24 Hours of Le Mans entry list updated on race website

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The entry list for the 90th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans was first revealed in February, with a 56-car grid split between four classes: LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am. On Tuesday, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) put out the latest update, with the driver lineups for each car all but set. It can be viewed here.

A total of eight LMP1 cars, 22 LMP2, 12 GTE Pro and 13 GTE Am, plus the experimental Green GT LMP H2 hydrogen-powered as the “Garage 56” entrant, make up the field.

Twenty-nine of the 56 are registered as full-season entrants in the FIA World Endurance Championship, although Le Mans always features a “bumper crop” of entries.

Audi has won the last two years with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler in versions of its R18, first the R18 TDI in 2011 and the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid a year ago.

There are 17 ex-Formula One drivers on the entry list. They include:

  • LMP1: Allan McNish, Marc Gene, Lucas di Grassi (Audi), Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi, Stephane Sarrazin (Toyota), Nick Heidfeld (Rebellion Lola Toyota)
  • LMP2: Shinji Nakano (Delta-ADR Oreca Nissan)
  • GTE Pro: Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kamui Kobayashi, Olivier Beretta (AF Corse Ferrari), Jan Magnussen (Corvette), Pedro Lamy, Bruno Senna (Aston Martin)

There are also nearly 20 American drivers in the field. They include:

  • LMP2: Kevin Weeda (Lotus), Scott Tucker (Level 5 HPD), Alexander Rossi, Eric Lux (Greaves Zytek Nissan), Matt Downs, Rodin Younessi (Boutsen Ginion Oreca Nissan), Mark Patterson (Murphy Oreca Nissan)
  • GTE Pro: Jordan Taylor (Corvette), Tommy Milner (Corvette), Tommy Kendall, Jonathan Bomarito (SRT Viper), Bill Auberlen (Aston Martin)
  • GTE Am: Ricky Taylor, Cooper MacNeil (Larbre Corvette), Howard Blank (AF Corse Ferrari), Tracy Krohn (Krohn Ferrari), Patrick Dempsey, Joe Foster, Michael Avenatti (Dempsey Proton Porsche)

A handful of other names to note include Tucker’s teammates at Level 5 HPD, Marino Franchitti and Ryan Briscoe, Mike Conway (G-Drive) in his Le Mans debut and Christophe Bouchut (Lotus) in his 20th Le Mans start.

Neuville wins Rally Australia; Ogier takes FIA WRC title

Sebastien Ogier. Photo: Getty Images
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COFFS HARBOUR, Australia (AP) Belgium’s Thierry Neuville won Rally Australia by 22.5 seconds on Sunday as torrential rain added drama to the last day of the last race of the World Rally Championship season.

Neuville entered the final day with an almost 20 second advantage after inheriting the rally lead Saturday when his Hyundai teammate, defending champion Andreas Mikkelsen crashed and was forced to retire for the day.

His lead was halved by Jari-Matti Latvala early Sunday as monsoon-like rain made conditions treacherous on muddy forest stages on the New South Wales coast. The rain stopped on the short Wedding Bells stage where Neuville was almost 5 seconds quicker than his rivals, stretching his lead to 14.7 seconds entering the last stage.

COFFS HARBOUR, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 17: Thierry Neuville of Belgium and Nicolas Gilsoul of Belgium compete in their Hyundai Motorsport WRT Hyundai i20 coupe WRC during Day One of the WRC Australia on November 17, 2017 in COFFS HARBOUR, Australia. (Photo by Massimo Bettiol/Getty Images)

That stage was full of incident. The driver’s door on Neuville’s Hyundai i20 coupe swung open in the middle of the stage and Neuville had to slam it closed as he approached a corner.

Latvala’s Toyota then crashed seconds from the end of the stage, allowing Estonia’s Ott Tanak, in a Ford, to take second place overall and New Zealalnd’s Haydon Paddon, in a Hyundai, to sneak into third.

Sebastian Ogier was fourth after winning the final, power stage but the Frenchman had already clinched his fifth world title before Rally Australia began. Neuville’s win was his fourth of the season, two more than Ogier, and was enough to give him second place in world drivers’ standings for the third time in five years.

Ogier owed his drivers’ title to his consistency: he retired only once and finished no worse than fifth all season.

Neuville admitted the last day was touch and go as the rain made some stages perilous, forcing the cancellation of the second to last stage.

“That was a hell of a ride,” Neuville said. “Really, really tricky conditions.

“I kept the car on the road but it was close sometimes. I knew I could make a difference but I had to be clever. You lose grip, you lose control and the car doesn’t respond to your input.”