Mike Conway wasted little time in opening up an early lead at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, setting a run of rapid lap times to sit over 10 seconds clear of Sebastien Buemi at the end of the opening hour.

Starting from pole in the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Conway made the most of a traffic-free early phase of the race to pull ahead of Buemi, recording the fastest-ever race lap at Le Mans in just the fourth lap of the race with a time of 3m17.297s.

Despite going one lap longer and taking an extra 10 seconds at his first pit stop, Conway was still able to emerge over 10 seconds clear of Buemi at the front, with the gap standing at 13 seconds at the end of the opening hour.

Gustavo Menezes and Vitaly Petrov enjoyed a spirited battle in the race for third place through the opening hour, driving for Rebellion Racing and SMP Racing respectively, but were split by 12 seconds once both had completed their first stops.

Brun Senna had been fighting Stephane Sarrazin for fifth place in the sister Rebellion, only for an issue to cause the Brazilian to slow on-track and drop down the order as he limped back to the pits.

Nicolas Lapierre moved into the lead of LMP2 for Signatech Alpine Matmut in the opening hour, going one lap longer than Mathieu Vaxiviere in the #28 TDS Racing entry to get the jump. Vaxiviere held on to second place ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne, who rose up the order for G-Drive Racing through the opening hour to sit third.

A hectic fight in GTE-Pro proved to be the highlight of the opening hour as Antonio Garcia battled into the class lead for Corvette, passing early leader Nicki Thiim of Aston Martin just before the first round of pit stops. Michael Christensen and Nick Tandy managed to rise up to P2 and P3 respectively for Porsche after pitting, but just seven seconds covered the top eight cars in class at the end of the hour, pointing towards a tight fight to follow through the race.

Matt Campbell moved into the lead of GTE-Am for Dempsey-Proton Racing in the #77 Porsche 911 RSR through the first hour, leading from Giancarlo Fisichella in the #54 Ferrari 488 GTE and Ben Barker of Gulf Racing in the #86 Porsche.

 

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