Heartbreak, late drama and a scary near-miss in LMP2
If the fight for the overall victory wasn’t exactly gripping, the same could not be said for the astonishing LMP2 division. It’s always tight and super-competitive, but the late drama that coloured this year’s race will be hard to match.
Some big accidents marred the LMP2 race during the 24 Hours, including a heavy collision between two of the United Autosports entries that ruined hopes of a repeat victory for the dominant team of 2020. Then there was poor Sophia Floersch, who was tagged into a shunt at the Porsche Curves by a rival, then T-boned by another car. Having survived a horror Formula 3 shunt at Macau in the past, she can once again count her lucky stars. This time she headed for the medical centre, but escaped any serious injury.
Late drama was to come. Races swinging in the final hour at Le Mans is far from unheard of, but it doesn’t usually happen on the last lap. This climax was almost like something out of Steve McQueen’s Le Mans movie script.
The WRT team, best known for its exploits in GT3, had put in an amazing performance with both its cars leading most of the way. Then on the final lap, the lead #41 car driven by Yifei Ye stopped at the Dunlop Curves and refused to re-fire, robbing a crew that included Robert Kubica of a debut class victory at the great race. So cruel. That left the sister #31 entry to take the class win, driven in the final stint by Robin Frijns – but this victory even now was far from in the bag. The Formula E racer had the #28 Jota entry driven by Tom Blomqvist breathing down his neck and as the majority of the field toured to the traditional ceremonial finish, they continued to sprint towards the end of the lap. As the chequered flag bearer stood in the road to wave home the Toyotas, Frijns darted through the traffic to make the line and almost ran into him. Too close. But for WRT, against a grid packed with quality, this remained a happy ending. What an achievement on its first time out.