Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche maintains lead through first hour

Timo Bernhard held a narrow lead over the polesitting car of Neel Jani as Porsche maintained its position at the front in hour one of the Le Mans 24 Hours

Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche maintains lead through first hour

Bernhard moved the #17 Porsche into the lead on the Mulsanne straight on lap one, and he held that position throughout the opening hour.

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But Jani, who spent most of the early laps fending off the threat from Audi, closed back up during the first pitstops and ended the hour right on the tail of the leading car.

Porsche enjoyed only a narrow pace advantage over Audi as the race settled down, with Loic Duval and Lucas di Grassi trading third place before and during the pitstops.

Both made short work of the third Porsche of Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg after the start, and the German then slipped into a fight for fifth with the third Audi of Marco Bonanomi.

Hulkenberg repassed Bonanomi in traffic shortly before the first pitstops, but an early stop by Audi got the #9 car back ahead of the Porsche.

Toyota lacked the pace to hang onto the German cars, with Sebastien Buemi and Alex Wurz slipping to around one minute off the lead.

Nissan got its #22 car up to 18th with Harry Tincknell, while the #21 of Lucas Ordonez slipped back after his door came open following his first stop.

The third Nissan of Jann Mardenborough started the race late after work was required on its clutch, meaning it joined the action several laps down.

LMP2

The TDS Racing ORECA driven by Tristian Gommendy leads LMP2 by seven seconds.

Gommendy started sixth, but made gradual progress to take the lead just before pitting for the first time at the 35-minute mark.

He then set about building an advantage over early leader Richard Bradley in the KCMG ORECA and Sam Bird, who dropped from second to fourth on the first lap in the G-Drive (OAK) entry but quickly regrouped.

Defending winner Jota Sport has work to do - as it did at this stage in 2014.

Oliver Turvey ran third initially, but lost time before a lengthy pitstop for a gearshift problem cost the team almost two laps and left it 18th in class.

GTE

Aston Martin leads Ferrari in the fight for GTE honours, with Nicki Thiim rising from fourth to first in the #95 AMR Vantage.

Richie Stanaway led in the #99 Aston from pole, but lost the lead to Gianmari Bruni in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari on the opening lap.

The New Zealander got back ahead next time round though, as Thiim moved ahead of the #97 Aston of Stefan Mucke for third.

Thiim swiftly passed Bruni for second and took the lead from Stanaway 20 minutes in before edging clear, while the #51 Ferrari jumped the #99 Aston in the pitstops just before the end of the hour.

Behind the lead trio the #97 Aston holds fourth ahead of the only Chevrolet Corvette C7.R in the race, which Oliver Gavin moved past the two Manthey-run Porsches early on.

James Calado also made good progress in the opening hour, rising to the back of the lead GTE train and then jumping both 911 RSRs in the pitstops.

The #92 Porsche had a slow lap when it left the pits and dropped back from the lead train.

The #72 SMP Ferrari leads GTE Am.

Andrea Bertolini jumped Pedro Lamy's #98 Aston Martin in the pitstops after the Portuguese led the early stages.

POSITIONS AFTER ONE HOUR

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #17 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 17
2 LMP1 #18 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 17 + 0.934s
3 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 17 + 1.679s
4 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 17 + 3.702s
5 LMP1 #9 Audi Albuquerque, Bonanomi, Rast 17 + 6.231s
6 LMP1 #19 Porsche Hulkenberg, Bamber, Tandy 17 + 8.113s
7 LMP1 #1 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 17 + 47.961s
8 LMP1 #2 Toyota Wurz, Sarrazin, Conway 16 + 1 Lap
9 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Imperatori, Kraihamer, Abt 16 + 1m32.102s
10 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Beche 16 + 1m54.534s
11 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Badey, Gommendy 15 + 2 Laps
12 LMP2 #47 Oreca Howson, Bradley, Lapierre 15 + 6.110s
13 LMP2 #26 Ligier Rusinov, Canal, Bird 15 + 7.865s
14 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Kaffer, Monteiro 15 + 11.839s
15 LMP2 #34 Ligier Cumming, Vanthoor, Estre 15 + 23.274s
16 LMP2 #41 Gibson Hirsch, Paletou, Lancaster 15 + 25.486s
17 LMP2 #36 Alpine Panciatici, Chatin, Capillaire 15 + 31.305s
18 LMP1 #22 Nissan Tincknell, Krumm, Buncombe 15 + 37.741s
19 LMP2 #48 Oreca Chandhok, Patterson, Berthon 15 + 41.366s
20 LMP2 #43 Morgan Ragues, Webb, Amberg 15 + 44.904s
21 LMP2 #28 Ligier Yacaman, Derani, Gonzalez 15 + 49.315s
22 LMP2 #42 Dome Leventis, Watts, Kane 15 + 1m00.477s
23 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Dalziel, Heinemeier Hansson 15 + 1m10.617s
24 LMP2 #31 Ligier Brown, Van Overbeek, Fogarty 15 + 1m28.497s
25 LMP2 #37 BR Aleshin, Ladygin, Ladygin 15 + 1m29.363s
26 LMP2 #27 BR Mediani, Markozov, Minassian 15 + 1m43.138s
27 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 15 + 1m46.816s
28 LMP1 #21 Nissan Matsuda, Shulzhitskiy, Ordonez 15 + 2m46.168s
29 LMP2 #45 Oreca Ibanez, Perret, Bellarosa 14 + 3 Laps
30 LMP2 #35 Ligier Nicolet, Merlin, Maris 14 + 24.350s
31 GTE Pro #95 Aston Sorensen, Thiim, Nygaard 14 + 32.107s
32 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 14 + 34.876s
33 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Vilander, Fisichella 14 + 38.975s
34 GTE Pro #99 Aston Rees, Macdowall, Stanaway 14 + 43.822s
35 GTE Pro #97 Aston Turner, Mucke, Bell 14 + 44.556s
36 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 14 + 52.740s
37 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Calado, Beretta 14 + 57.341s
38 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Bergmeister 14 + 59.011s
39 GTE Am #72 Ferrari Shaytar, Bertolini, Basov 14 + 1m06.059s
40 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 14 + 1m14.933s
41 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Pilet, Makowiecki, Henzler 14 + 1m15.384s
42 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Mortimer 14 + 1m18.253s
43 GTE Am #77 Porsche Dempsey, Long, Seefried 14 + 1m19.753s
44 GTE Am #88 Porsche Ried, Al Qubaisi, Bachler 14 + 1m21.697s
45 GTE Am #53 Dodge Bleekemolen, Keating, Miller 14 + 1m35.625s
46 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 14 + 1m36.199s
47 GTE Am #96 Aston Goethe, Hall, Castellacci 14 + 1m41.009s
48 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Roda, Ruberti, Poulsen 14 + 1m48.706s
49 GTE Am #66 Ferrari Al Faisal, Giermaziak, Avenatti 14 + 2m00.575s
50 GTE Am #68 Porsche Chen, Vannelet, Parisy 14 + 2m40.567s
51 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Evans, Turvey 14 + 2m41.284s
52 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mann, Giammaria, Cressoni 14 + 2m47.361s
53 LMP2 #29 Morgan Roussel, Tung, Cheng 13 + 4 Laps
54 GTE Am #67 Porsche Chen, Kapadia, Maassen 12 + 5 Laps
55 LMP1 #23 Nissan Pla, Mardenborough, Chilton 10 + 7 Laps
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