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Porsche 1-2 After Four Hours in Sepang

Earl Bamber leads Richard Lietz at one-third mark in Sepang 12H…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

Porsche holds a narrow 1-2 lead, with an increasing challenge from the No. 50 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, with four hours complete in the Motul Sepang 12 Hours.

Earl Bamber has put the No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R with a 1.421-second lead over teammate Richard Lietz, under increasingly threatening skies, following an earlier sprinkling of rain.

The surprise of the race, however, has come from the No. 50 Spirit of Race Ferrari, which runs in a strong third in the hands of Alessandro Pier Gudi, who currently runs on the tail of Lietz’s No. 912 Porsche at the one-third mark.

The pair of Audi Sport Team Phoenix Audi R8 LMS cars complete the top-five, unable to challenge the leading Porsches or Ferrari on pace.

American squad K-PAX Racing has dropped down the running order after multiple issues, triggered by a left-front suspension failure on its No. 9 McLaren 650S GT3 car in the third hour with Shane van Gisbergen at the wheel.

The Kiwi, who headed into the weekend six points behind Intercontinental GT Challenge leader Laurens Vanthoor, has seen his title chances evaporate, after losing 12 laps in the garage due to repairs.

It was followed by multiple spins and off-course excursions for the ill-handling McLaren.

“We’re going through Turn 8, the left-front suspension collapsed,” van Gisbergen said. “We had a drive through [penalty] and we were in the hunt.

“This all but ends our championship, which is a shame as we were in the hunt.”

The race’s second safety car period, for van Gisbergen’s grave trap-stricken McLaren, neutralized the field, after a 10-second-plus lead for the No. 911 Porsche, which has virtually led from the start.

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John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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