As expected, Peugeot established itself in control of the Le Mans 24 Hours at a relatively early stage of the race as Franck Montagny led the trio of factory 908 HDi FAPs, with their nearest competitor -- the privateer ORECA Peugeot -- 20 seconds farther down the road.
The second hour ran safety car-free, which allowed the three French machines to run in tandem, with Montagny's No. 2 machine having moved to the front during the first pit stops.
The Frenchman diced momentarily with Pedro Lamy in the No. 3 car, halfway through the hour, while Marc Gene held station back in third. All three cars though ran between two to three seconds away from a representative "fast" pace, suggesting that the team is managing its advantage at this stage.
The cars have now pitted for a second time with no change of position, the leader recording a 12-lap stint between fuel requirements, the same as the Audis.
ORECA's Nicolas Lapierre remains fourth, running out of sync on strategy with the factory cars, and enjoyed another intense battle with an Audi during the second hour -- this time driven by Timo Bernhard, but only until the pit stops.
Allan McNish remains fifth in what is the leading Audi, some 80sec behind the leader and nearly a minute behind Lapierre. The Scot remains 10sec ahead of Bernhard with the third Audi of Marcel Faessler seventh a further 19sec back.
Stefan Mucke and Darren Turner ran tandem in the two factory Astons -- still on the lead lap -- while Oliver Jarvis completed the top 10 in the Kolles Audi R10.
Farther back Soheil Ayari had an eventful hour in the ORECA, making contact with Jean-Francois Yvon's Oak Racing Pescarolo Judd. The Frenchman recovered only to then bang panels with Mucke in the first Mulsanne chicane two laps later. He currently runs 16th and last in class.
Strakka's Danny Watts led LMP2 throughout the second hour in an impressive performance run ahead of David Brabham's Highcroft Acura. Thomas Erdos is third in the HPD-powered RML Lola.
Thomas Mutsch remained in the lead of the GT1 class in the Matech Ford ahead of the Luc Alphand Corvette, with five seconds between them. Also in class, one of the early pace-setters Bas Leinders crashed heavily just after the Dunlop Chicane. The Marc VDS Ford took some severe rear-end damage and as the hour turned was trailing slowly back to the pits.
Corvette's Oliver Gavin led throughout the hour in GT2, but thanks to pit stops, Jaime Melo is now second in the Risi Ferrari -- a stirling effort, considering the car was forced to start from the back.