Le Mans is always a race with heroes and heartbreak and the 2017 version of the event has been no different.
While Toyota has set the pace with the pole winning No. 7 machine of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin in the race lead, Porsche’s chances of winning again received a hit in the opening quarter of the race when the No.02 entry of Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber lost 19 laps in the pits when the car lost drive on the front axle.
At the six hour mark, the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid held second place with Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy with the No. 8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kaz Nakajima in third.
In the fiercely-contested GTE-Pro class it was heartbreak for the Risi Competizione Ferrari team. Just before the six hour mark Risi’s Pierre Kaffer was passed by the LM P2 machine of Mathieu Vaxivierre who moved over and made contact with the Ferrari before completing the pass.
Kaffer was turned sharp left before the first chicane with the Ferrari suffering heavy damage and forcing last year’s class runner-up out of the race.
At 1/4 race distance, the Aston Martin No. 97 of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra held the GTE-Pro lead from the No.67 (Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani) and the No. 66 (Mucke/Pla/Johnson) in second and third place.
Other class leaders included the Vaillante Rebellion LM P2 entry of Nico Prost, Julien Canal and Bruno Senna and the GTE-Am Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.
— FIA WEC (@FIAWEC) June 17, 2017