Motoring: Ferrari wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Buemi in the top 5

Motoring: Ferrari wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Buemi in the top 5
Motoring: Ferrari wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Buemi in the top 5

Ferrari wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Buemi in the top 5

Published today at 6:07 p.m.

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Ferrari won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the second time in a row this Sunday, at the end of an incredibly competitive 92nd edition on the Sarthe circuit. No less than nine cars finished on the same lap after an epic battle with Porsche, Toyota and Cadillac. Thanks to its No 50 driven by the Italian Antonio Fuoco, the Spaniard Miguel Molina and the Dane Nicklas Nielsen, the Prancing Horse brand won at Le Mans for the 11th time, the second in a row after its prestigious victory last year. last in the centenary edition.

A Toyota and the other Ferrari, the No 51 which triumphed in 2023, complete the podium. The first Porsche is 4th, just ahead of the Toyota No 8 of Sébastien Buemi (35 years old). This is the first time since 2017 that the Vaudois driver, winner of the competition four times (2018, 2019, 2020, 2022), has finished outside the first two places.

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Nine Swiss were involved

He nevertheless remains the highest ranked Swiss on the field. The closest, the Bernese Nico Müller (32 years old), ranked 12th with the Peugeot No 93. The Genevan Louis Delétraz (27 years old), lined up in the LMP2 category with the Oreca No 14, took 20th place ahead of No 65 (23rd) of another Genevan, Mathias Beche (37 years old), the No 24 (25th) of Lucernois Fabio Scherer (25 years old) and the Porsche No 99 (45th) of Saint-Gallois Neel Jani (40 years old) .

The Zurich resident Raffaele Marciello (29 years old), the Grison Thomas Flohr (64 years old) and the Jura Grégoire Saucy (24 years old) were, for their part, eliminated with the BMW M Hybrid No 15, the Ferrari No 54 and the McLaren No 59.

Zinédine Zidane at kick-off

The race, which was started by Zinédine Zidane, reached levels of intensity rarely seen this year: no less than nine Hypercars (the premier category) finished the race in the winner’s lap, which was not never happened. And never has a leader been able to take more than a handful of seconds ahead throughout the 24 Hours.

On the last lap, the Ferrari No. 50 then driven by Nielsen was on the verge of running out of fuel and only crossed the line with 2% of available energy, while the Toyota No. 7 was close behind it at around fifteen. seconds. “The hardest thing for me was when they asked me to ride slowly,” said the Dane, who let tears of emotion flow under his helmet as he passed the checkered flag: “The stand kept me informed (editor’s note: car reserves), but the last lap was so long, endless.”

Hard race

The match, which was expected to be fierce between three of the greatest manufacturers in the history of endurance (Ferrari, Porsche and Toyota), kept all its promises. The German brand fielded six cars in the premier category and was aiming for a twentieth victory in the Sarthe, which would have further improved its absolute record of 19 successes. Toyota, five consecutive winners from 2018 to 2022, had not digested its defeat last year and was looking for revenge. These “historicals” were joined by the American outsider Cadillac, never yet crowned at Le Mans.

For two rounds of the clock, the four manufacturers battled back and forth in the lead, depending on strategies, refueling and changes of drivers or tires. Never, until the last hour, was one really able to gain the upper hand over the others.

The promoters of the new premier category, Hypercars, launched in 2021, can rub their hands. The regulations, which are based on a “balance of performance” allowing organizers to bring cars closer together, are sometimes criticized. But it is thanks to him that endurance is now experiencing a new golden age, offering races that are more competitive than ever.

Valentino Rossi among the participants

The only downside is the more than six hours spent in total behind the safety car: more than a quarter of the race! The management’s decision to neutralize the event for more than four hours during the night, due to heavy rain, may have surprised – and disappointed – fans used to seeing fights in the rain at Le Mans. But the pilots seem to have appreciated it. “If we had restarted the race earlier, we knew that in the space of two laps, there would be another accident,” commented Peugeot driver Stoffel Vandoorne on Sunday morning.

In the lower categories, the Oreca No. 22 of the United Autosports team won in LMP2 and the Porsche No. 91 of the Manthey Ema team won in LMGT3, the category in which Valentino Rossi competed for the first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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The Italian motorcycle legend had to retire during the night, after his teammate went off the track at the wheel of their BMW, then in the top 5.

AFP/Sport-Center

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