Updates on these pages at c.30 minute intervals
Lapierre makes a clean getaway with Davidson snapping at Lotterer’s heels but staying third, John Martin though makes a move on Belicchi and the #26 car is through to fifth overall.
The #12 car though is back ahead before the end of the lap and whilst Davison managed to outbrake Lotterer through T14, the order was restored on the cut back and the run down to the final turn.
Lapierrer though was haring away and was 5 seconds to the good by the end of a single lap!
Oliver Pla meanwhile was another man to lose out on the opening lap – dropping two places to the Greaves Zytek Nissan of Bjorn Wirdheim and the #25 Delta ADR Oreca Nissan of Robbie Kerr.
Gimmi Bruni was on the move too, carving through the GTE Pro competition, up to second place very quickly from sixth slot after a poor qualifying session from Giancarlo Fisichella.
Darren Turner has a little bit of clear air from the Ferrari man though as the #97 car looks to close the gap in the Championship standings here.
A good clean start in all four classes then with the #95 Aston still leading from pole in GTE Am, Paulo Ruberti making his way by the #61 AF Corse Ferrari to claim second slot and close onto the boot lid of the Aston.
0:12 – Davidson is showing some urgency in trying to get by Lotterer for second place as Lapierre continues to stretch the gap, now 8 seconds up – and now McNish is dropping back from the second place battle – a further 9 seconds astray.
The leading cars are already in traffic with Jonny Adam trailing the field in the #96 car after a brief off.
0:16 – Pilet moves ahead of Lietz for fifth in GTE Pro as Kobayashi grabs second in the #71 Ferrari from Bruni.
0:18 – Contact between the battling #8 and #1 Cars with Davidson hitting the left rear of the Audi and taking advantage to take the place.
John Martin meanwhile is pulling away at the head of LMP2 – 10 seconds to the good.
0:23 Both Audis are complaining about lack of traction, Davidson is now off in pursuit of Lapierre, the lead now up to 13 seconds. Davidson posts his fastest lap on L 12 – 1:49.8 – McNish does likewise but manages only a 1:51.3.
0:25- The leader runs off the circuit as Lapierre takes a risky move outside Olivier Pla in the #24 Oak Morgan – there is light side to side contact and after a dusty moment and a squirrelly one to follow in the braking zone Lapierre continues.
0:30 – Bruni cedes third in GTE Pro to Pedro Lamy, Bruni isn’t giving the place up lightly though and the Italian has Pilet right on the back of his #51 Ferrari, the 458 seeming to be lacking grip to a near terminal degree at present. He pits for a new set of Michelins painfully early 8 minutes later. The rears are the issue and the new set are a different compound.
0:43 – Davidson is rapidly closing on Lapierre, a delay in traffic for the leader leaving the gap at 3 seconds – The Rebellion Lola Toyota meanwhile is lapped already!
0:45 – Davidson pits after 24 laps – fuel and tyres. Minassian and Liuzzi have also pitted in the #49 and #31 cars, Lotterer follows Davidson down pitlane too as does McNish in the £2 car – tyres all round for all.
0:47 – Lapierre pits after Lap 25 – Nicki Thiim meanwhile in the GTE AM leading #95 Aston has passed the 6th placed Pro running #92 Porsche.
0:49 – Pedro Lamy pits too and is replaced by Richie Stanaway.
0:50Greaves lead a lap in LMP2 as the leader pits as do the #24 and #45 Morgans – Wirdheim and Thomas Holzer pit next time around, as does Darren Turner in the GTE leading Aston Martin – Kobayashi leads GTE Pro in #71, Mucke is now aboard #97.
0:53 – McNish retakes 4th from the yet to pit Rebellion.
0:55 – Holzer pits again immediately with smoke pouring from the rear left corner – the Lotus and the #57 Ferrari having made contact at T14 – The Lotus is garaged immediately after being hit from behind by Nic Jonsson – The debris might well have caused further drama as Lotterer reports a puncture for the #1 car, left front with the team opting to change all four.
In LMP2 Pla is up to second as Eric Lux, now aboard the Greaves Zytek falls back a little, Baguette takes third from the #41 too.