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Toyotas 1-2 at Halfway After Passing Rebellions

Toyota Gazoo Racing leads 4H Silverstone after two hours; Porsche out front in GTE-Pro…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing controlled the first half of the 4 Hours of Silverstone despite losing the lead to Rebellion Racing in the opening round of pit stops.

Mike Conway led the field away from Sebastien Buemi and the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids remained ahead until a Full Course Yellow period occurred half-an-hour into the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opener.

Both Rebellion R13 Gibsons, which were running third and fourth, pitted immediately as the yellows were flown, while the Toyotas waited until later in the intervention to come in.

When the Japanese manufacturer brought its cars in, the FCY was lifted, handing Rebellion first and second place with Bruno Senna leading from Loic Duval.

However, Toyota quickly restored its early advantage, with Buemi breezing past both Rebellions in separate moves on the main pit straight just before the end of hour 1.

The Swiss driver became the lead Toyota driver when his No. 8 car leapfrogged Conway’s No. 7 in the pits.

Conway later got past both Rebellions before he and Buemi opened up a commanding 30-second gap at the head of the field.

Rainfall during the second hour slightly closed the gap between the hybrid-powered Toyotas and the non-hybrid Rebellions, after Toyota elected to delay its switch to wet tires.

Fifth in LMP1 at the close of two hours was the No. 5 Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER, which fell off the lead lap just before the end of the opening hour.

The other Ginetta has been plagued with problems, starting with the car’s right-rear wheel falling off at Luffield which resulted in the first FCY of the day.

It was also involved in the incident which caused the second of two safety car periods held so far, when Oliver Jarvis clashed with Ferrari GTE-Pro driver Miguel Molina at Maggotts.

Molina’s Ferrari 488 GTE Evo came off worse, stopping in the gravel, while Jarvis was able to bring the damaged Ginetta back to the pits.

The other safety car occurred just two laps in when Paul di Resta halted the United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson on the pit straight with an electrical issue.

At the close of two hours, Porsche GT Team held a 1-2 in the GTE-Pro class with Michael Christensen leading from Richard Lietz, while Maxime Martin sat third in the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Racing Team Nederland led the LMP2 class at the halfway milestone, while the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR was out front in GTE-Am.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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