The day started with not a cloud in the sky, much different to yesterdays snow storm which disrupted most of the mornings running.
With the LPM1 hybrids formed up in a two by two team formation, the Audi’s lead the grid off on two formation laps. At 12noon the green flag, waved by actor and Porsche driver Patrick Dempsey fell, and the much anticipated 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship was underway.
The No. 7 Audi of André Lotterer led into Abbey with the rest of the field following through in an incident free first corner, although by the one hour mark the No. 1 Porsche of Bernard, Webber and Hartley had a lead of just over 12 seconds.
Porsche still held the lead at the two hour mark, with the sister car of Dumas, Jani and Lieb running in second. The 7 car of Audi was running in third with the two Toyota Gazoo’s in fourth and fifth respectively, with Di Grassi in the No. 8 one lap off the lead.
Just passed the two hour mark the No. 1 Porsche driven by Brenda Hartley clipped the front of the LMGTE Am Porsche of Michael Wainwright, retiring both cars into the tyre barrier.
Brendan Hartley commented ‘I feel very upset for the team, the car was incredibly good and Mark did a mega first stint. I had a comfortable lead and did a good job in traffic. I wanted to get passed the GT car which is quite normal, the driver didn’t see me and used all the road. I don’t want to blame anyone, it was a shame.’
Shortly after this incident the Di Grassi No. 8 Audi came to an abrupt stop out on track and retired in a cloud of hybrid enduced smoke.
So at the halfway mark it was the No. 7 Audi driven by Tréluyer, from the Lieb Porsche with the Toyota chasing them down.