Hours of Le Mans

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In fact, an LMP2 vehicle - the No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing (yep, that's actually what the team is called) - narrowly missed out on finishing first outright but still claimed P2 ahead of the No.13 Rebellion LMP2.

The Kiwi pair and their German teammate, Timo Bernhard, fought their way back from last place after a mechanical issue forced their vehicle into the pit for over 45 minutes.

That twin disaster left Toyota with one vehicle still out on the track, driven by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima. But with roughly 210 minutes to go, the race-leading Porsche suffered a mechanical failure that forced it into early retirement. "I had 100 percent confidence in the auto and when you're in that frame of mind, you can do great things", said Kobayashi, who drove at an average speed of 251.882 kph. Their drivers, Robert Smith, Dries Vanthoor, and former Manor Formula 1 driver Will Stevens, drove a clean, smooth race in a class that is sometimes thought to carry a stigma for unforced spins and ill-advised passes. Then, his vehicle stopped with flames shooting out of it. As night fell on Saturday Toyota, who made their Le Mans debut in 1986, were sitting pretty with the vehicle of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin holding a comfortable lead. Another Porsche driver, New Zealander Earl Bamber, had to admit that Bernard's comeback win is nothing short of spectacular.

Toyota's Le Mans fortunes died in the dark. But the remaining Porsche 919 Hybrid, stone last on Saturday evening, reeled in the film star's surprise leader, pouncing to seize control on the fastest section of the fabled Sarthe circuit on lap 348.

Bewilderingly leading Le Mans was a Chinese-entered Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca Gibson shared by hardened Pom and ex-Audi racer Oliver Jarvis, impressive teenage rookie Thomas Laurent of France, and Ho-Pin Tung of China. Into the tense final hours, Hartley threw himself into the battle, frantically slicing through the slower cars as he charged towards the front.

And for believing in us and giving us your passionate support for 24 hours all the way to the end, I want to express my deepest appreciation.

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The Japanese giant's TS050 Hybrid gut wrenchingly ground to a halt with just over three minutes of the race left previous year while it was leading.

It was another manic, hard-to-believe, Le Mans.

The #2 auto had been rapidly making up time ever since their hour in the pits and went into the final few hours knowing that they could catch the leaders.

"But, anyway, no matter where you are, we win!"

Next in the lineup of favorites were the two Porsches and, finally, the lone other prototype in the 58-car field, the ENSO CLM P1/01 of Bykolles Racing.

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