Hour 1: Boullion Leads

Pole-starter Jean-Christophe Boullion is holding the lead at the end of the opening hour of the 73rd Le Mans 24 Hours for Pescarolo Sport. His advantage is 13s over Soheil Ayari, with Emanuele Pirro a further 1m02s behind in third place in his Champion Racing Audi R8 after 16 laps, with he and those behind were being dropped by fully 5s per lap

Hour 1: Boullion Leads

The Jim Gainer International Dome hybrid had its moment of glory when it took the lead while the Pescarolos made their first pit stops, later returning to the third place it had claimed after starting fourth when Ryo Michigami got the jump on Pirro's Champion Racing Audi and then kept his Dunlop-shod Dome hybrid ahead of the Italian's R8 and the closely-chasing ORECA Audi of Franck Montagny. However, its first pit stop was longer than expected as the paddleshift mechanism was playing up, and a lap was lost as it was checked over.

Pirro remains in third place, just 4s or so clear of the R8 from the rival ORECA Audi camp with Montagny still at the wheel.

While their sister car was hit by engine troubles, just managing to beat the deadline to go out for the first time before the one-hour mark and thus avoiding being disqualified, Rollcentre Racing's Dallara-Judd moved up to fifth overall in Joao Barbosa's hands, keeping it ahead of JJ Lehto in the second of the Champion Racing Audis. For poor Michael Krumm, though, the hampered Nissan turbo-engined Dallara was started in gear and limped around to the pits.

The Creation Autosportif DBA4 is sevenmth with Nicolas Minassian at the wheel, with Jonathan Cochet eighth in the fasterv of the two works Courages, leading his sister car by nearly half a minute, with Haruki Kurosawa completing the top 10 in the Team Jota Zytek.

Jan Lammers endured a problem on the grid and was forced to come in for a stop-go penalty that dropped the Racing for Holland down the order, but Lammers has brought it back through to 11th place overall with a typical charge.

With the lapping of slower cars having commenced, the trio of Audis are facing up to their worst fear: having to overtake cars from the lower classes despite struggling to match them for straightline speed. They have superior cornering ability, but overtaking in the braking zone is undoubtedly a risky business and this will keep the drivers of the three R8s even more on their toes in the hours ahead.

Sam Hancock was soon into the lead in LMP2 for Intersport Racing and held sway ahead of Didier Andre in the first of the Paul Belmondo Racing Courages. However, Liz Halliday started losing time after taking over from Hancock. With a flurry of pitstops right on the hour, the Kruse Motorsport Courage is now in the class lead, with Phil Bennett at the wheel.

Trouble hit the highly-fancied RML Lola very early on and its first unscheduled pitstop to attend to an overheating engine was followed by a second as early as lap 3, with Tommy Erdos the frustrated pilot.

The GT1 class was all-Aston Martin in the early laps, but class leader Darren Turner had to bring his DBR9 ahead of schedule, being called in for a stop-and-go penalty for running two wheels over a white line that dropped him to 17th. This left him third in class behind team-mate Peter Kox and Corvette Racing's C6.R. Kox found himself being chased down by Gavin and the English driver was right on his tail as they came in for their first pit stops together, emerging just ahead to put the American car into the class lead.

The works Panoz team had taken control of GT2 courtesy of Bill Auberlen, and Robin Liddell has just taken over the Esperante GTLM and resumed in the lead of the class at the end of the first hour ahead of Marc Lieb in the Alex Job Racing Porsche 911 GT3-RSR.

So, that's how they stand, with just 23 hours still to run...

Pos # Drivers Make Class On Hour 0
1 16 Collard, Boullion, Comas Pescarolo Judd LM P1
2 17 Loeb, Helary, Ayari Pescarolo Judd LM P1
3 2 Biela, Pirro, McNish Audi R8 LM P1
4 5 Michigami, Ara, Kaneishi Dome Mugen LM P1
5 4 Montagny, Gounon, Ortelli Audi R8 LM P1
6 13 Cochet, Nakano, Jouanny Courage Judd LM P1
7 7 Minassian, CampbellW., Wallace DBA Judd LM P1
8 3 Lehto, Werner, Kristensen Audi R8 LM P1
9 18 Short, Barbosa, Ickx Dallara Judd LM P1
10 9 Hignett, Stack, Kurosawa Zytek 04S LM P1
11 10 Lammers, Julian, Bosch Dome Judd LM P1
12 37 Belmondo, Andre, Sutherland Courage C65 Ford LM P2
13 12 Schwager, Frei, Vann Courage Judd LM P1
14 8 Verdon Roe, Krumm, Primat Dallara Nissan LM P1
15 32 Fisken, Halliday, Hancock Lola AER LM P2
16 25 Erdos, Newton, Hughes Lola MG LM P2
17 58 Enge, Kox, Lamy Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
18 34 Macaluso, James, Lally Courage AER LM P2
19 30 Bennett, Mitchell, Mullen Courage Judd LM P2
20 59 Brabham, Sarrazin, Turner Aston Martin DBR9 LM GT1
21 33 Zlobin, Briere, Barazi Courage AER LM P2
22 64 Gavin, Beretta, Magnussen Corvette C6-R LM GT1
23 31 Amorim, Iannetta, Pillon Courage - CG LM P2
24 36 Gosselin, Ojjeh, Sharpe Courage C65 Ford LM P2
25 61 Fomenko, Vasiliev, Bouchut Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
26 39 Evans, Berridge, Owen Lola AER LM P2
27 63 Fellows, O'Connell, Papis Corvette C6-R LM GT1
28 50 Goueslard, Dupard, Vosse Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
29 20 Rostan, Haezebrou., Bruneau Pilbeam JPX LM P2
30 51 Pescatori, Gollin, Ramos Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
31 24 Terada, Roussel, Binnie WR Peugeot LM P2
32 52 Bartyan, Malucelli, Seiler Ferrari 550 Maranello LM GT1
33 71 Hindery, Rockenfell., Lieb Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
34 23 Bouvet, Boulay, Julien WR LM P2
35 80 Overbeek, Pechnick, Neiman Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
36 76 Dumas, Dumez, Narac Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
37 77 Auberlen, Liddell, Maxwell Panoz Elan LM GT2
38 69 Fournoux, Daoudi, Matthews Ferrari 575 GTC LM GT1
39 78 Sellers, Franchitti, Bourdais Panoz Elan LM GT2
40 90 Bergmeist., Long, Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
41 91 Pompidou, Blanchema., Yamagishi Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
42 72 Policand, Campbell, Alphand Porsche 911 GT3 RS LM GT2
43 93 Kinch, Kirkaldy, Reid Ferrari 360 Modena LM GT2
44 89 Nielsen, Thyrring, Ehret Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
45 92 Macari, Eriksson, Wilson Ferrari 360 Mo. GTC LM GT2
46 95 Hartshorne, Stanton, Johnson TVR Tuscan 400 R LM GT2
47 83 Collin, Felbermayr, Shep Porsche 911 GT3 RSR LM GT2
48 35 Hillebrand, Hahn, Pickering Courage C65 Judd LM P2
49 85 Coronel, Crevels, Merksteijn Spyker C8 Spyder LM GT2

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