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  • Writer's pictureRACERS

Le Mans 24H: Iron Dames climb to top-5 after opening 4 Hours

After the first four hours of racing at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, Iron Dames moved into the top three in the hands of Rahel Frey, who took the start from ninth position, and continues to run in the top five in between pit cycles with Sarah Bovy currently behind the wheel.

Rahel Frey, Iron Dames Lamborghini Huracan GT3, Le Mans 24H 2024
Photo credits: FIAWEC / DPPI

After the first four hours of racing at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans, Iron Dames moved into the top three in the hands of Rahel Frey, who took the start from ninth position after the team had missed the Hyperpole session by 0.030 of a second.

With extremely changeable weather conditions – and with a start on damp track after earlier rain – Frey’s experience and racecraft was on full display, with a particularly impressive second stint, when she stayed out on slicks in the rain to grab third place.

With their trademark consistent pace, Iron Dames are cycling from sixth to third in between rounds of pit stops, with Sarah Bovy behind the wheel of the #85 Lamborghini after a triple stint for the Swiss racer.

In the morning, Rahel Frey had a good session in the warm up – and it would in fact be the Swiss racer to get in the driving seat for the start of the race at 3pm in the afternoon: her experience took centre stage for the first stint of the biggest race of the year.

Under menacing skies and a wet and cold track, cars lined up on the grid. At 4pm, the French flag waved by Zinedine Zidane dropped, officially launching the 92nd Le Mans 24 Hours.

From ninth on the grid, Rahel Frey held position and slotted behind Iron Lynx’s teammate Matteo Cressoni, in a LMGT3 field led by the Inception Motorsport McLaren driven by Frederik Schandorff and incident free throughout the pack.

Rahel battled with the #59 United Autosport McLaren of Gregoire Saucy, with positions traded on the Mulsanne straight. With the Manthey Porsche holding up a group of LMGT3 cars, Rahel fell behind the #44 Ford Mustang and the #87 Akkodis Lexus, in a tricky traffic moment with hypercars starting to lap the LMGT3 field on lap 6.

Forty minutes into the race, GT3 cars took to the pits for the first pit stop; Rahel pitted from P14 and remained behind the wheel. The rest of the class field pitted one lap later – and Rahel was back up to P12, with several teams opting to line up their AMs at this stage of the race.

Frey caught and passed Hoshino and picked up another position on Hawksworth moving up to P11. Traffic shuffled the Swiss racer back, but she then recovered 11th after a great pass under braking on the Heart of Racing Aston of Ian James. Her pace improved and ran on very consistent times throughout her second stint. She was back into the pits on lap 19.

A great stop by the crew allowed Rahel to jump ahead of a few more cars after the second pit stop cycle: the #85 Lamborghini rejoined in eighth place, having also passed James Cottingham’s United McLaren. With some clean air ahead, Rahel also cleared Ahmad Al Harthy’s Team WRT BMW, grabbing sixth after 90 minutes of racing.

Faster than the PureRxcing Porsche, Frey significantly closed in – but the focus switched to the sky, as rain arrived at La Sarthe.

While several cars pitted for wets, Rahel opted to stay out and moved up into third place – as the Iron Dame was running very competitively in these extremely challenging conditions.

Despite a little moment at Arnage, Rahel caught Ryan Hardwick – and overtook him soon after, although Christopher Mies sneaked past.

Frey continued to put pressure on the #44 Proton Mustang. The gamble to stay on slicks paid off as the rain eased: the Iron Dames Lamborghini eventually pitted again as the race entered its third hour, completing a stunning stint that saw the Swiss ace moving from P14 to third.

Having cycled back to fourth, Frey and Mies resumed their battle, again separated by around one second. A slow zone at the Dunlop chicane was deployed for the accident of Thomas Flohr in the #23 Vistajet Ferrari.

Once the class leader eventually pitted, Rahel moved back into the top-3 mid-way through her third stint.

Over the next 20 minutes, Frey continued to run at a good pace, settling around 3 seconds behind the second-placed Proton Mustang. She pitted on lap 40 for the first driver change, with Sarah Bovy taking over the wheel of the #85 Huracan.

The Belgian had a great outlap and then continued to gain time over fellow bronze driver Al Harthy and Yoluc; as more LMGT3 cars pitted, she climbed to fifth, having also cleared Yasser Shahin.

Despite having to manage heavy traffic and with some light rain reappearing, Bovy overtook Takeshi Kimura for fourth, 20 minutes into her run.

The first full course yellow of the race was called soon after, but the green flag followed immediately.

Bovy pitted from fourth on lap 50, as she had found a good rhythm.

Just as Bovy left the pits, a second short FCY was deployed. At the green flag, Bovy found herself sixth and defended well from Malykhin, but the two then traded positions as the race approached its fourth hour. Sarah Bovy is currently running fourth in LMGT3.



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