Allan McNish and Audi Sport Team Joest established themselves in the lead after the first hour of the Paul Ricard 8 Hours – the opening round of the 2010 Le Mans Series.
The Scot produced a typically feisty performance in what was a dramatic opening lap, as he tried to take advantage of a mistake from the pole-sitting ORECA Peugeot, driven by Stephane Sarrazin who ran wide. The two made contact as McNish tried to pass the Frenchman around the outside, and this allowed Stefan Mucke to slip past. But McNish hung in behind the Aston Martin down the Mistral straight and drafted past in to Signe to take the lead. By the end of the hour the 40-year-old was nearly 50sec down the road from Mucke's Aston.
Sarrazin had pursued the new Audi R15 TDI plus for much of the hour, but dropped down the order following a long stop in the pits with technical problems. This cost the French squad four laps.
Jonny Kane dominated the LMP2 category with the Strakka Racing HPD-ARX-01c and ended the hour nearly 80s clear of his nearest rival, Olivier Pla in the Ginetta-Zytek.
Patrick Pilet led the GT2 class in the IMSA Porsche, but only just from Gianmaria Bruni's AF Corse Ferrari and Marc Lieb's Felbermayr Porsche.