Just as the hour turned, Sebastien Buemi took Mike Conway for what was then 2nd place, just before temporary leader Neel Jani pitted in the #2 Porsche.
As Jani emerged from the pits, the Buemi and Conway edged ahead of the Porsche, with the top three covered by less than three seconds.
Audi still hold 4th and 5th places, albeit several laps off the pace. The second half of hour 17 was dominated by a safety car, precipitated by the #4 ByKolles CLM, which caught fire – again – in the back end of the circuit.
There was plenty of action in the LMP2 class. Following the fire in the #4 ByKolles machine and the resultant oil spill, the 2nd place #46 Thiriet by TDS Racing spun into the wall at Mulsanne corner.
Ed Brown also spun in the #30 Extreme Speed machine in similar circumstances. Prior to that the #35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine went on at the 1st chicane, skipped over the gravel and clattered into the wall on the far side of the track, destroying its right front.
The safety car closed up the GTE-Pro class order, with the #82 Risi Competizione Ferrari (Toni Vilander) leading the #88 Ford GT (Sebastien Bourdais) by just 5s; however the #69 Ford GT has fallen behind in the class.
In the GTE-Am, the #62 Scuderia Corsa continue to lead from the #88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche by almost a lap, with the #83 AF Corse a further minute behind.