24-Hour Le Man: A Game Changer?
From Brian Laban, at Le Mans
Midnight: Against all weather forecast predictions, it’s a lovely night, that just ticked over from Saturday into Sunday with none of the promised rain, and cooling down fast now, but still just a bit too breezy for the traditional banzai-lap fest.
More exciting, we just had a potential game changer, as Mark Webber in the 17 919 Hybrid was called in from the lead for a one-minute stop-go penalty – for speeding in the earlier Mulsanne Corner slow-zone. Total pit-lane time is 1m 34s, which gives Rast in the 9 Audi all the time in the world to come in at the same time for a simple, fast fuel stop. Webber still needs one of those, so he’s back on the next lap, and suddenly a long way behind rather than a blink in front.
It shakes the order out to 19 Porsche, 9 Audi, 7 Audi, 17 Porsche, 18 Porsche, 8 Audi. They are still running 3m 20 laps for fun; still barely twenty seconds cover the top three; and there are still fifteen hours to run. What’s looking increasingly obvious is that a lot of what they showed in qualifying was tosh.