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Le Mans 24H: Iron Dames briefly lead, battle in the top-5 with 4H to go

At the restart from the overnight rain, Iron Dames remain in contention for a strong finish, having briefly led during a pit cycle in the hands of Michelle Gatting and following great overtakes by Rahel Frey – with now four hours to go.


Sarah Bovy, Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Le Mans 24H 2024
Photo credits: FIA WEC / DPPI

The first hour of the night at Le Mans were marked by the recoveries of Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting, after Sarah Bovy had been pushed off and into a spin by the #4 Porsche hypercar, after a great triple stint by the Belgian.


Nevertheless, the Iron Dames always fought their way up and, when the darkness fell, they were back in contention for a top five, cycling up to third during the rounds of pit stops.


As the race passed the half-way mark, though, heavy rain arrived and forced race control to deploy the safety car. The neutralization lasted over four hours: Sarah Bovy completed an entire triple-stint behind the pace car, but ran as high as third.


The restart finally happened for the final eight hours of racing: just ahead of the #85 Lamborghini, Jack Hawkworth pitted straight away when the green flag waved, promoting Gatting to seventh.

Visibility at full speed remained extremely critical, with lap times over 30 seconds from personal bests.

Gatting kept it clean and picked up another position after class leader Klaus Bachler’s pit stop.


Visibility at full speed remained extremely critical, with lap times over 30 seconds from personal bests.

Gatting kept it clean and picked up another position after class leader Klaus Bachler’s pit stop.


The Dane’s lap times were on par with most platinum-rated drivers – and a few seconds per lap faster than Gelael. The Iron Dame soon caught the BMW and engaged in a close battle with the Indonesian: after a side by side hard but clean fight, positions remained unchanged, although Michelle got ahead when Gelael pitted.

She then gained more places over Boguslavskiy and Hamaguchi, climbing back to third place by lap 186 – one lap before her own stop.


Michelle emerged in second place after her strong run in the rain; the sun, though, was out for the first time – and the track dried rather quickly, leaving the Dane struggling to keep the wet weather tyres alive.

Having traded positions with Hamaguchi, Gatting eventually changed to the slicks. While she survived a couple of close moments on the cold tyre in her outlap, Michelle kept her cool and held seventh place.


As she ran from fifth to sixth, a massive accident for the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 of Daniel Mancinelli required the intervention of the third safety car to recover the car upside down into the barriers at Indianapolis.


Several LMGT3 cars pitted, while Michelle stayed out – and took the lead of the race for the first time in the 2024 Le Mans 24 Hours, with six hours to go.

Stopping on lap 200 from the lead, Rahel Frey took over, cycling back to seventh, after a duel-filled triple stint for Gatting.

An off for the #93 Peugeot hypercar under safety car postponed the restart, and when the pass around was completed, Iron Dames found themselves in fifth.


On a fully dry track, the green flag fell and Rahel immediately seized the opportunity to clear the McLaren of Marino Sato with a clean pass at the Dunlop chicane.

The Japanese driver fought back – but Rahel ultimately snatched fourth place after a slow zone restart.


The United Autosport McLarens came back – but Frey responded with purple sectors and a new personal best for the team in 4:00.214.

The battle with Saucy continued – with the McLarens having an advantage on the straights. Rahel, however, made a move stick into Indianapolis for third, as the race entered the final 5 hours.


All the front-runners LMGT3 pitted at the same time: the Lamborghini fell behind Saucy as well as Pedersen; the Swiss ace put her head down, caught and passed again the #59 McLaren, then overtook Mikkel Pedersen despite the latter ended up squeezing her onto the grass.


Once ahead, Rahel logged fast, consistent laps, pulling away from the cars behind.

When Saucy’s car came to a halt on track, Frey pitted, anticipating a Full Course Yellow – that indeed arrived. After 21 stops, Rahel Frey continues at the helm of the #85 Iron Dames Huracan in fifth place, with 4 hours to go.

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