The #98 ROWE Racing BMW led the TotalEnergies shortly after the 16-hour mark, though the advantage remained with the #47 KCMG Porsche.
The Hong Kong squad's remarkable rise from the very back of the field to a legitimate contender for the win rose through the gears as the morning progressed, with Nick Tandy putting a move on Davide Rigon (#71 Iron Lynx Ferrari) at around 7am. The latter was subsequently pegged back further by a drive-through for an FCY infringement.
The #51 Iron Lynx Ferrari led on the hour but stopped shortly after, moving the #98 BMW to the lead ahead of the #88 AMG Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG. The #98 and the #88 stopped at the same time and swapped positions thanks to a fast turnaround from the Akkodis ASP crew. But once back on-track Nick Yelloly had the legs on Raffaele Marciello, ultimately pressuring the Swiss into a mistake that put the BMW back in front.
As such the ROWE car led from the Akkodis entry as the 17th hour progressed, while the KCMG Porsche ran third. The latter is set to cycle back into P1 when the front two stop midway through the hour.
The #30 Team WRT Audi led the way in the Silver Cup (14th overall) after the #4 Mercedes-AMG and the #99 Audi both hit problems. Iron Dames topped the Gold Cup class with a two-lap advantage over the #34 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW. The race's first all-female crew in a quarter of a century held 20th overall having recently taken a pit stop.
Herberth Motorsport held a one-lap lead at the head of the Pro-Am order (18th overall). The #24 Porsche stopped a little before the 16-hour mark, with pro driver Alessio Picariello installed at the wheel. The #35 Walkenhorst Motorsport BMW retained its Bronze Cup lead, two laps clear of the #20 SPS Mercedes-AMG in 35th overall.
There were 11 cars on the lead lap, the #71 Ferrari being the last of them. A total of 18 official retirements had been recorded at this stage of the race.