Porsche experienced the highs and lows of the Le Mans 24 Hours during the ninth hour, with Neel Jani taking the lead in the #2 car while the sister #1 machine was effectively eliminated from victory contention.
Jani took the lead four minutes before midnight, passing Mike Conway's Toyota into the first Mulsanne chicance.
Conway had just taken over the #6 Toyota from Stephane Sarrazin following a safety car period, emerging from the pits just ahead of Jani.
But the Swiss got a run on Conway out of Tertre Rouge, pulling alongside on the straight and completing the move into the chicane.
Jani was nine laps into his stint at the time, meaning Conway is set to retake the lead in four laps - with the Porsche and the Toyota's fuel stops offset thanks to the latter's ability to run one lap longer on each stint.
The #1 Porsche that led earlier would have been third, but for being wheeled into the pits early in the hour with high water temperatures.
It was still there at the end of the hour, now 11 laps down.
Sebastien Buemi runs third in the #5 Toyota, which he took over from Kazuki Nakajima under the safety car, 80 seconds behind.
The #8 Audi of Loic Duval is fourth and a lap down after losing time in the previous hour with a visit to the garage for work to be done on its lights.
The second #7 Audi of Benoit Treluyer is running sixth behind the #13 Rebellion, eight laps down, after having to make three visits to the garage.
LMP2 - SAFETY CAR PLAYS INTO TDS' HANDS
By Mitchell Adam
Thiriet by TDS Racing now leads LMP2 by nearly a lap following the safety car period, Pierre Thiriet nearly three minutes ahead of Signatech Alpine's Nicolas Lapierre at midnight.
From just over one minute at the start of the hour, Lapierre closed the gap before Thiriet pitted, then passed him on the track before making Signatech's 11th stop five laps later - levelling the tally between the two cars at the time.
Thiriet was 52s ahead when the safety car was called, and Signatech elected to pit Lapierre, meaning he rejoined in the safety car pack behind the race leader, accounting for the new margin of 2m48s.
The G-Drive entries are third and fourth on the road, Rene Rast one lap down and running in the same group on the road as Thiriet, and Jake Dennis a further lap behind in the team's Gibson.
Jonny Kane is currently fifth for Strakka, just ahead of Vitaly Petrov in the first of the two SMP Racing BR01s.
The KCMG ORECA has returned to the team's garage and ultimately the track, despite briefly being declared a retirement, but is the last of the LMP2 runners, 21 laps down.
Manor has also faced more problems, with Tor Graves pitting with rear-end damage that delayed it further, before former class leader Roberto Merhi rejoined the field just before midnight.
GTE FIGHT MOVES TO A HEAD-TO-HEAD
By Scott Mitchell and Jack Cozens
The Ford vs Ferrari fight at the front of GTE edged towards to a one-on-one after two of the Ford GTs got cut adrift.
Dirk Muller led in the #68 GT, with the #82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE running second despite a driver change late in the hour under the safety car.
Giancarlo Fisichella made way for Toni Vilander, who rejoined a minute and a half behind Muller - which became 17 seconds after Muller pitted.
The #69 Ford GT paid the price for being half a minute off the lead earlier in the hour by being picked up by a different safety car to the leaders, and it duly lost a large chunk of time.
Richard Westbrook ended the hour some 50 seconds behind Vilander and over a minute behind team-mate Muller.
The lead Aston Martin Racing Vantage has moved up to fourth after a mechanical issue for the #66 Ford.
Oliver Pla had taken third in the previous hour in his GT but suffered an electrical problem at his pitstop that cost him a lap and dropped the car to ninth, before he recovered to sixth.
The #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche returned to the lead of the GTE Am field in the hands of Patrick Long, as two cars ran into trouble in the first hour of darkness.
Paul Dalla Lana was the first to do so, stopping the #98 Aston that led at the start of the hour in the gravel at the Porsche Curves after complaining that he was tagged by a prototype.
Francois Perrodo then went off at Mulsanne in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari and got stuck, with the two incidents requiring the safety cars to be deployed - although both cars were recovered to the pits and returned to the circuit.
Long is now a comfortable 1m44s clear of Bill Sweedler in the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari, which had jumped the #98 Aston during the pitstop phase.
POSITIONS AFTER NINE HOURS
|1||LMP1||#2 Porsche||Dumas, Jani, Lieb||139|
|2||LMP1||#6 Toyota||Sarrazin, Conway, Kobayashi||139||+ 1.769s|
|3||LMP1||#5 Toyota||Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima||139||+ 1m18.289s|
|4||LMP1||#8 Audi||Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis||138||+ 1 Lap|
|5||LMP1||#13 Rebellion||Tuscher, Imperatori, Kraihamer||132||+ 7 Laps|
|6||LMP1||#7 Audi||Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer||131||+ 8 Laps|
|7||LMP2||#46 Oreca||Thiriet, Beche, Hirakawa||130||+ 9 Laps|
|8||LMP1||#1 Porsche||Bernhard, Webber, Hartley||129||+ 10 Laps|
|9||LMP2||#36 Alpine||Menezes, Lapierre, Richelmi||129||+ 47m52.032s|
|10||LMP2||#26 Oreca||Rusinov, Stevens, Rast||129||+ 48m47.787s|
|11||LMP2||#38 Gibson||Dolan, Dennis, Van Der Garde||128||+ 11 Laps|
|12||LMP2||#42 Gibson||Leventis, Watts, Kane||128||+ 2m06.115s|
|13||LMP2||#37 BR01||Petrov, Shaytar, Ladygin||127||+ 12 Laps|
|14||LMP2||#27 BR01||Minassian, Mediani, Aleshin||127||+ 1m42.635s|
|15||LMP2||#35 Alpine||Cheng, Tung, Panciatici||127||+ 1m47.502s|
|16||LMP2||#33 Oreca||Pu, Gommendy, De Bruijn||126||+ 13 Laps|
|17||LMP2||#41 Ligier||Rojas, Canal, Berthon||125||+ 14 Laps|
|18||LMP2||#31 Ligier||Dalziel, Derani, Cumming||124||+ 15 Laps|
|19||GTE Pro||#68 Ford||Hand, Muller, Bourdais||124||+ 26.354s|
|20||GTE Pro||#82 Ferrari||Fisichella, Vilander, Malucelli||124||+ 1m40.887s|
|21||GTE Pro||#69 Ford||Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon||123||+ 16 Laps|
|22||LMP2||#49 Ligier||Pew, Negri Jr, Vanthoor||123||+ 1m22.481s|
|23||LMP2||#23 Ligier||Barthez, Chatin, Buret||123||+ 1m33.191s|
|24||LMP2||#30 Ligier||Sharp, Brown, Van Overbeek||123||+ 1m41.199s|
|25||LMP2||#25 Ligier||Munemann, Hoy, Pizzitola||123||+ 1m44.250s|
|26||GTE Pro||#77 Porsche||Lietz, Christensen, Eng||123||+ 3m11.658s|
|27||GTE Pro||#95 Aston||Thiim, Sorensen, Turner||123||+ 3m13.279s|
|28||GTE Pro||#66 Ford||Pla, Mucke, Johnson||122||+ 17 Laps|
|29||GTE Pro||#97 Aston||Stanaway, Rees, Adam||122||+ 5.617s|
|30||LMP2||#40 Ligier||Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa||122||+ 1m23.398s|
|31||GTE Pro||#64 Chevrolet||Gavin, Milner, Taylor||122||+ 1m23.686s|
|32||GTE Pro||#91 Porsche||Pilet, Estre, Tandy||122||+ 1m49.100s|
|33||GTE Pro||#71 Ferrari||Rigon, Bird, Bertolini||122||+ 1m53.129s|
|34||GTE Pro||#63 Chevrolet||Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor||122||+ 3m11.592s|
|35||GTE Am||#88 Porsche||Al Qubaisi, Heinemeier Hansson, Long||120||+ 19 Laps|
|36||LMP2||#43 Ligier||Gonzalez, Senna, Albuquerque||120||+ 1m02.958s|
|37||GTE Am||#62 Ferrari||Sweedler, Bell, Segal||120||+ 1m43.571s|
|38||CDNT||#84 Morgan||Sausset, Tinseau, Bouvet||120||+ 3m07.314s|
|39||LMP2||#22 Ligier||Capillaire, Maris, Coleman||119||+ 20 Laps|
|40||GTE Am||#55 Ferrari||Cameron, Griffin, Scott||119||+ 7.300s|
|41||LMP1||#12 Rebellion||Prost, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr||119||+ 1m02.669s|
|42||GTE Am||#61 Ferrari||Mok, Sawa, Bell||119||+ 2m47.058s|
|43||GTE Am||#50 Chevrolet||Yamagishi, Ragues, Belloc||118||+ 21 Laps|
|44||LMP2||#48 Oreca||Keating, Bleekemolen, Goossens||118||+ 1m02.063s|
|45||GTE Am||#86 Porsche||Wainwright, Carroll, Barker||118||+ 1m06.522s|
|46||GTE Am||#83 Ferrari||Perrodo, Collard, Aguas||118||+ 1m08.657s|
|47||GTE Am||#98 Aston||Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda||117||+ 22 Laps|
|48||LMP2||#34 Oreca||Leutwiler, Nakano, Winslow||117||+ 2m25.769s|
|49||GTE Am||#60 Ferrari||Laursen, Mac, Nielsen||116||+ 23 Laps|
|50||GTE Am||#78 Porsche||Ried, Henzler, Camathias||115||+ 24 Laps|
|51||GTE Am||#99 Aston||Howard, Griffin, Hirsch||114||+ 25 Laps|
|52||LMP2||#44 Oreca||Graves, Rao, Merhi||113||+ 26 Laps|
|53||GTE Pro||#51 Ferrari||Bruni, Calado, Pier Guidi||111||+ 28 Laps|
|54||LMP2||#28 Morgan||Taittinger, Striebig, Roussel||108||+ 31 Laps|
|55||LMP2||#47 Oreca||Matsuda, Howson, Bradley||108||+ 23m09.045s|
|56||GTE Pro||#92 Porsche||Makowiecki, Bamber, Bergmeister||105||+ 34 Laps|
|57||LMP1||#4 CLM||Trummer, Webb, Kaffer||103||+ 36 Laps|
|58||GTE Am||#57 Chevrolet||O'Connel, Bryant, Patterson||102||+ 37 Laps|
|59||GTE Pro||#67 Ford||Franchitti, Priaulx, Tincknell||97||+ 42 Laps|
|60||GTE Am||#89 Porsche||Macneil, Keen, Miller||50||Retired|