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HomeMOTORSPORTFerrari Triumphs at the Rain-Soaked 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

Ferrari Triumphs at the Rain-Soaked 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

In an electrifying display of speed, strategy, and endurance, Ferrari clinched victory at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, navigating through rain-soaked challenges that kept fans on the edge of their seats. The race, marked by unexpected twists and a dramatic final showdown, saw Ferrari once again rise to the occasion, securing its place at the pinnacle of motorsport with an 11th overall victory at Le Mans, with a win that will go down in history as one of the best ever.

The 499P: A New Legend

After last year’s historic Centenary race victory, Ferrari’s 499P was a favourite going into this year’s event. However, the race unfolded with surprising developments that kept everyone guessing. The factory’s red 499Ps led early, but it was the yellow privateer entry of Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, and Yifei Ye that stole the spotlight.

From the very start, the #50 and #51 Ferrari factory cars set a blistering pace. Nicklas Nielsen in the #50 took the lead from Porsche’s Laurens Vanthoor, with Antonio Giovinazzi in the #51 quickly following suit. Within minutes, Ferrari had established a commanding presence at the front. Meanwhile, Kubica’s determined drive saw the #83 car climb from 12th to 5th, setting the stage for an exciting race.

Weather Woes and Strategic Mastery

The tifosi’s hopes for Ferrari dominance were dampened, quite literally, as rain began to fall just before sunset. Teams scrambled to adapt their strategies, with several switching to wet-weather tires. While some, like the #51 Ferrari and #6 Porsche, opted for rain tires early, Kubica’s choice of soft slicks for the #83 car proved inspired. As the track dried, Shwartzman took over and built a significant lead.

Saturday evening brought more rain and more strategic pivots. The #83 Ferrari, now on wet Michelins, lapped 30 seconds faster than its rivals. However, a collision with the #15 BMW M Hybrid V8 led to a 30-second penalty for Kubica, derailing their progress. The final blow came when Yifei Ye brought the car in with smoke pouring from it, ending their race prematurely.

Nighttime Drama and Tactical Prowess

As night fell, the race became a three-way battle between Porsche Penske Motorsport, Toyota Gazoo Racing, and Ferrari AF Corse. The #8 Toyota GR010-Hybrid led through the night, but heavy rain and safety car periods created a tense, unpredictable atmosphere. Drivers conserved fuel and avoided mistakes, awaiting the dawn and the chance to push hard once more.

By the early hours of Sunday, 11 cars were still on the lead lap, each vying for victory. The rain ceased, and the pace quickened. Toyota, Porsche, and Ferrari engaged in intense skirmishes, with each team striving to gain the upper hand.

The Final Showdown

Seven hours from the end, the rain returned, intensifying the battle. Toyota’s #8 GR010-Hybrid faltered after contact with the #51 Ferrari, setting the stage for a Ferrari one-two. However, the #7 Toyota, driven by José María López, Kamui Kobayashi, and Nyck de Vries, split the Ferraris, finishing just 14.221 seconds behind the leading #50 Ferrari.

Antonio Fuoco’s 46th lap was the fastest for much of the race, but a stunning lap by Alex Palou in the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R, followed by an even quicker one from Kobayashi, showcased the relentless pace of the competitors. The final rain shower added to the drama, but Ferrari’s strategic excellence and driver skill proved decisive.

Class Wins and Notable Performances

In the LMGT3 class, Porsche emerged victorious, with the #91 Manthey EMA car driven by Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring, and Richard Lietz taking the win. The race was fiercely contested, with nine manufacturers in the mix, but Porsche’s consistent performance and strategic acumen saw them through.

United Autosports returned to the top in the LMP2 class. The #22 Oreca 07-Gibson, driven by Oliver Jarvis, Bijoy Garg, and Nolan Siegel, took the win after a hard-fought battle. Several teams led at different points, but United Autosports’ experience and strategy paid off.

Last Word

Ferrari’s triumph at Le Mans in 2024 not only underscores their engineering prowess but also reaffirms their legacy in endurance racing. As the motorsport world looks ahead, the echoes of this historic victory will surely resonate for years to come.

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