Porsche maintained its lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the third hour, as the relentless fight between all three LMP1 factory teams continued.
Brendon Hartley maintained a narrow lead in the #1 919 over the #6 Toyota of Mike Conway and the #8 Audi of Loic Duval, with all three cars covered by less than three seconds before the third round of pitstops began late in the hour.
While Hartley maintained the lead after the stops, crucially Toyota has proved it is able to extend its stints to 14 laps, which could pay dividends over the course of the remaining 21 hours.
The gap between the three leaders fluctuated based on traffic for much of the hour, but while Conway almost emerged from his pitstop in the lead, Duval lost touch with the front pair as he struggled for pace after his stop.
Sebastien Buemi (#5 Toyota) and Romain Dumas (#2 Porsche) remained within one minute of the lead, but neither car has been able to stay on terms with the lead trio so far.
LMP2 - MERHI PULLS AWAY
By Mitchell Adam
Roberto Merhi nearly tripled the LMP2 lead he and Manor claimed in the second hour.
Merhi started the hour with an 18s advantage over Thiriet by TDS Racing's Mathias Beche, but finished more than 45s clear.
After the third round of pitstops, Merhi's advantage over Rene Rast - who lost track position during the first round of pitstops - had been cut from 40s to 30s, through a combination of traffic and a yellow flag when the Greaves Motorsport Ligier spun at Arnage.
Merhi stabilised the pace and was able to pull away again, but Rast had closed to right behind Beche before suffering a puncture just four laps after his previous stop.
The unscheduled stop meant G-Drive's Rast ended the hour out of sequence and in eighth, nearly two minutes behind Merhi.
KCMG's Richard Bradley is right behind Beche in third, with Strakka's Jonny Kane holding down fourth ahead of Jake Dennis in the G-Drive Gibson and Signatech Alpine's Nicolas Lapierre, recovering after a late switch from wets to intermediates in the second hour.
GTE PRO - FERRARI VERSUS FORD
By Scott Mitchell
Ford and Ferrari remain locked in a fierce GTE battle, with Dirk Muller assuming a brief lead at the end of the third hour.
The real fight for top spot in the Pro class was between Risi Competizione's Giancarlo Fisichella and Richard Westbrook in the #69 Ganassi Ford.
Westbrook took the lead in the previous pitstops, helped by the #92 Porsche replacing Frederic Makowiecki with Earl Bamber.
He was then caught by James Calado in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari and Fisichella's Risi entry, before Calado had to pit early.
The #51 car's fortunes worsened when Gianmaria Bruni, who replaced Calado, had to bring the 488 GTE back in shortly after with an electrical issue that meant it was wheeled into the garage.
In its wake, Fisichella attacked and after being rebuffed assumed the lead when Westbrook stopped.
The Italian then forfeited his own advantage to the #68 Ford of Dirk Muller when his scheduled stop was made at the end of the hour.
Muller had been some 20 seconds off that lead battle, despite a fine comeback in his GT after a slow first stop.
GTE AM - LONG LEADS FOR PROTON
By Jack Cozens
Wolf Henzler and Patrick Long's battle for Porsche supremacy in GTE Am continued to rage, with Abu Dhabi Proton driver Long handed the lead after Henzler pitted.
Henzler had led his Porsche counterpart at the start of the third hour, and retained the lead at the end of it as the pair twice traded places.
But with less than a second separating the two, Henzler headed for the pits at the end of the hour as Long was poised to pounce.
German Henzler rejoined in a comfortable second, with he and Long having enjoyed more than a pitstop's worth of time in hand over Ben Barker in the third-placed #86 Porsche.
POSITIONS AFTER THREE HOURS:
|1||LMP1||#1 Porsche||Bernhard, Webber, Hartley||44|
|2||LMP1||#6 Toyota||Sarrazin, Conway, Kobayashi||44||+ 11.089s|
|3||LMP1||#8 Audi||Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis||44||+ 23.674s|
|4||LMP1||#5 Toyota||Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima||44||+ 34.423s|
|5||LMP1||#2 Porsche||Dumas, Jani, Lieb||44||+ 50.485s|
|6||LMP1||#13 Rebellion||Tuscher, Imperatori, Kraihamer||42||+ 2 Laps|
|7||LMP2||#44 Oreca||Graves, Rao, Merhi||41||+ 3 Laps|
|8||LMP2||#47 Oreca||Matsuda, Howson, Bradley||41||+ 38.004s|
|9||LMP2||#46 Oreca||Thiriet, Beche, Hirakawa||41||+ 43.677s|
|10||LMP2||#36 Alpine||Menezes, Lapierre, Richelmi||41||+ 1m14.687s|
|11||LMP2||#42 Gibson||Leventis, Watts, Kane||41||+ 1m16.992s|
|12||LMP2||#38 Gibson||Dolan, Dennis, Van Der Garde||41||+ 1m18.312s|
|13||LMP2||#26 Oreca||Rusinov, Stevens, Rast||41||+ 1m55.883s|
|14||LMP2||#31 Ligier||Dalziel, Derani, Cumming||40||+ 4 Laps|
|15||LMP2||#25 Ligier||Munemann, Hoy, Pizzitola||40||+ 30.450s|
|16||LMP2||#37 BR01||Petrov, Shaytar, Ladygin||40||+ 37.694s|
|17||LMP2||#23 Ligier||Barthez, Chatin, Buret||40||+ 46.698s|
|18||LMP2||#35 Alpine||Cheng, Tung, Panciatici||40||+ 47.786s|
|19||LMP2||#27 BR01||Minassian, Mediani, Aleshin||40||+ 2m16.514s|
|20||LMP2||#33 Oreca||Pu, Gommendy, De Bruijn||39||+ 5 Laps|
|21||LMP2||#40 Ligier||Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa||39||+ 36.936s|
|22||LMP2||#41 Ligier||Rojas, Canal, Berthon||39||+ 39.295s|
|23||GTE Pro||#68 Ford||Hand, Muller, Bourdais||39||+ 1m09.216s|
|24||GTE Pro||#91 Porsche||Pilet, Estre, Tandy||39||+ 1m28.714s|
|25||GTE Pro||#66 Ford||Pla, Mucke, Johnson||39||+ 1m31.166s|
|26||LMP2||#30 Ligier||Sharp, Brown, Van Overbeek||39||+ 1m48.333s|
|27||GTE Pro||#82 Ferrari||Fisichella, Vilander, Malucelli||39||+ 2m11.827s|
|28||GTE Pro||#69 Ford||Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon||39||+ 2m18.325s|
|29||GTE Pro||#77 Porsche||Lietz, Christensen, Eng||39||+ 2m27.142s|
|30||GTE Pro||#92 Porsche||Makowiecki, Bamber, Bergmeister||39||+ 2m27.974s|
|31||GTE Pro||#63 Chevrolet||Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor||39||+ 2m43.846s|
|32||GTE Pro||#95 Aston||Thiim, Sorensen, Turner||39||+ 2m57.410s|
|33||GTE Pro||#71 Ferrari||Rigon, Bird, Bertolini||39||+ 3m12.052s|
|34||GTE Pro||#64 Chevrolet||Gavin, Milner, Taylor||39||+ 3m13.993s|
|35||GTE Am||#88 Porsche||Al Qubaisi, Heinemeier Hansson, Long||39||+ 3m30.405s|
|36||LMP1||#12 Rebellion||Prost, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr||39||+ 3m38.170s|
|37||GTE Pro||#97 Aston||Stanaway, Rees, Adam||39||+ 3m45.679s|
|38||GTE Am||#78 Porsche||Ried, Henzler, Camathias||39||+ 4m19.200s|
|39||GTE Am||#98 Aston||Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda||38||+ 6 Laps|
|40||LMP1||#7 Audi||Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer||38||+ 2.344s|
|41||GTE Am||#61 Ferrari||Mok, Sawa, Bell||38||+ 6.957s|
|42||GTE Am||#86 Porsche||Wainwright, Carroll, Barker||38||+ 11.293s|
|43||GTE Am||#62 Ferrari||Sweedler, Bell, Segal||38||+ 21.593s|
|44||GTE Am||#50 Chevrolet||Yamagishi, Ragues, Belloc||38||+ 22.164s|
|45||CDNT||#84 Morgan||Sausset, Tinseau, Bouvet||38||+ 26.791s|
|46||GTE Am||#89 Porsche||Macneil, Keen, Miller||38||+ 33.699s|
|47||GTE Am||#55 Ferrari||Cameron, Griffin, Scott||38||+ 45.981s|
|48||GTE Am||#57 Chevrolet||O'Connel, Bryant, Patterson||38||+ 52.641s|
|49||LMP2||#22 Ligier||Capillaire, Maris, Coleman||38||+ 1m19.458s|
|50||LMP2||#49 Ligier||Pew, Negri Jr, Vanthoor||38||+ 1m40.006s|
|51||LMP2||#43 Ligier||Gonzalez, Senna, Albuquerque||37||+ 7 Laps|
|52||LMP2||#48 Oreca||Keating, Bleekemolen, Goossens||37||+ 3m15.650s|
|53||LMP1||#4 CLM||Trummer, Webb, Kaffer||37||+ 11m39.324s|
|54||GTE Am||#99 Aston||Howard, Griffin, Hirsch||37||+ 11m59.916s|
|55||GTE Am||#83 Ferrari||Perrodo, Collard, Aguas||37||+ 14m14.328s|
|56||GTE Pro||#51 Ferrari||Bruni, Calado, Pier Guidi||36||+ 8 Laps|
|57||LMP2||#34 Oreca||Leutwiler, Nakano, Winslow||36||+ 12m13.365s|
|58||LMP2||#28 Morgan||Taittinger, Striebig, Roussel||36||+ 12m54.006s|
|59||GTE Am||#60 Ferrari||Laursen, Mac, Nielsen||34||+ 10 Laps|
|60||GTE Pro||#67 Ford||Franchitti, Priaulx, Tincknell||17||+ 27 Laps|