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Le Mans double points makes big impact on FIA WEC standings

Le Mans 24 Hour Race

LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 18: The Porsche Team 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb leads the field at the start of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit de la Sarthe on June 18, 2016 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)

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It’s not something you think about until long after the 24 Hours of Le Mans is over, but it is something you note:

It’s the first and only double points round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Therefore, results are magnified quite a bit.

Obviously, without any additional Le Mans-only entrants, the LMP1 category had its nine full-season cars finish in the nine positions in class. But if a car isn’t classified - as was the case for the No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid after its power loss cost it the win on Sunday - it means there’s no points scored.

Championship leaders Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb of Porsche provisionally extend their lead in the World Endurance Driver’s Championship to 39 points following their win (95-54). Second is Audi’s trio of Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis, with Toyota’s now leading trio of Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway just one point back of them.

The leading LMP1 privateer entry, the No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER trio of Dominik Kraihamer, Alexandre Imperatori and Matheo Tuscher, gained no points and remain stuck on 30 points, fifth in the standings. They’re tied with LMP2’s leading trio, Nicolas Lapierre, Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes, who won their second straight FIA WEC race in the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan.

Nightmare starts for the No. 1 Porsche and No. 5 Toyota crews leaves those squads with just 3.5 and 1 point, respectively. Even though it’s only three races into a six-race season, the No. 1 car trio of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley face a near impossible hill to climb if they are to defend their title.

In the World Endurance Manufacturer’s Championship, Porsche leads Audi and Toyota, 127-95-79.

Rebellion Racing’s No. 12 trio of Nelson Piquet Jr., Nick Heidfeld and Nicolas Prost actually leads the LMP1 Private Teams’ Drivers Trophy, having finished at Le Mans while the other two cars in class did not. It sees them 36 points clear (86-50) of the No. 13 crew, even though in the World Endurance Driver’s Championship points, they’re five back (30-25).

The Signatech Alpine trio’s lead in LMP2 driver points for the FIA Endurance Trophy is 23 points over Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov, who’ve been in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan for all three races. The car switched drivers from Nathanael Berthon to Will Stevens at Le Mans. The RGR Sport by Morand trio (Bruno Senna, Filipe Albuquerque, Ricardo Gonzalez) sit third (87-64-53).

A Ford trio leads the points in the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers, and it’s the trio that was first of the FIA WEC full-season runners in fourth in GTE-Pro on Sunday.

Olivier Pla, Stefan Muecke and Billy Johnson - the last of whom is only confirmed through Le Mans at the moment - gained the maximum 50 points with the result and have now springboarded to the top of the GT driver points with the result.

The trio of the No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT are eight points clear of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon of AF Corse, who won the opening two FIA WEC races in GTE-Pro in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE. Aston Martin Racing’s “Dane Train” car, even though Darren Turner is English and therefore only an “honorary Dane,” sits third, a further point back with No. 95 car co-drivers and actual Danes Marco Sorenson and Nicki Thiim.

Ranked fifth in these standings are the top GTE-Am drivers, Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas and Francois Perrodo, who finished second in GTE-Am on Sunday in their No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia. But like the No. 66 Ford, they were top of their class behind the non-FIA WEC-entered winning car from Scuderia Corsa.

They gain maximum points towards the FIA Endurance Trophy for GTE Am drivers, and like the LMP1 leaders have a 30-odd point lead over second place. Collard, Aguas and Perrodo have 93 points to the 55 scored by Abu Dhabi Proton Racing’s pairing of David Heinemeier Hansson and Khaled Al Qubaisi. Patrick Long missed the Silverstone season opener, otherwise he’d be on level footing.

Aston Martin Racing has now moved into the lead of the World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers. Aston Martin has 112 points to Ferrari’s 103; Ford has 98, and Porsche has 60.

The FIA WEC now heads into its usual summer break, off until the Nürburgring on July 24, for a resumption of the series’ usual six-hour races. It’s still a significantly shorter break than in previous years; the Nürburgring race was in August last year and before that, there were several months until Circuit of The Americas.

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