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Lapierre Leads Toyota at Sebring With One Hour Completed

Alpine converts pole position into early lead during WEC season opener…

Photo: MPS Agency

Nicolas Lapierre leads the 1000 Miles of Sebring for Alpine at the end of the first hour from the two Toyotas.

The Alpine driver started the race from pole in the No.36 A480-Gibson and maintained over the second-placed No.708 Glickenhaus 007 Pipo of Olivier Pla.

Pla started in second place but was briefly passed by the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibson of Filipe Albuquerque at the start of the race when the Portuguese ace vaulted to the front.

The Frenchman took the position back before the end of the opening lap, before the LMP2 leader was also passed by the two Toyotas of Sebastien Buemi and Kamui Kobayashi in third and fourth respectively.

Vaxiviere has since handed the Alpine over to Nicolas Lapierre during the opening stops, while Romain Dumas has taken over the Glickenhaus from Pla.

Toyota brought their two cars in last, with both Buemi and Kobayashi pitting simultaneously.

Both drivers remained behind the wheel and vaulted ahead of Dumas. Buemi now holds second, ahead of driver and team principal Kobayashi in third place overall.

Albuquerque leads LMP2 with United Autosports holding a one-two formation after the first round of stops.

Paul di Resta in the No. 23 sister Oreca sits in second place followed by the polesitting No.83 AF Corse Oreca of Nicklas Nielsen, Prema’s Robert Kubica and Team Penske driver Felipe Nasr, currently fifth during the American team’s first WEC outing.

Corvette leads GTE-Pro after the opening round of stops.

Nick Tandy in the No. 64 Corvette C8.R jumped ahead of the polesitting No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 driven by Kevin Estre after the Briton had put heavy pressure on the Frenchman prior to their respective stops.

Tandy started the race in third place but pulled in front of the No. 91 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni in the opening stint.

Both Estre and Bruni have been given fifteen second stop and hold penalties to be served during their next stop for start procedure infringements.

The early stages of the GTE-Am race have been dominated by Aston Martin as the British manufacturer currently holds the top three positions in class.

The lead is held by the No. 98 NorthWest AMR Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Paul Dalla Lana.

The Canadian started in second place but took the lead with a pass into turn one on polesitter Ben Keating in the No.33 Aston Martin from TF Sport.

David Pittard has since taken the leading car over, while Florian Latorre has been installed in the second-placed No. 33 TF Sport Vantage ahead of Satoshi Hoshini’s D’Station Racing car.

The race has remained free of Full Course Yellows throughout the first hour, despite a few minor incidents. Most notably, the No. 35 Ultimate Oreca of Matthieu Lahaye had a coming together with the No. 28 JOTA Oreca of Ed Jones at turn one.

Brendan Iribe and Nico Mueller both had one-sided spins in the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche and No. 11 Vector Sport Oreca respectively.

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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