Brendon Hartley sits as the best-placed Kiwi after five hours of this year’s Le Mans 24 as he runs in P2 in the Hypercar class.
Hartley is currently behind the wheel of the No.8 Toyota and is 43 seconds behind the race leading No.7 car.
The race started in tricky wet conditions, and it was far from smooth sailing for the No.8 Toyota.
Sebastien Buemi was in control of the car for the race start, but he immediately plummeted to last when he was pitched into a spin by one of the Glickenhaus machines.
Buemi then had to stop off track once he got the car pointing in the right direction, this time for a complete electronic reset.
An off at the end of the Mulsanne Straight from the No.8 meant that the sister No.7 Toyota had opened up a mammoth 1m40s lead over the field in the first hour.
Settling into his stride, Buemi began to scythe his way back through the field and, at one stage, got to within one minute of the No.7 car.
However, the No.8 was brought into the pits a few laps earlier due to potential rim damage, putting the two Toyotas on alternative strategies.
A safety car intervention looked to play into the No.8’s hands. However, the two Toyotas got stuck behind different safety cars (there are three on track at Le Mans), which meant the gap remained stable.
Both cars have completed six pitstops, though the No.7 has the upper hand as the race begins its infamous day-night transition.
In GTE-Pro, Earl Bamber is sixth in class with Cooper MacNeil in the WeatherTech Racing Porsche.
The entry is over a lap behind the class-leading AF Corse Ferrari.
Jaxon Evans is 13th in the GTE-Am class, one spot down on where the No.77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche qualified.
Matt Campbell is currently in the car but is nearly two minutes behind the next runner.