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Ferrari does it again: Victory at Le Mans!

Text & Images: Rick Kiewiet

Ferrari managed to score a second victory in a row in the 2024 24 hours of Le Mans. Where Giovinazzi, Calado and Pier Guidi crossed the line first last year, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen and Antonio Fuoco in the #50 kept the honors of the Prancing Horse high this edition. It marks their first victory in the 24-hour classic and Ferrari's 11th. More than 25% of the race was behind safety car, making it the shortest edition in years: a mere 311 laps were completed. However 9 cars finished in the lead lap, which is a record.

The #50 finished 14.221 seconds ahead of the #7 Toyota of Nyck de Vries, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi. In the later stages of the race the #7 quickly closed in on the Ferrari, helped even more by Nielsen needing to pit to fix his right door after a duel. Behind the Toyota, the #51 Ferrari finished third. Giovinazzi, Calado and Fuoco fought a hard duel with the #8 Toyota of Buemi, Hirakawa and Hartley, that culminated into contact, a spin for Hartley and a 5 second penalty for the Ferrari.

Hartley's spin gave room to Laurens Vanthoor to take over 4th in the first of the Porsches, the #6 Penske he shared with pole sitter Kevin Estre and Andre Lotterer. Vanthoor came quite close to the Ferrari, but the race was a couple of minutes too short to make a move for the podium. The other Penske Porsche, the #5 finished 6th, just ahead of the #2 Cadillac that led multiple times during the last hours. Bad luck with the safety car dropped it out of contention for the win.

The #12 and #38 JOTA Porsche's finished 8th and 9th while the top-10 was completed by the #63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini.

United Autosports managed to defeat last years winners' Inter Europol by a margin of about 18 seconds. The trio in the #22, Jarvis, Garg and Siegel came back after a drive through Saturday evening, but they managed to navigate best through the treacherous conditions of the night. Novalak, in the #34 he shared with Smiechowski and Lomko, managed to halve its gap towards Jarvis in the closing stages of the race, but that wasn't fast enough to even begin to threaten Jarvis. Lafargue, van Uitert and de Gerus completed the podium in the #28 IDEC Sports car.

Victory in LMGT3 went to the #91 Manthey Porsche of Richard Lietz, Morris Schuring and Yasser Shahin after being at or near the front of the field the entire race. They managed to finish over a lap ahead from the #31 WRT BMW M4 of Augusto Farfus, Darren Leung and Sean Galeal. Final step of the podium went to the #88 Proton Ford on the Mustang's debut at Le Mans.

A final note about the lengthy safety car phase late night to the early morning. There was almost four and a half hours behind the safety car, which is the longest I can remember. There was no apparent reason for running behind the safety car: yes it rained, but not extremely (far from it actually). No repairs were going on, why do we need to run so long behind the safety car? Drivers are (or should) be able to drive in the rain and the cars have rain tires. A trend appears that the decision to neutralize a race due to rain is taken more and more early. What's your opinion on the matter? Let us know with a comment!


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