t be full of history

How happy it was to look at Glickenhaus, just as sad while things are in the hypercar class – this year there were only five cars in the top category. At the same time, the overwhelming technical advantage of Toyota Gazoo Racing was obvious even before the start, and the hopes of Alpine Elf Matmut were too speculative.

Next year, a new Peugeot project, 9X8, should be launched, but it is unlikely that it will be competitive right off the bat, given Toyota’s many years of experience. Now the racing of sports prototypes is stagnating, and within a year there is no need to expect radical changes in the top category, but if “hypercars” still become popular with manufacturers, a new golden age awaits WEC. So we wish good luck to the new head of the championship, Frederic Lekien, and we will mentally prepare for the fifth consecutive victory of Toyota Gazoo Racing – the last time Audi did this in 2014.


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