Toyota and Porsche entered the final hour of the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours separated by roughly half a minute as their race-long battle at the front nears its conclusion.
The #5 Toyota in the hands of Kazuki Nakajima maintained its advantage over Neel Jani in the #2 Porsche, which hovered around the 30-second mark following the leading car's final driver change.
While Toyota appears to have the chasing Porsche under control, the fact both cars are separated by such a small margin after 23 hours sets up a tense final hour.
Porsche also started stretching the #2 car's stints to 14 laps, matching the tactic Toyota has employed throughout the race, but Jani has been unable to make any significant inroads into Nakajima's lead.
Toyota remains on course to have two cars on the podium, with the #6 TS050 that led for so long through the night still several laps clear of the fourth-placed Audi.
LMP2 - LAPIERRE TO BRING SIGNATECH HOME
By Mitchell Adam
G-Drive is still on the lead lap, but Signatech Alpine is one hour from its maiden Le Mans victory.
Nicolas Lapierre is back behind the wheel of the leading car, having taken over from Stephane Richelmi.
The driver change meant the G-Drive ORECA was able to stay on the same lap, but Roman Rusinov starts the final hour 3m15s adrift.
SMP Racing with Vitaly Petrov and Strakka Racing with Danny Watts are still third and fourth.
Pu Jun Jin is in the fifth-placed Eurasia Motorsport ORECA for the run home, with Julien Canal getting the nod for Greaves Motorsport.
Pegasus Racing's eventful weekend finished with another off at Mulsanne corner, with Ines Taittinger behind the wheel.
After the Morgan was retrieved under slow zone conditions, Taittinger had a punctured left-rear tyre, and stopped the car as it caught fire on the run to Indianapolis corner, leading to the deployment of another slow zone.
GTE PRO - VICTORY IN FORD'S SIGHTS
By Scott Mitchell
Ford is on course for a victorious return to Le Mans with Dirk Muller comfortably in control in the #68 GT.
The challenge from the Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE has faded in the last couple of hours and was blunted further when a slow zone coincided with the Ford's penultimate pitstop.
With Giancarlo Fisichella entering the slow zone as Muller's stop took place, that extended the Ford's advantage from 40-odd seconds to more than a minute.
Fisichella has done well to cover off the late push from the #69 Ford.
Despite Scott Dixon's best efforts, the second of the IMSA SportsCar Championship regular Ford entries appears set to settle for third.
GTE AM - COMFORTABLE FOR CORSA
By Jack Cozens
The #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari stands on the verge of the victory in the GTE Am class with a huge buffer between itself and the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche.
Jeff Segal consolidated the #62's lead in his second stint of the afternoon and enters the final hour of the race with a lead of more than two minutes, with David Heinemeier Hansson promoted back to second ahead of the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Emmanuel Collard after the pitstop phase.
POSITIONS AFTER 23 HOURS
|1||LMP1||#5 Toyota||Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima||367|
|2||LMP1||#2 Porsche||Dumas, Jani, Lieb||367||+ 27.987s|
|3||LMP1||#6 Toyota||Sarrazin, Conway, Kobayashi||363||+ 4 Laps|
|4||LMP1||#8 Audi||Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis||354||+ 13 Laps|
|5||LMP1||#7 Audi||Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer||349||+ 18 Laps|
|6||LMP2||#36 Alpine||Menezes, Lapierre, Richelmi||341||+ 26 Laps|
|7||LMP2||#26 Oreca||Rusinov, Stevens, Rast||340||+ 27 Laps|
|8||LMP2||#37 BR01||Petrov, Shaytar, Ladygin||336||+ 31 Laps|
|9||LMP2||#42 Gibson||Leventis, Watts, Kane||335||+ 32 Laps|
|10||LMP2||#33 Oreca||Pu, Gommendy, De Bruijn||332||+ 35 Laps|
|11||LMP2||#41 Ligier||Rojas, Canal, Berthon||331||+ 36 Laps|
|12||LMP2||#27 BR01||Minassian, Mediani, Aleshin||331||+ 1m35.641s|
|13||LMP2||#23 Ligier||Barthez, Chatin, Buret||330||+ 37 Laps|
|14||LMP2||#49 Ligier||Pew, Negri Jr, Vanthoor||329||+ 38 Laps|
|15||LMP1||#1 Porsche||Bernhard, Webber, Hartley||328||+ 39 Laps|
|16||LMP2||#43 Ligier||Gonzalez, Senna, Albuquerque||328||+ 2m02.742s|
|17||LMP2||#30 Ligier||Sharp, Brown, Van Overbeek||326||+ 41 Laps|
|18||LMP2||#25 Ligier||Munemann, Hoy, Pizzitola||325||+ 42 Laps|
|19||GTE Pro||#68 Ford||Hand, Muller, Bourdais||325||+ 7.187s|
|20||GTE Pro||#82 Ferrari||Fisichella, Vilander, Malucelli||324||+ 43 Laps|
|21||GTE Pro||#69 Ford||Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon||324||+ 22.040s|
|22||GTE Pro||#66 Ford||Pla, Mucke, Johnson||323||+ 44 Laps|
|23||LMP2||#40 Ligier||Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa||322||+ 45 Laps|
|24||GTE Pro||#95 Aston||Thiim, Sorensen, Turner||322||+ 58.772s|
|25||GTE Pro||#97 Aston||Stanaway, Rees, Adam||321||+ 46 Laps|
|26||GTE Pro||#63 Chevrolet||Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor||320||+ 47 Laps|
|27||GTE Am||#62 Ferrari||Sweedler, Bell, Segal||316||+ 51 Laps|
|28||GTE Am||#83 Ferrari||Perrodo, Collard, Aguas||315||+ 52 Laps|
|29||GTE Am||#88 Porsche||Al Qubaisi, Heinemeier Hansson, Long||315||+ 20.961s|
|30||GTE Am||#61 Ferrari||Mok, Sawa, Bell||314||+ 53 Laps|
|31||LMP1||#12 Rebellion||Prost, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr||313||+ 54 Laps|
|32||GTE Pro||#77 Porsche||Lietz, Christensen, Eng||313||+ 52.522s|
|33||LMP2||#22 Ligier||Capillaire, Maris, Coleman||313||+ 1m31.148s|
|34||GTE Am||#86 Porsche||Wainwright, Carroll, Barker||312||+ 55 Laps|
|35||LMP2||#48 Oreca||Keating, Bleekemolen, Goossens||308||+ 59 Laps|
|36||GTE Am||#60 Ferrari||Laursen, Mac, Nielsen||304||+ 63 Laps|
|37||GTE Am||#99 Aston||Howard, Griffin, Hirsch||303||+ 64 Laps|
|38||GTE Am||#50 Chevrolet||Yamagishi, Ragues, Belloc||300||+ 67 Laps|
|39||CDNT||#84 Morgan||Sausset, Tinseau, Bouvet||300||+ 2m05.845s|
|40||LMP2||#31 Ligier||Dalziel, Derani, Cumming||295||+ 72 Laps|
|41||LMP2||#28 Morgan||Taittinger, Striebig, Roussel||292||+ 75 Laps|
|42||GTE Am||#57 Chevrolet||O'Connel, Bryant, Patterson||291||+ 76 Laps|
|43||GTE Pro||#67 Ford||Franchitti, Priaulx, Tincknell||290||+ 77 Laps|
|44||GTE Am||#78 Porsche||Ried, Henzler, Camathias||285||+ 82 Laps|
|45||GTE Am||#55 Ferrari||Cameron, Griffin, Scott||283||+ 84 Laps|
|46||GTE Am||#98 Aston||Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda||281||+ 86 Laps|
|47||LMP2||#34 Oreca||Leutwiler, Nakano, Winslow||281||+ 2h00m04.717s|
|48||LMP2||#38 Gibson||Dolan, Dennis, Van Der Garde||222||+ 145 Laps|
|49||LMP1||#13 Rebellion||Tuscher, Imperatori, Kraihamer||200||+ 167 Laps|
|50||LMP2||#44 Oreca||Graves, Rao, Merhi||283||Retired|
|51||LMP2||#46 Oreca||Thiriet, Beche, Hirakawa||241||Retired|
|52||LMP2||#35 Alpine||Cheng, Tung, Panciatici||234||Retired|
|53||GTE Pro||#64 Chevrolet||Gavin, Milner, Taylor||219||Retired|
|54||LMP1||#4 CLM||Trummer, Webb, Kaffer||206||Retired|
|55||GTE Pro||#51 Ferrari||Bruni, Calado, Pier Guidi||179||Retired|
|56||GTE Pro||#71 Ferrari||Rigon, Bird, Bertolini||143||Retired|
|57||GTE Pro||#92 Porsche||Makowiecki, Bamber, Bergmeister||140||Retired|
|58||GTE Pro||#91 Porsche||Pilet, Estre, Tandy||135||Retired|
|59||LMP2||#47 Oreca||Matsuda, Howson, Bradley||116||Retired|
|60||GTE Am||#89 Porsche||Macneil, Keen, Miller||50||Retired|
Autosport has produced a standalone special magazine to celebrate our 70th birthday. All current print subscribers will receive a copy for free. To order your copy of the 196-page Autosport 70th Anniversary issue, please go to: autosport.com/autosport70th