A high-speed crash for the #28 TDS Racing Oreca of Emmanuel Collard through the exit of the Porsche Curves saw the emergence of the safety car as the 15th hour was brought to a close.
The #1 Porsche maintained a comfortable LMP1 lead, whilst the battles in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE AM continued to rage as sunlight struck the Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time on Sunday morning.
1st – #1 Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Jani/Lotterer/Tandy
2nd – #2 Porsche Team – Porsche 919 Hybrid – Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley
3rd – #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima
Having dominated the past few hours, the #1 Porsche continued to storm ahead, maintaining an 18 lap lead ahead of its team-mate as Andre Lotterer cruised through the final fleeting moments of darkness that blanketed Circuit de la Sarthe atop the overall standings.
Both the #2 Porsche and #8 Toyota pushed to clamber as far up the overall standings as possible, in an attempt to rescue the chance of grabbing an overall podium.
An eleven lap difference between second and third in LMP1 didn’t deter the pushing #8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima, who continued to set blazing lap times – but still languished 3oth in the overall standings.
1st – #13 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche
2nd – #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing – Oreca 07-Gibson – Tung/Laurent/Jarvis
3rd – #31 Vaillante Rebellion – Oreca 07-Gibson – Prost/Canal/Senna
Despite the Rebellion pairing dominating the first half of the race, the #38 Jackie Chan car swept into LMP2 top spot to start the 15th hour – bagging second overall behind the #1 Porsche.
Second overall and rounding out the overall podium remained the #13 Rebellion of Nelson Piquet Jr, who had fallen a minute behind the LMP2 lead.
Pitstops at the end of the hour saw the #13 Rebellion reclaim top spot in LMP2 heading into the early morning hours.
Having leapfrogged the 2016 LMP2 class-winning #35 Signatech Alpine to reclaim third in the class, the resurgent #31 Rebellion – who was recovering after dropping out of the lead with minor issues a couple of hours ago – spun and stalled as a result, losing further time to the lead pairing ahead.
Another incident in the class saw the #34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier of Karun Chandhok skate into the gravel, being towed out before sheepishly stuttering back to the pitlane.
1st – #91 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Lietz/Makowiecki/Pilet
2nd – #95 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Thiim/Sorensen/Stanaway
3rd – #97 Aston Martin Racing – Aston Martin Vantage – Turner/Adam/Serra
Aston Martin Racing’s grip atop GTE Pro was loosened by the #91 Porsche, who swept into a narrow lead in the class after favourable safety car timing saw Lietz vault ahead of both Marco Sorensen and Daniel Serra in the class standings.
The podium-contending #71 AF Corse of Sam Bird quickly whisked into the garage under the safety car to make brake pad changes, losing a couple of minutes a result in a quick operation.
1st – #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor
2nd – #55 Spirit of Race SA – Ferrari 488 GTE – Cameron/Scott/Cioci
3rd – #77 Dempsey Proton-Racing – Porsche 919 RSR – Ried/Cairoli/Dienst
The #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE continue to control the front of the AM field, inheriting the lead after the front-right puncture to the #98 AMR Aston Martin in the early evening.
Gradually making gains throughout the night period was the Spirit of Race Ferrari, who elevated from outside the top five in the opening hours into race-winning contention as the sun began to emerge at Le Mans.
In third, the #62 Scuderia Corsa car completed a Ferrari top three briefly, before falling behind the battling #77 Dempsey Proton-Racing Porsche in a duel for the final podium spot in the category.
The #90 TF Sport Aston Martin became beached in the gravel after an excursion at the exit of the Porsche Curves, shuffling from podium contention to outside of the category top 10 as a result.