The 84th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans started behind the Safety Car.
Heavy rain began to fall while the cars lined up on the grid, and the decision was taken to give the drivers a few laps to acclimate to the standing water before the green flags was thrown.
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Adverse weather has been a feature of much of the week's running, with Thursday's qualifying 3 interrupted by red flags due to the rain.
58 cars took the start, with the No. 67 Ford GT, that was due to start fourth in GTE-Pro, and the No. 4 ByKolles CLMP1/01 AER both undergoing repairs in the garage.
The Ford rejoined the race two laps down with Andy Priaulx at the wheel.