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Le Mans 24 Hours: 1 Hour - Toyota leads, Porsche in trouble

Alex Wurz leads from the off for Toyota, while Nicolas Lapierre suffers a spin and Porsche's #20 car loses five laps with technical problems
The #7 Toyota leads the way in the early stages of the 2014 Le Mans 24 Hours, with Alex Wurz controlling the lead from pole position, while the #14 Porsche is already five laps down after technical issues.

The Austrian established an early lead from team-mate Nicolas Lapierre in the #8 Toyota, which quickly overtook the #14 Porsche, while Audi also began proceeding up the order from its disappointing qualifying effort, led by the #2 car of Andre Lotterer.

With Wurz and Lapierre establishing a 13secs lead over the battle for third place, Lapierre would suffer a half-spin that would gift Wurz a much larger advantage with just half an hour of the race run and drop him to fourth behind Lotterer and Jani.

Porsche's race would hit an early snag shortly afterwards though when Jani began to slow with technical issues, the Swiss driver on track again now but five laps behind. Furthermore, Timo Bernhard in the #20 Porsche is already more than a minute-and-a-half off the lead.

As it stands, Wurz leads comfortably – despite being investigated for an unsafe pit release in front of Lotterer - by more than half a minute, ahead of the #2 Audi, #3 Audi, #8 Toyota, #1 Audi and #20 Porsche.

The first retirement of the race was the Nissan ZEOD RC, which stopped on the second lap with gearbox issues, scuppering its plans to run a whole lap of Le Mans on battery power only.

The KCMG Oreca leads the way in LMP2 and the #51 Ferrari heads up the GT class

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Text commentary recap of Hour 1

Traffic has broken up the 2-3-4 battle, but Bonanomi has gotten ahead of Lapierre - so it's Audi running second and third now

Cioci in the #61 AF Corse Ferrari has spun... he was tagged by the faster #35 Ligier of Mardenborough at Virage de Mulsanne

Toyota is being investigated for unsafe release for the #7 car... that's the leader Wurz

The #75 Porsche GT is slow with a puncture... and nearly catches out the feuding LMP1 cars!

At the other end of the scale, it's been a bad start to the race for SMP, with both cars having spells in the pit lane. Mika Salo is on track again in the #27 car, but Nic Minassian is still in the pit lane in the #37 machine

And Lotterer snatches it right back again! Only 23 hours to go...

Lapierre pulls alongside down the straight and grabs second from Lotterer

Meanwhile, it's getting a bit close for 2nd - Bonanomi has joined the three-way fight, the Audis sandwiching Lapierre in the Toyota

Jani heads for his out-lap, but is now five laps off the lead

And back again... Kristensen re-takes the position. I guess endurance racing doesn't see all that much wheel-to-wheel competition, so we'll Bernhard and Kristensen are probably enjoying a bit of close action whilst it lasts

Whilst at the same time, the #20 car of Bernhard has just overtaken #1 Audi of Kristensen for 5th

Meanwhile, Porsche has finished tinkering with the #14 car and it is being wheeled out of the pit lane

Lapierre is hounding the back of Lotterer in the #2 Audi after the first stop, the pair half a minute behind leader Wurz

The dream was admirable, but the Nissan ZEOD RC is apparently out for the duration now after less than 10mins of racing... gearbox failure. A car may not need to run on petrol to lap Le Mans, but it certainly needs a gearbox!

Incidentally, having just seen the Corvette take the lead of GT, it's the one car you can always tell is going past even when you're not watching... that engine makes a proper noise!!

Nearly a clash in the pit lane as the Toyota ggets released RIGHT in front of the #2 Audi, who doesn't seem keen to let him stay ahead. Just an inch between them as Wurz leaves and Lotterer turns in for his stop

The leading Toyota is in the pit lane for its first stop

Meanwhile in LMP2, the leading JOTA Zytek has pitted, handing the lead to Imperatori in the KCMG Oreca, who in turn leads Gommendy in the pole sitting TDS Ligier by four seconds

The GTs are still entertainingly close and will probably remain so to the end... in fact, the Corvette of Magnussen has just passed Bruni's Ferrari for the lead

Lotterer just had a slow lap, 7secs slower than Wurz... he is now 25secs adrift and coming under pressure from the #8 Toyota again. #3 Audi in the pit lane

Green flag, the slow zones are no longer in effect

The #14 Porsche has made it back to the pit lane and is straight into the garage

It's been a poor start to the race for Porsche - Bernhard in the #20 Porsche is also 36secs off the lead

Meanwhile, Wurz leads by 18secs now, from the #2 Audi, with Lapierre 5secs further back following his spin

The #14 Porsche is crawling. It was the leading Porsche - running fourth - but it is crawling and it is still quite far from the pits

The #14 Porsche is slow... and we aren't in a slow zone

It's a busy old track out there. The GT cars aren't strung out yet, so the LMP1 cars are having trouble negotiating them cleanly

Might be a shrewd strategy call by Audi there, especially if the slow zone is lifted before he gets back there

For the record, that slow zone is VERY slow!! So much so that we briefly the #7 Toyota had a problem, when in fact it was just bubbling along through the yellows

Looks as though he is topping things up whilst we have a slow zone

The #1 Audi of Kristensen is in the pits

A slow zone is in place so marshals can clear the Nissan ZEOD RC

Lapierre suffered a spin, it turns out... obviously pushing hard this early on. He is up and running though, reeling in the #2 Audi now ahead of him

The revolutionary car has had much coverage in the run up to this event, but it has been beset with issues and had completed only 30 laps prior to the race. Looks like the dream of completing Le Mans entirely on battery power will have to wait...

Meanwhile, the Nissan ZEOD RC is already in trouble and has stopped on track

Yup, Lapierre lost 8secs in one sector and is now fending off the #14 Porsche in third place...

Lapierre has had a brief off we think... he is down to third!

No team orders at Audi! Bonanomi squeezes back ahead of Kristensen...

Also getting caught out, Bonanomi has lost fifth place to team-mate Kristensen in the #1 Audi

This is a critical stage - the leaders are still fairly close together, but already coming up on clumps of traffic. Jani just lost at least three seconds tripping over a Porsche and Ferrari

The #2 Audi of Lotterer is in third place and starting to pull away from the #14 Porsche, but was a second slower than the leaders on his first clear lap

Less than 20mins into the race and the two Toyotas are circulating at a similar pace, Wurz and Lapierre around two seconds apart

Undeterred, Jani is busy trying to get back at the #2 Audi, but while the Porsche definitely seems quicker in the straight line - as it was in qualifying - it is lacking in the twisty sections

The leaders are preparing to lap their first car of the race after just four laps! Yannick Mallegol in the #62 AF Corse Ferrari is the unfortunate fellow...

Start of lap four and Lotterer has squeezed past Jani to third place... now we can see what Audi is capable of in clear air

For the record, the first drivers for the LMP1 cars are: Wurz, Lapierre, Jani, Lotterer, Bonanomi, Kristensen and Bernhard, while Heidfeld and Belicchi are leading the two Rebellion cars

We have our first car in the pit lane for 2014... it's Mika Salo in the SMP Oreca. The car crashed in morning warm-up, but while the car was back out on the grid, it seems it isn't quite fully repaired

Bernhard, meanwhile, is 14secs off the lead after just two laps... have Porsche had to tone down the 919 Hybrid's superb one lap pace to ensure durability?

Time to calm things down a little bit... Toyota has sprung out of the blocks quickest and are now six seconds up on Jani after 2 laps, who in turn leads a train of the Audis

Good start to the race for Audi, all three have moved ahead of the #20 Porsche and are already hounding the back of Jani in the #14 Porsche

In GTE, Ferrari leads Corvette, leads Aston top three

In LMP2, JOTA Zytek leads, ahead of TDS Ligier, OAK Ligier, Signatech Alpine and KCMG Oreca

Bernhard has had a tough opener, his #20 Porsche is behind the Audis and down to seventh

First lap down and the order is: #7 Toyota, #8 Toyota, #14 Porsche, #2 Audi, #20 Porsche, #3 Audi, #1 Audi

We've got a move in to the Ford Chicane as Lotterer jumps Bernhard in the #20 Porsche with a strong move up to fourth place. Bernhard loses out to the #3 Porsche at the start of lap two as well, while Lapierre is now ahead of Jani too in to the first corner

And Lapierre in the #8 Toyota has swept by the #14 Porsche - it's a Toyota 1-2 heading into lap two

Steady on boys, it's on the first lap! The #2 Audi gets ahead of the #3 Audi and the #20 Porsche before the lap is out...

The three Audis are running closely together as the top three break away a touch over the first lap

Good start from Wurz who leads away comfortably, Lapierre close behind Jani in the #14 Porsche

The field starts to line up. The starters thumb is on the green button. Through the Ford Chicane and WE ARE RACING!

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Alexander Wurz / Stephane Sarrazin / Kazuki Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota TS 040 Hybrid
Oliver Webb (GBR) Kolles
Oliver Webb (GBR) Kolles
Toyota Hat
Start, Lucas di Grassi / Loic Duval / Oliver Jarvis - Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 leads
Start, Lucas di Grassi / Loic Duval / Oliver Jarvis - Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 leads
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Andy Priaulx  - Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT
Andy Priaulx  - Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT
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Andy Priaulx  - Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT
Roman Rusinov / Will Stevens / Alex Brundle - G-Drive Racing Oreca 05-Nissan  leads at the start of the P2 field
Roman Rusinov / Will Stevens / Alex Brundle - G-Drive Racing Oreca 05-Nissan  leads at the start of the P2 field

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