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Le Mans hour 23: Kobayashi pit error costs #7 Toyota a lap

#7 Toyota pitstop Le Mans 2018

The #7 Toyota has lost a lap in the battle for victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours after Kamui Kobayashi was forced to crawl back to the pits.

Kobayashi was 55 seconds down on the leading #8 TS050 HYBRID 20 minutes into the penultimate hour, but he slowed dramatically shortly after crossing the start/finish line and cruised round the opening part of his next lap, because he forgot to pit at the correct time - making it marginal on fuel to get back around.

He was lapped by leader Kazuki Nakajima before he reached the final sector, but then picked up speed again as he came through the Porsche Curves towards the back end of the circuit.

Kobayashi returned to the pits and was then sent back out by Toyota mechanics after inspecting the car.

The #7 avoided being lapped for a second time, but its crew's hopes of winning the race now rest effectively on the sister car - shared by Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso - encountering a problem in the final 60 minutes of the race.

Gustavo Menezes held third place in the #3 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 ahead of the sister #1 car driven by Neel Jani.

The #1 was ahead briefly in the previous hour, but Jani was forced to slow to close his left-hand door and then made an unscheduled stop that dropped him back behind the #3 - which spent 11 hours from Saturday evening until Sunday morning in third before it was temporarily displaced.

Menezes is currently 1m27s ahead of Jani, with the two cars having made the same number of planned stops.

G-Drive still clear in LMP2

Nicolas Lapierre has been installed in the chasing #36 Signatech-Alpine, but the two-lap deficit to G-Drive means a repeat of his 2016 victory with the team looks unlikely barring any unforeseen issues.

The battle for the final podium position looks to have been decided in favour of the #39 Graff-So24 Racing ORECA, with Tristan Gommendy managing an advantage of 1m12s over Loic Duval's #28 TDS Racing ORECA.

United Autosports' podium hopes all-but evaporated when Hugo de Sadeleer suffered a left-rear puncture at Mulsanne Corner and dropped a lap behind from the battling cars ahead.

The Swiss is still fifth, four laps ahead of the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA with Jazeman Jaafar at the wheel.

'Pink Pig' in control

Porsche is heading for victory in GTE Pro, with its #92 car holding an advantage of just under two minutes at the 23-hour mark.

Kevin Estre allowed what had been a lead of 2m09s to shrink to 1m56s in the 'Pink Pig'-themed 911 RSR, with the #91 Rothmans-coloured sister Manthey car consolidating its second place ahead of the final hour.

With 60 minutes left on the clock, Dirk Muller had dropped 17s adrift of the #91 car in the leading Ganassi-run Ford GT, while Harry Tincknell was more than a minute behind in the fourth-placed #66 car.

Corvette's sole remaining entry remains a lapped fifth in the hands of Antonio Garcia ahead of the top Ferrari, the #52 AF Corse 488 GTE Evo of Antonio Giovinazzi.

The #69 Ford remains stuck in the garage more than an hour on from Richard Westbrook having to pit with electrical issues and is now 14th and last in class.

That problem promoted the top Aston Martin Vantage to ninth place, albeit four laps down.

GTE Am honours appear destined to go to the Dempsey-Proton Porsche squad, which held a lead of 3m26s as the race entered its final hour.

Matt Campbell had the #77 Porsche's advantage out to more than a lap, but ex-F1 star Giancarlo Fisichella was able to get the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari back on the lead tour.

Positions after 23 hours

1LMP1#8 ToyotaBuemi, Nakajima, Alonso370
2LMP1#7 ToyotaConway, Kobayashi, Lopez369+ 1 Lap
3LMP1#3 RebellionLaurent, Beche, Menezes358+ 12 Laps
4LMP1#1 RebellionLotterer, Jani, Senna357+ 13 Laps
5LMP2#26 OrecaRusinov, Pizzitola, Vergne352+ 18 Laps
6LMP2#36 AlpineLapierre, Negrao, Thiriet349+ 21 Laps
7LMP2#39 OrecaCapillaire, Hirschi, Gommendy348+ 22 Laps
8LMP2#28 OrecaPerrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval348+ 1m22.029s
9LMP2#32 LigierDe Sadeleer, Owen, Montoya347+ 23 Laps
10LMP2#37 OrecaJaafar, Jeffri, Tan343+ 27 Laps
11LMP2#31 OrecaGonzalez, Maldonado, Berthon343+ 2m18.562s
12LMP2#29 DallaraVan Eerd, Van Der Garde, Lammers340+ 30 Laps
13LMP2#38 OrecaTung, Richelmi, Aubry339+ 31 Laps
14LMP2#33 LigierCheng, Boulle, Nicolet338+ 32 Laps
15LMP2#44 LigierBertolini, Jonsson, Krohn334+ 36 Laps
16LMP2#23 LigierBuret, Canal, Stevens334+ 18m31.841s
17LMP2#35 DallaraShaitar, Newey, Nato333+ 37 Laps
18GTE Pro#92 PorscheChristensen, Estre, Vanthoor327+ 43 Laps
19GTE Pro#91 PorscheLietz, Bruni, Makowiecki327+ 1m56.557s
20GTE Pro#68 FordHand, Muller, Bourdais327+ 2m14.256s
21GTE Pro#67 FordPriaulx, Tincknell, Kanaan327+ 3m19.010s
22GTE Pro#63 ChevroletMagnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller326+ 44 Laps
23LMP2#47 DallaraLacorte, Sernagiotto, Nasr325+ 45 Laps
24GTE Pro#52 FerrariVilander, Giovinazzi, Derani325+ 1m29.845s
25GTE Pro#66 FordMucke, Pla, Johnson324+ 46 Laps
26GTE Pro#51 FerrariPier Guidi, Calado, Serra323+ 47 Laps
27GTE Pro#95 AstonSorensen, Thiim, Turner322+ 48 Laps
28GTE Pro#71 FerrariRigon, Bird, Molina321+ 49 Laps
29GTE Am#77 PorscheCampbell, Ried, Andlauer320+ 50 Laps
30GTE Am#54 FerrariFlohr, Castellacci, Fisichella319+ 51 Laps
31GTE Pro#81 BMWTomczyk, Catsburg, Eng318+ 52 Laps
32GTE Am#85 FerrariKeating, Bleekemolen, Stolz318+ 12.145s
33GTE Pro#93 PorschePilet, Tandy, Bamber318+ 1m12.730s
34GTE Am#99 PorscheLong, Pappas, Pumpelly318+ 1m27.983s
35GTE Am#84 FerrariGriffin, Macneil, Segal316+ 54 Laps
36GTE Am#80 PorscheBabini, Nielsen, Maris316+ 21.951s
37GTE Am#56 PorscheBergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti316+ 49.026s
38GTE Am#61 FerrariMok, Griffin, Sawa316+ 2m43.287s
39LMP2#50 LigierCreed, Ricci, Dagoneau315+ 55 Laps
40LMP1#11 BRPetrov, Aleshin, Button314+ 56 Laps
41GTE Pro#97 AstonLynn, Martin, Adam311+ 59 Laps
42GTE Pro#69 FordBriscoe, Westbrook, Dixon310+ 60 Laps
43GTE Am#70 FerrariIshikawa, Beretta, Cheever309+ 61 Laps
44GTE Am#90 AstonYoluc, Hankey, Eastwood304+ 66 Laps
45GTE Am#86 PorscheWainwright, Barker, Davison280+ 90 Laps
46LMP1#5 GinettaRobertson, Simpson, Roussel279+ 91 Laps
47LMP2#48 OrecaLafargue, Chatin, Rojas312Retired
48LMP2#22 LigierHanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta288Retired
49GTE Pro#64 ChevroletGavin, Milner, Fassler259Retired
50LMP1#10 BRHedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande244Retired
51LMP2#25 LigierPatterson, De Jong, Kim237Retired
52GTE Am#88 PorscheCairoli, Al Qubaisi, Roda225Retired
53GTE Pro#82 BMWFarfus, Felix Da Costa, Sims223Retired
54LMP2#40 OrecaAllen, Gutierrez, Guibbert197Retired
55LMP2#34 LigierTaylor, Ledogar, Heinemeier-Hansson195Retired
56LMP1#6 GinettaRowland, Brundle, Turvey137Retired
57LMP1#17 BRSarrazin, Orudzhev, Isaakyan123Retired
58GTE Pro#94 PorscheDumas, Bernhard, Muller92Retired
59GTE Am#98 AstonDalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda92Retired
60LMP1#4 EnsoWebb, Kraihamer, Dillmann65Retired
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