On Saturday, at 2.30 pm Paris time, the legendary 24-hour race kicked off for the 88th time at Le Mans.
Mike Conway, the racer of the Toyota factory team, started from the pole, but already in the first turns, Bruno Senna rushed to attack him, driving the sports prototype of the Swiss team Rebellion, but the Briton retained the lead.
And then the events developed quite curiously: Sebastien Buemi, who started third, piloting the second Toyota car, tried to get ahead of Senna, but it turned out that the Rebellion’s speed was quite enough to repel the attacks of a formidable opponent. In terms of power, these cars are inferior to the hybrid sports prototypes of Toyota, but the Rebellion team relied on a higher pressure and, it seems, they calculated everything exactly: Bruno managed to keep good speed in the corners, and the advantage that Japanese cars should have on the straights was not enough.
However, the experienced Buemi, perhaps, simply decided not to rush: there are still almost 24 hours of race ahead, the situation will change more than once, and there is no point in giving all the best on the first lap.
Some of the participants immediately began to have technical problems: Andre Negrao, on his sports prototype of the Signatech Alpine team, turned into the pits after the first lap due to a coolant leak.
In the sixth position in the absolute and in the first in the LMP2 class, the car of the Zach Brown United Autosports team was driving, it was piloted by Felipe Albuquerque, but the yellow racing team Nederland sports prototype, driven by Guido van der Garde (by the way, on start, ahead of the car of the Russian team G-Drive Racing), but Alex Brandl, the racer of the second crew of United Autosports and the son of a popular racing commentator, entered into an argument with the Dutchman.
The fight lasted for about half a lap, after which Alex nevertheless came out ahead – thus, two United Autosports cars took the lead in their class, which, of course, was delighted by Zach Brown – this weekend he is at Le Mans, in the boxes of your team.
After six laps, the G-Drive Racing car with Jean-Eric Werne at the wheel was in 4th in class and 9th in absolute, but soon moved up one line as Guido van der Garde went to the pits as soon as yellow flags appeared on the track for the first time.
And they appeared after two GTEAm cars – Porsche of Patrick Dempsey’s Dempsey team – Proton Racing and Ferrari of Luzich Racing team – left the track. If the latter managed to avoid damage, then Porsche nevertheless kissed the barrier.
When van der Garde got to the boxes, the team threw the car into the garage – it turned out that there were some technical problems.
In general, the famous Sarte ring immediately began to show its character, and after all, only the first half hour of the race is behind – or else there will be …