Toyota Gazoo Racing remain untroubled at the front of the field as twilight hit the Circuit de la Sarthe, with Kamui Kobayashi just ahead of countryman Kazuki Nakajima.
Kobayashi, on fresher Michelin tyres than Nakajima, was able to trail his compatriot for much of the stint before jumping him as both made their tenth pit stops of the race, with
The #8 and #7 are still in a class of their own at the head of the LMP1 field, with the privateer entries now with more than a two-lap deficit to the Hybrids at the front, with the #17 SMP Racing machine of Matevos Isaakyan around half a minute ahead of the fourth placed #3 Rebellion Racing machine of Gustavo Menezes.
The second Rebellion of Neel Jani runs a comfortable fifth but the #10 DragonSpeed dropped further down the order following a lengthy pit stop, moving the two CEFC TRSM Racing machines of Charlie Robertson and Oliver Turvey into sixth and seventh in class.
G-Drive Racing continue to streak clear in LMP2, with Jean-Eric Vergne back on board after taking over from Roman Rusinov in the #26. The car is around ninety seconds clear of the #48 IDEC Sport Oreca of Paul Loup Chatin in second place, with the #23 Panis Barthez Competition running around eleven seconds further back in third.
The hour started with a slow zone to recover the Juan Pablo Montoya and the #32 United Autosports from the gravel trap at Indianapolis. The Colombian was recovered to the track and returned to the pits and was soon released back into the race, albeit down in eleventh in class, just behind the sister #22 car of Paul di Resta.
The Porsche GT Team are dominating in GTE Pro, with Michael Christensen leading in the #92 ahead of the sister #93 machine of Patrick Pilet in second, while the #91 of Gianmaria Bruni runs third after jumping the BMW Team MTEK midway through the hour.
Further down the order, Antonio Garcia passed Ryan Briscoe into Porsche Curves for seventh, moments after Briscoe was forced off line by Antonio Felix da Costa at the second Mulsanne Straight chicane that almost saw both the Australian and Garcia head into the gravel trap.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t all plain sailing for Porsche, with Romain Dumas being forced to head to pit lane slowly with a broken suspension on the #94, with the car falling down from its eleventh place in class as a result.
Christian Ried remained in the lead of GTE Am for the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing squad, with the Porsche driver comfortably clear of the #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE of Jeffrey Segal, while the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche of Patrick Lindsey runs third.
Unfortunately, a crash for the #98 Aston Martin Racing entry of Paul Dalla Lana hit the barriers at the Porsche Curves, which caused the latest slow zone of the race. It appeared the Canadian was unable to stop his Vantage, with it going nose first into the barriers.
2018 24 Hours of Le Mans – Standings after 7 Hours
- #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Mike Conway – Kamui Kobayashi – Jose Maria Lopez
- #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Sébastien Buemi – Kazuki Nakajima – Fernando Alonso
- #17 SMP Racing – BR Engineering BR1 – Gibson – Stéphane Sarrazin – Egor Orudzhev – Matevos Isaakyan
- #26 G-Drive Racing – Oreca 07 – Gibson – Roman Rusinov – Andrea Pizzitola – Jean-Eric Vergne
- #48 IDEC Sport – Oreca 07 – Gibson – Paul Lafargue – Paul Loup Chatin – Memo Rojas
- #23 Panis Barthez Competition – Ligier JSP217 – Gibson – Thimothé Buret – Julien Canal – Will Stevens
- #92 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Michael Christensen – Kevin Estre – Laurens Vanthoor
- #93 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Patrick Pilet – Nick Tandy – Earl Bamber
- #91 Porsche GT Team – Porsche 911 RSR – Richard Lietz – Gianmaria Bruni – Frédéric Makowiecki
- #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing – Porsche 911 RSR – Matt Campbell – Christian Ried – Julien Andlauer
- #84 JMW Motorsport – Ferrari 488 GTE – Liam Griffin – Cooper Macneil – Jeffrey Segal
- #56 Team Project 1 – Porsche 911 RSR – Jörg Bergmeister – Patrick Lindsey – Egidio Perfetti