Michael Dunlop's team was forced to retire six hours before the end of the Bol d'Or 24-hour World Endurance round.
The Ballymoney rider was joined by John McGuinness and Simon Andrews in the Honda TT Legends team, which moved from 28th place to third.
However. an overheated engine resulted in the team's retirement.
"It's so disappointing for all the lads - it was going well up until that point but we'll come back bigger and stronger next time," said Dunlop.
Dunlop was drafted into the squad for the Endurance series after Cameron Donald withdrew earlier in the year.
The 24-year-old was the fastest member of the squad in qualifying at the Magny Cours circuit.
The trio put in an impressive performance to surge through the field from 28th to a podium position.
The team dropped back into a steady fourth place, where they remained through the night until daybreak.
A problem with the heat exchanger was identified when Dunlop made an unexpected pit stop.
McGuinness re-joined the race but the engine overheated and the team retired.