The #8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima, Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Buemi retook the lead of Le Mans 24 Hours race from the #7 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez just after 16 hours of racing at La Sarthe.
A combined effort from Alonso and Nakajima on their stints meant the #8 fought back the deficit of a stop and go penalty to get back ahead and stretch away to a commanding 41.174s lead after 18 hours of running.
The order behind remained the same with the #3 Rebellion Racing of Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes holding third from sister #7 of Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Bruno Senna – who are a lap down to #3 after their first-lap mishap.
After the #17 SMP Racing had its own troubles, the sister #11 of Vitaly Petrov, Jenson Button and Mikhail Aleshin on a recovery road is fifth in LMP1 class and 48th overall – moving ahead of the two CEFC TRSM Racing Manors.
The #10 DragonSpeed of Henrik Hedman, Ben Hanley and Renger van der Zande suffered a crash before the 18 hours mark – even though it is classified sixth in class, but the car has been in the pits for long.
In 50th overall and seventh in class is the #6 Manor of Leo Roussel, Mark Simpson and Charlie Robertson with the sister #6 of Oliver Rowland, Oliver Turvey and Alex Brundle in eighth but 52nd overall.
The #17 SMP of Stephane Sarrazin, Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev, meanwhile, returned to the fray to be ninth in class and 53rd overall as did the #4 ByKolles of Tom Dillmann, Oliver Webb and Dominik Kraihamer to be 10th and 55th.
The LMP2 class continued to be led by the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca of Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola – sitting fifth overall. The have a lap on the #23 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier of Will Stevens, Julien Canal and Thimothe Buret.
The #23 managed to get ahead of the #36 Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Pierre Thiriet, who also went a lap down to them in the process. The #48 IDEC Sport Oreca of Paul-Loup Chatin, Memo Rojas and Paul Lafargue stayed fourth.
However, there was a change behind after the #28 TDS Racing Oreca of Loic Duval, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Francois Perrodo dropped down to sixth in class which helped the #22 United Autosports Ligier (Paul di Resta, Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson) to fifth.
The #92 Porsche GT Team of Laurens Vanthoor, Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen held top spot in GTE-Pro class – moving to 20th overall – but the sister #91 of Gianmarina Bruni Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki caught up well on their teammates in second.
In third are the #68 Ford of Sebastien Bourdais, Joey Hand and Dirk Muller, comfortably ahead of the #63 Corvette Racing of Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller and Antonio Garcia and the #69 Ford of Scott Dixon, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe.
In the GTE-Am class, it is #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche of Matt Campbell, Julien Andlauer and Christian Ried leading still with the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella, Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci in second.
The #85 Keating Motorsports Ferrari of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Luca Stolz dropped to third ahead of #56 Team Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Patrick Lindsey and Egidio Perfetti.
[Read Also: 12 Hours Report]
[Full Results: 12 Hours]