Timo Bernhard and the #20 Porsche 919 he shares with Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley has led the first lap for Porsche at the 24 Hours of Le Mans since the 911 GT1 in 1998.
The hour started with the safety car still out on track following the incidents of the hour previous, and it was another 15 minutes into the hour before the trio of Audi Safety Cars pulled back into their respective positions on track.
From then on in the LMP1-H class was controlled by the #7 Toyota of Stephane Sarrazin/Anthony Davidson/Sebastien Buemi with the Porsche behind and the #2 Audi of Andre Lotterer/Marcel Fassler/Benoit Treluyer remaining in third place throughout this hour.
However, only ten minutes after the safety car came back in, it had to go out again thanks to a freak summer shower that reduced the visibility on the Mulsanne Straight to nil. A number of cars were caught out by this snap shower but most significantly was a tangle between the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek and the #48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca of Karun Chandhok. Both cars managed to get back to the pits but both suffered significant damage.
It was after this twenty minute safety car that Bernhard made his move, the Toyota was stuck in the pits waiting for the gaggle of cars, just released by the safety car, to pass by the pit exit and the Porsche managed to sail through going into the Dunlop Curve.
Elsewhere, in the LMP2 class the leader as the clock ticked off Hour 21 was the #34 Race Performance Oreca of Franck Mailleux who was holding off the strong advances of Paul-Loup Chatin in the #36 Signatech Alpine with Christian Klien in third at the hands of the Newblood by Morand Racing machine.
Into the LMGTE Pro and it was a 1-2 for the #92 and #91 Team Manthey Porsche 991s who had a 20 second gap over the chasing #74 Corvette Racing C7.R of Antonio Garcia.
In the Amateur class it was a storming hour for Pat Long in the #77 Dempsey Racing Porsche who was not only the fastest in LMGTE Am but the fastest in the entire GTE field. He had a 30 second lead over Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin who himself had a sizeable lead over the Ram Racing Ferrari.
2014 24 Hours of Le Mans class standings after 3 hours.
1 – #20 Porsche Team – Bernhard/Hartley/Webber
2 – #7 Toyota Racing – Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz
3 – #2 Audi Sport Team Joest – Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer
1 – #34 Race Performance – Lancaster/Mailleux/Frey
2 – #36 Signatech Alpine – Chatin/Webb/Panciatici
3 – #43 Newblood by Morand Racing – Klien/Hirsch/Brandela
1 – #92 Team Manthey – Holzer/Lietz/Makowiecki
2 – #91 Team Manthey – Pilet/Tandy/Bergmeister
3 – #74 Corvette Racing – Gavin/Milner/Westbrook
1 – #77 Dempsey Racing – Long/Dempsey/Foster
2 – #98 Aston Martin Racing – Lamy/Dalla Lana/Nygaard
3 – #53 Ram Racing – Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton