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Nakajima Out Front at Halfway as Kobayashi Hits Trouble

Kazuki Nakajima leads the way with three hours to go in Bahrain as the sister Toyota car hits trouble…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Toyota Gazoo Racing leads the Six Hours of Bahrain at the halfway mark through Kazuki Nakajima in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid as a clash involving the No. 7 Toyota sparked a Full Course Yellow with three hours remaining.

Toyota had been running first and second with Nakajima leading from teammate Jose Maria Lopez, only for a slow pace towards the end of the Argentine’s triple-stint to allow Tandy to fight through to second place in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Things went from bad to worse for the No. 7 Toyota when, just minutes after taking over, Kamui Kobayashi tangled with Michael Christensen in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR while coming through Turn 2, causing both cars to spin and triggering the first Full Course Yellow of the race.

With damage to the right-rear bodywork, Kobayashi brought his car back to the pits, where it was wheeled back into the garage.

The incident allowed Brendon Hartley to move back up to third in the No. 2 Porsche that was on the fightback after its early unplanned pit stop.

Jackie Chan DC Racing remains in control in LMP2 through its No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson, with a strong stint from Ho-Pin Tung putting it in position to win the championship.

Tung was able to pull out a 30-second gap to the rival No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca, which was also hit with a five-second time penalty for contact with the No. 24 Manor entry.

Christensen’s clash shook up GTE-Pro as most of the drivers headed for the pits in reaction to the Full Course Yellow, with Stefan Mücke staying out in the No. 66 Ford GT to lead at half-distance.

Alessandro Pier Guidi sits second in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE and is poised to win the title as things stand, with the rival No. 67 Ford GT sitting just one place back in third.

Mathias Lauda heads the field in GTE-Am in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, enjoying a lead of 40 seconds over Weng Sun Mok in the No. 61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari.

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

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