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Buemi Leads Opening Hour at Spa

Sébastien Buemi leads WEC 6H Spa after one hour…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Sébastien Buemi leads the WEC Six Hours of Spa for Toyota Gazoo Racing after the first hour of the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Buemi started the race in fifth position, and had dropped down to sixth as the race got underway. Nevertheless, the Swiss driver put in a strong performance, which saw him battle it out for second with Lucas Di Grassi.

In the first round of pitstops, Buemi and the No. 5 Toyota crew decided not to change tires, allowing him to overtake Brendon Hartley for the overall lead.

Hartley had been out front since the start, in his No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid. At the end of the hour, Timo Bernhard has taken over the car and is in second, ahead of Di Grassi.

A lock-up for Mike Conway coming into the Bus Stop Chicane resulted in a heavy impact with Victor Shaytar’s SMP Racing machine, although it appeared to just be cosmetic damage for the No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

Marc Lieb fell down the field from second, with a problem with his Porsche’s hybrid system, and by the end of the hour he had been passed by both of the Rebellion Racing cars.

G-Drive Racing leads the way in LMP2, after a strong first stint from René Rast in the No. 26 Oreca 05 Nissan, while Will Stevens is in second for Manor.

Roberto Mehri spun Manor’s No. 45 Oreca 05 Nissan coming out of the first corner, while there was contact between Pipo Derani and Nelson Panciatici later in the hour.

AF Corse leads one-two in GTE-Pro, although Gianmaria Bruni usurped polesitter Sam Bird to put the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE into the lead.

In the pitstops, the positions swapped over again, with James Calado in the leading No. 51 car.

Paul Dalla Lana is out front in GTE-Am, for the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing crew. Rui Aguas had led for a while until he collided with Marino Franchitti.

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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