Fernando Alonso leads the 24 Hours of Le Mans by more than 90 seconds with three hours remaining after pulling clear of Toyota teammate Jose Maria Lopez, as the Japanese manufacturer closes in on its maiden victory at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

After taking over from Sebastien Buemi in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with around a minute's buffer over the sister #7 car, Alonso was able to negotiate a number of Safety Car and slow zone periods through late morning to open the gap up to more than 90 seconds.

Alonso's lead was aided after a spin for Lopez at the Dunlop chicane, costing the #7 Toyota another 10 seconds. Lopez was fortunate not to crash at Tetre Rouge not long before the spin, twitching his car after touching the grass on exit.



The fight for victory in LMP2 became even more of a foregone conclusion as issues for the #23 Panis Barthez Competition entry allowed G-Drive Racing to extend its class lead to two laps, with Andrea Pizzitola behind the wheel after taking over from Jean-Eric Vergne. Signatech Alpine took advantage of the issues to move up to second in class, with Graff-SO24's #39 Oreca 07 Gibson moving up to third.

United Autosports rose up to fourth in class with its #32 Ligier JS P217 Gibson, but lost its sister #22 entry in the morning following a heavy crash for Paul di Resta at the Porsche Curves. The size of the impact meant di Resta had to visit the medical centre but was cleared of any injury, although the same could not be said of his car, which became the latest retirement.

While the #92 Porsche 911 RSR continued to enjoy a sizeable buffer at the front of GTE-Pro, the second #91 Porsche became engaged in a fascinating battle with a pair of Ford GTs, being closely tailed by the #67 and #68 entries. Porsche's Frederic Makowiecki had a spirited fight with Sebastien Bourdais, pulling off some ambitious defensive moves that left the Ford driver fuming. Despite being reviewed by race control, no action was taken, allowing Makowiecki to retain his position and pull out an 11-second gap in the fight for P2 with three hours remaining.

Dempsey-Proton Racing remains in the lead of GTE-Am with the #77 Porsche, albeit with an advantage of only 20 seconds following a tightening up of the class battle. Keating Motorsports sits second in class as Luca Stolz goes in pursuit of bronze-rated class leader Julien Andlauer, while the Spirit of Race #54 Ferrari 488 GTE is a further two seconds behind in third place.

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