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Floor Issue Creates Space Between Leading Toyotas

Three-minute repair stop for No. 7 Toyota puts No. 8 clear out front with two hours left…

Photo: Toyota

A lengthy pit stop for repairs on a floor issue dropped the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid a lap behind the race-leading No. 8 sister car in the 1000 Miles of Sebring.

Jose Maria Lopez was forced to take evasive action over the grass to avoid contact with the TF Sport GTE-Am Aston Martin of Jonny Adam through the sweepers while chasing Sebastien Buemi.

This action resulted in damage to the Toyota’s underside which necessitated a three-minute pit stop that enabled the No. 8 car to develop a clear lead.

The No. 7 Toyota had been catching its teammate during the early stags of the second half of the eight-hour contest before the issue took hold.

With two hours to go, Lopez’s co-driver Kamui Kobayashi was a lap behind Fernando Alonso, who along with Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima has led the entire race so far.

The No. 3 Rebellion R-13 Gibson remains the best-placed LMP1 non-hybrid, four laps down the road in third, while the No. 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER is a further four laps back in fourth.

These are the only LMP1 cars that have made it to the three-quarter distance mark, following incidents for the other top-class prototype runners.

The No. 1 Rebellion was pushed behind the wall after Mathias Beche had an accident, while the DragonSpeed BR1 Gibson picked up a gearbox issue to add to the early safety car-inducing crash for the No. 17 SMP machine.

In GTE-Pro, the No. 67 Ganassi-run Ford GT continued to lead but with Jonathan Bomarito coming under increasing pressure from Gianmaria Bruni in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR and the No. 81 Team MTEK BMW M8 GTE.

LMP2 continues to be dominated by the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, while the Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR holds a 17-second cushion over the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton 911 RSR in GTE-Am.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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