Mike Conway earned the polesitting #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID breathing space at the front of the field during the first hour of the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours.
Conway set several race-record-breaking laps in the first 10 laps to pull a gap of over 10 seconds before the #7 Toyota and the sister #8 car driven by Sebastien Buemi made their first pitstops.
Buemi had a more challenging start than Conway - losing second place early in the first lap when the #3 Rebellion Racing car driven by Gustavo Menezes gained a better exit out of Tertre Rouge to set up the move.
By the first lap's conclusion, Buemi was back into second place, but the #8 Toyota was hindered by traffic more than the lead car and currently trails Conway by 16s.
Menezes settled into third place, over 30s away from Buemi ahead.
Rebellion's attention had quickly turned to SMP Racing inside the first hour, with the four cars across the two teams drawn into battles.
The Rebellion squad made an early gain of around 10s through the first cycle of pitstops that meant SMP's #11 driver Vitaly Petrov had to fall back in fourth after a spirited early battle down the Mulsanne through to Indianapolis.
The second SMP machine, driven by Stephane Sarrazin, settled for fifth and was boosted by the #1 Rebellion of Bruno Senna slowing with some smoke reported at the rear of the car on the exit of the second Mulsanne chicane.
Senna brought the #1 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 into the pits inside the final 10 minutes of the hour and returned to the field near the rear of the LMP2 runners and now in 26th place overall.
That elevated both Tom Dillmann's ByKolles ENSO CLM-Gibson P1/01 and the #10 DragonSpeed BRE-Gibson BR1 of Ben Hanley into sixth and seventh respectively.
Those two machines ended the hour over a minute behind the LMP1 cars in front, before Dillmann made his second stop inside the final minutes - dropping to 11th overall - to promote Hanley into sixth.
LMP2 - Signatech-Alpine into lead
Nicolas Lapierre leads LMP2 after an hour of the race for Signatech-Alpine, having cleared the polesitting #28 TDS Racing ORECA during the first pitstop phase.
Third on the LMP2 grid, Lapierre took second from Anthony Davidson's DragonSpeed ORECA at the start and stayed in the wheeltracks of leader Matthieu Vaxiviere until the #28 car made its first pitstop on lap eight.
Lapierre emerged ahead when he came in one lap later and proceeded to stretch his advantage over Vaxiviere to 17s by lap 16.
Vaxiviere meanwhile had to turn his attentions to holding off stablemate Jean-Eric Vergne in the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA and the fast-starting Giedo van der Garde in the Racing Team Nederland Dallara, which ended the first lap fourth after starting eighth.
The Dutchman lost a place to Vergne through the pitstop phase thanks to G-Drive staying out one lap longer, but gained one back due to a slow first stop for Davidson, who fell as far as 10th before climbing back to sixth.
Van der Garde made his second stop shortly before the hour mark, promoting Paul-Loup Chatin to fourth for IDEC Sport, with Ho-Pin Tung's #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA fifth and Davidson sixth.
GTE - Corvette leads the pack
Corvette led the opening hour in GTE Pro, as Antonio Garcia moved up from third on the grid to the head of the order in the early stages in the #63 Corvette.
Garcia picked off Harry Tincknell's Ford early on before passing the polesitting #95 Aston Martin, driven by Nicki Thiim, on the run through Indianapolis and Arnage.
At the end of the hour, Garcia ran just ahead of the Porsches of Michael Christensen - who took over the #92 911 RSR at the first stops from Kevin Estre - and Nick Tandy in the #93.
Oliver Gavin had the sister #64 Corvette up to fourth after 60 minutes, jumping several positions during the first pitstops before passing the #68 Ford of Dirk Muller and the fading Aston Martin of Thiim.
Gianmaria Bruni ran fifth in the #91 Porsche ahead of Muller's Ford at the one-hour mark.
GTE Am was led by the Spirit of Race Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella ahead of Matt Campbell's #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche.
Matteo Cairoli had converted pole into an early lead in the #88 Proton Porsche, but his advantage was squandered when he handed over to Satoshi Hoshino at the first stop and the Japanese driver spun on the Mulsanne Straight.
Third in class was Ben Barker in the Gulf Racing Porsche ahead of the Keating Motorsports Ford GT of Jeroen Bleekemolen.
Positions after one hour
|1||LMP1||#7 Toyota||Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez||17|
|2||LMP1||#8 Toyota||Buemi, Nakajima, Alonso||17||+ 15.397s|
|3||LMP1||#3 Rebellion||Laurent, Berthon, Menezes||16||+ 1 Lap|
|4||LMP1||#11 BR||Petrov, Aleshin, Vandoorne||16||+ 26.916s|
|5||LMP1||#17 BR||Sarrazin, Orudzhev, Sirotkin||16||+ 50.242s|
|6||LMP1||#4 Enso||Dillmann, Webb, Ruberti||16||+ 3m11.593s|
|7||LMP1||#10 BR||Hedman, Hanley, Van Der Zande||16||+ 3m17.818s|
|8||LMP2||#36 Alpine||Lapierre, Negrao, Thiriet||16||+ 3m35.438s|
|9||LMP2||#28 Oreca||Perrodo, Vaxiviere, Duval||16||+ 3m52.423s|
|10||LMP2||#26 Aurus||Rusinov, Van Uitert, Vergne||16||+ 3m53.988s|
|11||LMP2||#48 Oreca||Lafargue, Chatin, Rojas||16||+ 4m06.137s|
|12||LMP2||#38 Oreca||Tung, Richelmi, Aubry||16||+ 4m07.238s|
|13||LMP2||#31 Oreca||Gonzalez, Maldonado, Davidson||16||+ 4m07.675s|
|14||LMP2||#37 Oreca||Heinemeier-Hansson, King, Taylor||16||+ 4m08.156s|
|15||LMP2||#32 Ligier||Cullen, Brundle, Owen||16||+ 4m08.802s|
|16||LMP2||#25 Oreca||Zollinger, Pizzitola, Falb||16||+ 4m13.783s|
|17||LMP2||#29 Dallara||Van Eerd, Van Der Garde, De Vries||16||+ 4m17.397s|
|18||LMP2||#22 Ligier||Hanson, Albuquerque, Di Resta||16||+ 4m20.356s|
|19||LMP2||#20 Oreca||Fjordbach, Andersen, Beche||16||+ 4m27.081s|
|20||LMP2||#23 Ligier||Binder, Canal, Stevens||16||+ 4m27.550s|
|21||LMP2||#43 Oreca||Farano, Maini, Nato||16||+ 4m27.796s|
|22||LMP2||#39 Oreca||Gommendy, Capillaire, Hirschi||16||+ 4m28.211s|
|23||LMP2||#47 Dallara||Lacorte, Sernagiotto, Belicchi||16||+ 4m33.617s|
|24||LMP2||#34 Ligier||Smiechowski, Winslow, Moore||15||+ 2 Laps|
|25||LMP2||#50 Ligier||Creed, Ricci, Boulle||15||+ 33.244s|
|26||LMP1||#1 Rebellion||Jani, Lotterer, Senna||15||+ 1m37.563s|
|27||LMP2||#49 Ligier||Konopka, Enqvist, Tereschenko||14||+ 3 Laps|
|28||GTE Pro||#63 Chevrolet||Magnussen, Garcia, Rockenfeller||14||+ 28.551s|
|29||GTE Pro||#93 Porsche||Pilet, Bamber, Tandy||14||+ 30.283s|
|30||GTE Pro||#92 Porsche||Christensen, Estre, Vanthoor||14||+ 31.268s|
|31||GTE Pro||#68 Ford||Hand, Muller, Bourdais||14||+ 41.753s|
|32||GTE Pro||#64 Chevrolet||Gavin, Milner, Fassler||14||+ 44.183s|
|33||GTE Pro||#91 Porsche||Lietz, Bruni, Makowiecki||14||+ 44.382s|
|34||GTE Pro||#95 Aston||Thiim, Sorensen, Turner||14||+ 44.920s|
|35||GTE Pro||#67 Ford||Priaulx, Tincknell, Bomarito||14||+ 48.439s|
|36||GTE Pro||#71 Ferrari||Rigon, Bird, Molina||14||+ 49.092s|
|37||GTE Pro||#51 Ferrari||Pier Guidi, Calado, Serra||14||+ 49.690s|
|38||GTE Pro||#66 Ford||Mucke, Pla, Johnson||14||+ 1m13.749s|
|39||GTE Pro||#94 Porsche||Muller, Jaminet, Olsen||14||+ 1m15.037s|
|40||GTE Pro||#69 Ford||Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon||14||+ 1m16.922s|
|41||GTE Pro||#82 BMW||Farfus, Da Costa, Krohn||14||+ 1m20.452s|
|42||GTE Pro||#81 BMW||Catsburg, Tomczyk, Eng||14||+ 1m20.808s|
|43||GTE Pro||#89 Ferrari||Derani, Jarvis, Gounon||14||+ 1m25.110s|
|44||GTE Pro||#97 Aston||Martin, Lynn, Adam||14||+ 1m39.326s|
|45||GTE Am||#77 Porsche||Campbell, Ried, Andlauer||14||+ 2m41.405s|
|46||GTE Am||#54 Ferrari||Flohr, Castellacci, Fisichella||14||+ 2m42.095s|
|47||GTE Am||#86 Porsche||Wainwright, Barker, Preining||14||+ 2m50.244s|
|48||GTE Am||#56 Porsche||Bergmeister, Lindsey, Perfetti||14||+ 3m09.515s|
|49||GTE Am||#85 Ford||Keating, Bleekemolen, Fraga||14||+ 3m09.891s|
|50||GTE Am||#62 Ferrari||Macneil, Vilander, Smith||14||+ 3m10.165s|
|51||GTE Am||#84 Ferrari||Segal, Baptista, Lu||14||+ 3m12.056s|
|52||GTE Am||#90 Aston||Yoluc, Hankey, Eastwood||14||+ 3m16.663s|
|53||GTE Am||#98 Aston||Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda||14||+ 3m18.151s|
|54||GTE Am||#57 Ferrari||Kimura, Cozzolino, Ledogar||14||+ 3m24.075s|
|55||GTE Am||#78 Porsche||Prette, Prette, Abril||14||+ 3m24.480s|
|56||GTE Am||#88 Porsche||Hoshino, Roda Jr, Cairoli||14||+ 3m45.585s|
|57||GTE Am||#83 Ferrari||Gostner, Frey, Gatting||14||+ 3m50.950s|
|58||GTE Am||#61 Ferrari||Perez-Companc, Griffin, Cressoni||14||+ 4m03.531s|
|59||LMP2||#30 Oreca||Jamin, Ragues, Dumas||14||+ 4m06.882s|
|60||GTE Am||#60 Ferrari||Schiavoni, Pianezzola, Piccini||14||+ 4m30.180s|
|61||GTE Am||#70 Ferrari||Ishikawa, Beretta, Cheever||13||+ 4 Laps|