(CTN News) – Sebastien Buemi’s #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID held an advantage over James Calado’s #51 Ferrari at the end of an hour of action at the Circuit de la Sarthe interrupted by a safety car period.
As Jack Aitken exited the first chicane, he appeared to lose control of the #311 V-Series.R, suffering significant front-left damage, though he managed to wrestle it back to the pits.
Both Buemi and Mike Conway’s Toyotas were able to take advantage of Calado’s Ferrari to move into second and third places, and Buemi soon challenged Nielsen’s pole-sitting #50 499P.
As a result of Aitken’s crash, Buemi made the pass on Nielsen just before Indianapolis on the opening lap of the race.
Several LMP2 and GTE Am competitors, including the Jota Porsche 963, took advantage of the first-ever drop back procedure.
Following the restart, Buemi quickly surpassed Nielsen, despite complaining about brake regen under the safety car, while Conway was able to take the position from Nielsen.
Nielsen was able to ease his way back into second after 53 minutes heading into Mulsanne corner when Conway in the #7 Toyota came under pressure from both Ferraris.
As Nielsen entered the pits for his first stop at the end of that lap, Conway temporarily regained second place before being passed by Calado’s sister Ferrari at the first chicane.
During the first hour, Buemi was 4.6 seconds ahead of Calado, while Conway was 1.4 seconds behind.
Despite making contact with Buemi’s Toyota at the very first corner, Felipe Nasr finished fourth in the best Porsche.
Laurens Vanthoor and Michael Christensen, the Brazilian’s team-mates, finished fifth and sixth ahead of Earl Bamber’s Chip Ganassi Cadillac and Peugeot’s pair of 9X8s, with Paul di Resta leading Nico Muller.
As a result of an oil leak, one of the two Glickenhaus 007 LMHs, #708, went a lap down in the early stages of the race.
A pole position at the wheel of an IDEC Sport Ferrari ORECA was held by Paul-Loup Chatin in LMP2.
During the first hour, Robert Kubica moved up from third to second in the best WRT car, while Reshad de Gerus was briefly third in the COOL Racing car before pitting.
Pietro Fittipaldi, who started second in the Jota ORECA race, was promoted to third as a result.
At the safety car restart, the #63 Prema car of Daniil Kvyat had held second, but fell to the rear of the field after being tasked with repairing a tail light.
Under the safety car, the pole-winning Corvette Racing car of Nicky Catsburg was among the majority of cars pitting.
Among those who remained out was the #54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Davide Rigon, who led the AO Racing Porsche 911 RSR 19 of Matteo Cairoli by one hour.
Garage 56’s Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 NASCAR Cup car, driven by Mike Rockenfeller, finished 35th overall.