(3 Hours - 19.00CET) Toyota has taken up residence at the front of the field in the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours despite a dramatic wet start that led to one of its cars being punted into a spin by a rival Hypercar just moments into the race.

The Japanese manufacturer comes into the round-the-clock classic as the hot favourites for a fourth consecutive win in the French endurance event against a thin number of direct rivals with its new GR010 Hybrid built to new Hypercar-H regulations and duly flexed its muscles in race conditions early on.

But that didn’t stop it having a few nervy moments in the opening hour as Sebastien Buemi was turned around at Turn 1 by Olivier Pla in the Glickenhaus as the cars headed off into their first lap at racing speed, which came after two laps behind the safety car due to inclement weather conditions. 

Despite two stalls, Buemi got it going again and through a combination of numerous slow zones during intermittent showers over the opening three hours, has moved right up into second place and within striking distance of the #7 car helmed by Kamui Kobayashi, which led for the entirety of the opening stints.

UPDATE: 18:15 -  The race is under safety car following an incident thar led to the GTE Am Aston Martin Racing Vantage being spun at high-speed into the barrier coming into Indianapolis. Marcos Gomes spent a few minutes trapped in the car after it went deep into the barriers, but he has been extricated now.

Alpine ran in third but its challenge faded after a leery spin in the opening half hour at Indianapolis as it was keeping the Toyota ahead honest. It’s running within range, albeit around 2mins off the lead, while Glickenhaus - after Pla punted off Buemi - is enduring varying fortunes with its carsin sixth and 13th overall after various minor niggles, gremlins and spins. 

In LMP2, Jota sprinted into a solid lead that consolidated its status as the class favourite, almost entirely thanks to a rapid stint by Antonio Felix Da Costa, only to see it completely undone by a strange spin from Anthony Davidson when the car speared left at the first right-hander into the gravel trap just before the third hour cleared..

Dropping to 24th overall, the #26 G-Drive Racing leads the way now from the Racing Team Nederland outfit, with the second Jota car running third in class and seventh overall.

AF Corse Ferrari holds 1-2 in the ever closely matched GTE Pro category, but the form is ebbing and flowing with the pit-stop window, with Corvette and Porsche still very much in contention amid some quality driving talent. 

In GTE Am, it was the TF Sport Aston Martin leading at the turn of the hour, the British team now the Gaydon marque’s best hope for class victory following the exit of the factory.

It also becomes the first official DNF some 3h 15mins into the race, despite the changing conditions prompting numerous offs and spins.