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Nico Hulkenberg is leading the Le Mans 24 Hours after making the most of a safety car period to haul himself back into a surprise contention, while the #17 Porsche is now well adrift after a stop-go penalty.

Though the #19 car has been in the hunt for much of the race, it would take a safety car at the end of the eighth hour to clear the stricken Signatech Alpine would serve to bunch the top four up, with Rene Rast leading Mark Webber, Marcel Fassler and now Hulkenberg.

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At the restart, Rast sprinted away, but Hulkenberg immediately pounced on Fassler and then Webber to move into second place, before getting the better of Rast thanks to a better pit-stop during the most recent wave of fuel splashes. At the end of the hour, Hulkenberg leads Rast by just over six seconds, with the Audi of Fassler just over 20secs behind.

However, the biggest news of the hour was the #17 Porsche being demoted out of contention when it was handed a stop-go penalty after it was deemed Mark Webber passed another car under yellow flags. Though the infraction took place some time ago, the penalty came just as the Australian was due to pit anyway.

Forced to come in again for his regular stop, the multiplied time lost means the car - now in the hands of Timo Bernhard - is more than 2mins off the lead

The LMP2 leading KCMG was also given a penalty, this time a drive-thru, but such is its lead in the category, it continues to stay in front by a comfortable margin from the Thriet by TDS Oreca and the G-Drive Ligier.

In the GTE Pro class, the #99 Aston Martin of Richie Stanaway has moved back to the front after the long-time leading #64 Corvette saw a driver change to Oliver Gavin. However, the #97 Aston Martin of Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Rob Bell - which had been in the lead contention - is out after stopping with mechanical problems

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