The No. 8 Audi R18 of Oliver Jarvis is out front in the opening hour of the FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji, as the sister diesel-powered LMP1 car has hit trouble.
Jarvis holds a narrow one-second gap over the No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Mike Conway, following the first round of pit stops that saw the Toyota gain ground.
Timo Bernhard runs in third in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, less than 10 seconds behind in a hard-fought start to the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Audi’s chances of victory, however, has been halved, with hybrid failure forcing the No. 7 car of Benoit Treluyer into the garage with just 20 minutes complete.
“The motor generator unit is broken,” Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said. “What we’re trying to just run the combustion engine so we can collect some points. We can’t repair the hybrid system anymore.”
G-Drive Racing is out front in LMP2, with the No. 26 Oreca 05 Nissan of Will Stevens holding a four-second gap over Roberto Merhi’s No. 44 Manor Oreca Nissan in second.
An intense three-way fight for second developed in the opening hour between Filipe Albuquerque, Nicolas Lapierre and WEC debutant Antonio Giovinazzi.
The pair of Ford GTs have dominated the proceedings in GTE-Pro, with the No. 67 car of Harry Tincknell ahead of class pole-sitter Olivier Pla.
The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, meanwhile, paces GTE-Am.