Toyota lead with a 1-2 after the first hour at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
The #7 Toyota with Sebastien Buemi behind the wheel head the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the end of the first hour of this years race, with his team mate Mike Conway in the #8 Toyota running a close second. Conway held the lead in the opening laps of the race ahead of the #1 Porsche of Need Jani. But after a close series of pit stops, it was Buemi who edged Jani and came out in second place.
Buemi then made an audacious move around the outside of the Conway’s leading Toyota through the corner at Arnage to take the lead and he now has a lead of 1.6 seconds. The Porsche of Jani is in third place with his fellow Porsche of Timo Bernhard in fourth place.
Nicolas Lapierre in the #9 Toyota rounds out the top five places. Lapierre suffered some minor damage on the first lap and had to make an unscheduled stop to have a new nose fitted. The sole privateer LMP1 ByKolles car, with Brit Oliver Webb behind the wheel, made an unexpected move on Lapierre at the start of the race, but then Webb ran wide at Terte Rouge and ended up hitting the crash barriers, causing damage to the car.
Webb managed to get the car back to the pits to have the damage repaired. Unfortunately the car the had to return to the pits and now is running 10 laps down.
Rebellion Racing lead in LM P2 after the opening hour
Roman Rusinov had an awful start to this years race. After starting from pole position in LM P2 he dropped down to 14th place on the first lap in the #26 G-Drive Oreca. Ex Audi LM P1 runner Oliver Jarvis led the opening stages in his DC Racing Oreca.
Jarvis in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car managed to keep the #31 Rebellion Oreca of Bruno Senna back until the first round of pit stops on lap eight of the race. Unfortunately for Jarvis, he suffered a delay of around 25 seconds during his stop, after all the leading P2 runners had stopped, Jarvis was in sixth place and around 30 seconds off the lead.
Senna had then taken top spot in LM P2, closely followed by Vitaly Petrov in the #25 Manor Oreca of and the second Manor #24 car with Jean-Eric Vergne behind the wheel.
The second #13 Rebellion of Nelson Piquet Jr is in fourth place ahead of the #37 DC Racing Oreca with Tristan Gommendy and then Oliver Jarvis who’d fallen back to sixth place in LM P2.
Aston Martin Racing head a very tight battle in GTE Pro
In GTE Pro the fight for top honours proved as tight as expected as second-place qualifier Alessandro Pier Guidi #51 AF Corse Ferrari got the drop on polesitter Darren Turner #97 Aston Martin, but his lead lasted only until the third lap.
The #95 second works Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim passed both Turner and Pier Guidi and then gradually built up a margin as the remaining GTE Pros ran nose-to-tail.
Sam Bird had a poor first stint in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari, falling back behind Richard Westbrook in the #69 Ford GT, Antonio Garcia in the #63 Corvette, Kevin Estre in the #92 Porsche and fellow Ford GT runner Stefan Mucke #66 Ford GT to run eighth place ahead of the #64 Corvette of Oliver Gavin.