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Toyota Leads But Porsche Still in Fight at Half Distance

Toyota retains lead at half-distance in 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Toyota retain the lead at half-distance in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but a strong stint by Romain Dumas in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid means they can’t afford to rest on their laurels.

Kamui Kobayashi took over the No. 6 TS050 Hybrid from team-mate Mike Conway shortly before the hour mark and the additional time in the pits required for the driver change meant Dumas, the 2010 Le Mans winner, was just 44 seconds behind.

The second Toyota of Anthony Davidson continues to run well in third, 1 minute behind the Porsche and comfortably ahead of the best-placed of the Audis, the No. 8 R18 of Oliver Jarvis.

As the problems for the hybrid cars continued to rack up, with Marcel Fassler’s No. 7 R18 coming to a halt at the Dunlop Curve, the No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER of Dominik Kraihamer was able to consolidate fifth position.

In LMP2, Gustavo Menezes continued to lead in the No. 36 Signatech-Alpine A460, but had Will Stevens in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 05 Nissan and Ryo Hirakawa’s No. 46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 05 Nissan in close pursuit.

Matteo Malucelli was able to maintain Risi Competizione’s advantage in the GTE-Pro class over the chasing Ford GTs of Ryan Briscoe in the No. 69 car and Joey Hand in the No. 68 car.

Both Fords were held at the end of the pitlane when they came in under the safety car, presenting the Ferrari which had pitted under green with the lead.

Marco Sorensen in the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE and Tommy Milner in the No. 64 Corvette C7.R gave valiant chase in fourth and fifth.

The order remained unchanged in GTE-Am, as the No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche of Khaled al Qubaisi led Townsend Bell’s No. 62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia.

The No. 41 SRT41 by Oak Racing Morgan Nissan featuring quadruple amputee Frederic Sausset is still running, down in 36th position overall.

James Newbold (@James_Newbold) is a UK-based freelance motorsport journalist. A graduate of Politics and International Relations, James is also the editor of Autosport Performance.

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