Hour 1: Bentley leads the way

The two works Bentleys are looking as strong as expected after the first 60 minutes of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Rinaldo Capello currently leads Johnny Herbert by about two seconds, with the pair some 50s clear of the closest competition

Hour 1: Bentley leads the way

The show of strength from the Speed 8s began on the very first lap, aided by Jan Lammers, who thrust his Racing for Holland Dome up into third at the start. The Dutchman clearly held up the three privateer Audis, allowing the Bentleys to make their escape to the tune of 6.7s after just one lap.

The three Audis, led by Jan Magnussen in the Audi Sport Japan machine, soon began to work their way past Lammers, although none had an answer to the Bentleys impressive pace on the track.

Off-track, however, and the battle could be closer. Johnny Herbert briefly passed Capello for the lead on the track, before pitting at the start of lap 10. The second Bentley managed to run two further laps before it pitted, at the same time as Magnussen. The Audi Sport UK and Champion Audi worked together to draft down the Mulsanne, and managed to stretch their fuel to the start of lap 14 and 15 respectively.

Several cars hit trouble early on, most notably Oliver Gavin's GTS class Chevrolet Corvette. After the Briton pitted at the end of lap one, he was back in on the very next lap for further work to an unspecified mechanical problem. This handed the class initiative to the Veloqx Prodrive Ferraris, with Peter Kox currently leading.

The Intersport Racing Lola-MG has taken advantage of trouble to the class pace-setting DBA-Zytek to lead the LMP675 class, with the Alex Job Racing Porsche leading in the GTs. There was early drama for the TVR Tuscan of Rob Barff, after he spun and hit the wall heavily at the Porsche Curves.

Autosport.com will bring you further hourly updates and all the news throughout the race.

Capello/Kristensen/Smith Bentley 16 laps
Herbert/Blundell/Brabham +0.0610s
Magnussen/Ara/Werner Audi R8 15 laps
Pirro/Lehto/Johansson Audi R8 15 laps
Biela/Salo/McCarthy Audi R8 15 laps
Lammers/Bosch/Wallace Dome-Judd 15 laps
Ortiz/Gabbiani/Gommendy Dome-Judd 15 laps
Goossens/Matthews/Tinseau Riley & Scott 15 laps
Beretta/Jeannette/Papis Panoz 15 laps
Boullion/Lagorce/Sarrazin Courage-Peugeot 15 laps

shares
comments
The race is go!

Previous article

The race is go!

Next article

Hour 2: Kristensen pulls ahead

Hour 2: Kristensen pulls ahead
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

WEC
Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

WEC
Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021