Porsche #1 leads Le Mans 24 Hours, but Toyota and Audi close

Porsche maintained its lead of the Le Mans 24 Hours in the third hour, as the relentless fight between all three LMP1 factory teams continued

Porsche #1 leads Le Mans 24 Hours, but Toyota and Audi close

Brendon Hartley maintained a narrow lead in the #1 919 over the #6 Toyota of Mike Conway and the #8 Audi of Loic Duval, with all three cars covered by less than three seconds before the third round of pitstops began late in the hour.

While Hartley maintained the lead after the stops, crucially Toyota has proved it is able to extend its stints to 14 laps, which could pay dividends over the course of the remaining 21 hours.

The gap between the three leaders fluctuated based on traffic for much of the hour, but while Conway almost emerged from his pitstop in the lead, Duval lost touch with the front pair as he struggled for pace after his stop.

Sebastien Buemi (#5 Toyota) and Romain Dumas (#2 Porsche) remained within one minute of the lead, but neither car has been able to stay on terms with the lead trio so far.

LMP2 - MERHI PULLS AWAY

By Mitchell Adam

Roberto Merhi nearly tripled the LMP2 lead he and Manor claimed in the second hour.

Merhi started the hour with an 18s advantage over Thiriet by TDS Racing's Mathias Beche, but finished more than 45s clear.

After the third round of pitstops, Merhi's advantage over Rene Rast - who lost track position during the first round of pitstops - had been cut from 40s to 30s, through a combination of traffic and a yellow flag when the Greaves Motorsport Ligier spun at Arnage.

Merhi stabilised the pace and was able to pull away again, but Rast had closed to right behind Beche before suffering a puncture just four laps after his previous stop.

The unscheduled stop meant G-Drive's Rast ended the hour out of sequence and in eighth, nearly two minutes behind Merhi.

KCMG's Richard Bradley is right behind Beche in third, with Strakka's Jonny Kane holding down fourth ahead of Jake Dennis in the G-Drive Gibson and Signatech Alpine's Nicolas Lapierre, recovering after a late switch from wets to intermediates in the second hour.

GTE PRO - FERRARI VERSUS FORD

By Scott Mitchell

Ford and Ferrari remain locked in a fierce GTE battle, with Dirk Muller assuming a brief lead at the end of the third hour.

The real fight for top spot in the Pro class was between Risi Competizione's Giancarlo Fisichella and Richard Westbrook in the #69 Ganassi Ford.

Westbrook took the lead in the previous pitstops, helped by the #92 Porsche replacing Frederic Makowiecki with Earl Bamber.

He was then caught by James Calado in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari and Fisichella's Risi entry, before Calado had to pit early.

The #51 car's fortunes worsened when Gianmaria Bruni, who replaced Calado, had to bring the 488 GTE back in shortly after with an electrical issue that meant it was wheeled into the garage.

In its wake, Fisichella attacked and after being rebuffed assumed the lead when Westbrook stopped.

The Italian then forfeited his own advantage to the #68 Ford of Dirk Muller when his scheduled stop was made at the end of the hour.

Muller had been some 20 seconds off that lead battle, despite a fine comeback in his GT after a slow first stop.

GTE AM - LONG LEADS FOR PROTON

By Jack Cozens

Wolf Henzler and Patrick Long's battle for Porsche supremacy in GTE Am continued to rage, with Abu Dhabi Proton driver Long handed the lead after Henzler pitted.

Henzler had led his Porsche counterpart at the start of the third hour, and retained the lead at the end of it as the pair twice traded places.

But with less than a second separating the two, Henzler headed for the pits at the end of the hour as Long was poised to pounce.

German Henzler rejoined in a comfortable second, with he and Long having enjoyed more than a pitstop's worth of time in hand over Ben Barker in the third-placed #86 Porsche.

POSITIONS AFTER THREE HOURS:

Pos Class Car Drivers Laps Gap
1 LMP1 #1 Porsche Bernhard, Webber, Hartley 44
2 LMP1 #6 Toyota Sarrazin, Conway, Kobayashi 44 + 11.089s
3 LMP1 #8 Audi Di Grassi, Duval, Jarvis 44 + 23.674s
4 LMP1 #5 Toyota Davidson, Buemi, Nakajima 44 + 34.423s
5 LMP1 #2 Porsche Dumas, Jani, Lieb 44 + 50.485s
6 LMP1 #13 Rebellion Tuscher, Imperatori, Kraihamer 42 + 2 Laps
7 LMP2 #44 Oreca Graves, Rao, Merhi 41 + 3 Laps
8 LMP2 #47 Oreca Matsuda, Howson, Bradley 41 + 38.004s
9 LMP2 #46 Oreca Thiriet, Beche, Hirakawa 41 + 43.677s
10 LMP2 #36 Alpine Menezes, Lapierre, Richelmi 41 + 1m14.687s
11 LMP2 #42 Gibson Leventis, Watts, Kane 41 + 1m16.992s
12 LMP2 #38 Gibson Dolan, Dennis, Van Der Garde 41 + 1m18.312s
13 LMP2 #26 Oreca Rusinov, Stevens, Rast 41 + 1m55.883s
14 LMP2 #31 Ligier Dalziel, Derani, Cumming 40 + 4 Laps
15 LMP2 #25 Ligier Munemann, Hoy, Pizzitola 40 + 30.450s
16 LMP2 #37 BR01 Petrov, Shaytar, Ladygin 40 + 37.694s
17 LMP2 #23 Ligier Barthez, Chatin, Buret 40 + 46.698s
18 LMP2 #35 Alpine Cheng, Tung, Panciatici 40 + 47.786s
19 LMP2 #27 BR01 Minassian, Mediani, Aleshin 40 + 2m16.514s
20 LMP2 #33 Oreca Pu, Gommendy, De Bruijn 39 + 5 Laps
21 LMP2 #40 Ligier Krohn, Jonsson, Barbosa 39 + 36.936s
22 LMP2 #41 Ligier Rojas, Canal, Berthon 39 + 39.295s
23 GTE Pro #68 Ford Hand, Muller, Bourdais 39 + 1m09.216s
24 GTE Pro #91 Porsche Pilet, Estre, Tandy 39 + 1m28.714s
25 GTE Pro #66 Ford Pla, Mucke, Johnson 39 + 1m31.166s
26 LMP2 #30 Ligier Sharp, Brown, Van Overbeek 39 + 1m48.333s
27 GTE Pro #82 Ferrari Fisichella, Vilander, Malucelli 39 + 2m11.827s
28 GTE Pro #69 Ford Briscoe, Westbrook, Dixon 39 + 2m18.325s
29 GTE Pro #77 Porsche Lietz, Christensen, Eng 39 + 2m27.142s
30 GTE Pro #92 Porsche Makowiecki, Bamber, Bergmeister 39 + 2m27.974s
31 GTE Pro #63 Chevrolet Magnussen, Garcia, Taylor 39 + 2m43.846s
32 GTE Pro #95 Aston Thiim, Sorensen, Turner 39 + 2m57.410s
33 GTE Pro #71 Ferrari Rigon, Bird, Bertolini 39 + 3m12.052s
34 GTE Pro #64 Chevrolet Gavin, Milner, Taylor 39 + 3m13.993s
35 GTE Am #88 Porsche Al Qubaisi, Heinemeier Hansson, Long 39 + 3m30.405s
36 LMP1 #12 Rebellion Prost, Heidfeld, Piquet Jr 39 + 3m38.170s
37 GTE Pro #97 Aston Stanaway, Rees, Adam 39 + 3m45.679s
38 GTE Am #78 Porsche Ried, Henzler, Camathias 39 + 4m19.200s
39 GTE Am #98 Aston Dalla Lana, Lamy, Lauda 38 + 6 Laps
40 LMP1 #7 Audi Fassler, Lotterer, Treluyer 38 + 2.344s
41 GTE Am #61 Ferrari Mok, Sawa, Bell 38 + 6.957s
42 GTE Am #86 Porsche Wainwright, Carroll, Barker 38 + 11.293s
43 GTE Am #62 Ferrari Sweedler, Bell, Segal 38 + 21.593s
44 GTE Am #50 Chevrolet Yamagishi, Ragues, Belloc 38 + 22.164s
45 CDNT #84 Morgan Sausset, Tinseau, Bouvet 38 + 26.791s
46 GTE Am #89 Porsche Macneil, Keen, Miller 38 + 33.699s
47 GTE Am #55 Ferrari Cameron, Griffin, Scott 38 + 45.981s
48 GTE Am #57 Chevrolet O'Connel, Bryant, Patterson 38 + 52.641s
49 LMP2 #22 Ligier Capillaire, Maris, Coleman 38 + 1m19.458s
50 LMP2 #49 Ligier Pew, Negri Jr, Vanthoor 38 + 1m40.006s
51 LMP2 #43 Ligier Gonzalez, Senna, Albuquerque 37 + 7 Laps
52 LMP2 #48 Oreca Keating, Bleekemolen, Goossens 37 + 3m15.650s
53 LMP1 #4 CLM Trummer, Webb, Kaffer 37 + 11m39.324s
54 GTE Am #99 Aston Howard, Griffin, Hirsch 37 + 11m59.916s
55 GTE Am #83 Ferrari Perrodo, Collard, Aguas 37 + 14m14.328s
56 GTE Pro #51 Ferrari Bruni, Calado, Pier Guidi 36 + 8 Laps
57 LMP2 #34 Oreca Leutwiler, Nakano, Winslow 36 + 12m13.365s
58 LMP2 #28 Morgan Taittinger, Striebig, Roussel 36 + 12m54.006s
59 GTE Am #60 Ferrari Laursen, Mac, Nielsen 34 + 10 Laps
60 GTE Pro #67 Ford Franchitti, Priaulx, Tincknell 17 + 27 Laps


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Brendon Hartley puts #1 Porsche into lead of Le Mans 24 Hours

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