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Hartley Leads Opening Hour in Bahrain

Brendon Hartley leads Mike Conway in opening hour of 6 Hours of Bahrain…

Photo: Bahrain International Circuit

The No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley leads the 6 Hours of Bahrain with one hour complete, in what has been an all-Toyota affair up front in the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Pole-sitter Hartley climbed aboard the Le Mans Hypercar on the car’s first pit stop on Lap 30, which like the sister No. 7 Toyota, took on fresh left-side Michelin tires only.

It came after two swaps of the lead between the cars, as part of the Japanese manufacturer’s so-called team order tactics.

Sebastien Buemi led from the start but was asked to surrender the position at the 46-minute mark to the No. 7 Toyota of Mike Conway, who has stayed in the car for a double stint.

The two cars then swapped positions again on Lap 28, one lap before Conway pitted for service.

The No. 36 Alpine A480 Gibson of Matthieu Vaxiviere had contact with the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Khaled al Qubaisi early on, resulting in suspension damage to the GTE-Am class entry and a warning to the Emirati driver.

The Alpine continued but battled an unrelated throttle-related issue according to Vaxiviere and was the first of the Hypercar class entries to pit.

LMP2 is led by the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 Gibson of Guido van der Garde, who took over the class lead at the start.

The Dutchman runs ahead of the No. 70 Realteam Racing Oreca of Loic Duval and Phil Hanson third in the No. 22 United Autosports entry.

Porsche holds command of GTE-Pro with Kevin Estre seven-tenths ahead of teammate Gianmaria Bruni in a 1-2 run for the German manufacturer.

Both AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos were drifting behind in third and fourth, roughly ten seconds behind.

GTE-Am saw the most action in the opening hour, with the No. 77 D’Station Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Tomonobu Fujii leading the No. 54 AF Corse Ferrari of Francesco Castellacci.

Castellacci overcame contact with the class pole-sitting No. 60 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Rino Mastronardi, who was handed incident responsibility but pitted just a few laps later due to an unrelated gearbox issue.

It put the No. 54 AF Corse entry into the class lead until the Japanese driver reeled in the Italian with 37 minutes completed.

Both the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche and No. 60 Iron Lynx Ferrari have made trips to the garage for their respective issues.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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