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No. 7 Toyota Out Front at Halfway as GTE-Pro Porsches Hit Trouble

No. 7 Toyota maintaining big lead in 8H Bahrain as both GTE-Pro Porsches run into trouble…

Photo James Moy/Toyota

Jose Maria Lopez led at the halfway point in the 8 Hours of Bahrain with the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid dominating out front, while both Porsches struck trouble in GTE-Pro.

The No. 7 Toyota of Lopez, who took over from Kamui Kobayashi, held more than a minute lead over the second-placed sister No. 8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima at the end of hour four.

Team LNT sat third with the No. 5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER of Ben Hanley, while Gustavo Menezes brought the Rebellion R13 Gibson back to fourth outright after the No. 1 car lost three laps with a suspected driveline problem.

United Autosports worked up a one-minute lead in LMP2 with its No. 22 Oreca 07 Gibson in the hands of Felipe Albuquerque ahead of G-Drive Racing.

In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin found itself at the pointy end of the class field when the team elected not to stop its No. 97  Vantage GTE under a fourth-hour Full Course Yellow.

The brief FCY came at the end of the fourth hour when the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Khaled Al Qubaisi was punted into the barrier by his teammate Riccardo Pera.

The No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR of Kevin Estre, which was second to the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo before the FCY, suffered a setback when it was pushed into the garage with a damper failure and lost a handful of laps, rejoining 27th outright.

The sister No. 91 Porsche also hit trouble when Gianmaria Bruni limped to the pits with a right-front problem and also dropped down the order.

This made Alessandro Pier Guidi the effective GTE-Pro leader in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari, however he made a stop at the end of hour four, leaving the No. 97 and No. 95 Aston Martins first and second in class respectively.

Team Project 1’s No. 57 Porsche 911 RSR led GTE-Am courtesy of Larry ten Voorde’s pass on the Gulf Porsche of Michael Wainwright.

Slade Perrins is an Australian-based junior reporter for Sportscar365. Perrins won the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars 'Young Gun Award' for journalism for his work with speedcafe.com.

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