Le Mans - New Zealander Brendon Hartley, driving a Porsche 919-Hybrid N.20, was
leading the Le Mans 24 Hours race on Saturday after torrential rain
forced the safety car to halt the cars on two occasions.
Sarrazin in a Toyota TSO40-Hydrid N.7 was 12 seconds back after four
hours of racing after the world's most celebrated endurance race began
under sunny skies and with 54 cars on the starting grid.
rainfall flooded the circuit and made visibility almost impossible as
the race organisers sent out the safety car twice.
champions Audi were badly hit by the weather which forced one of their
three cars, compared to the two vehicles of Porsche and Toyota, driven
by Marco Bonanomi out of the race following an accident.
version of the legendary race, over a road circuit in western France,
was sent on its way by former Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso
earlier on Saturday.
The field was led from the front by the
Toyota TS040 hybrid car driven by a team headed by Alexander Wurz of
Germany, ahead of the Porsche 919 hybrid of Switzerland's Neel Jani.
the second row of the grid was a second Toyota, driven by Nicolas
Lapierre of Switzerland, just ahead of a Porsche which featured another
former Formula One ace, Mark Webber of Australia, returning to the race
for the first time in 15 years.
Webber's last appearance was
marred by a famously spectacular accident on the Hunaudieres straight,
when his Mercedes literally took off.