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Toyotas Switch Around as Kobayashi Leads at Halfway

No. 7 Toyota takes control of 6H Spa and leads from sister car at halfway point…

Photo: Toyota

Toyota’s No. 7 car held a 40-second lead over its sister No. 8 machine as the FIA World Endurance Championship Total 6 Hours of Spa reached its halfway point.

Kamui Kobayashi was leading Brendon Hartley by over a minute midway through the third hour when the second safety car of the afternoon was called due to worsening wet conditions.

Both Toyotas pitted for new wet tires at the end of the safety car, however Hartley slowed coming out of the pits with an apparent issue, enabling Kobayashi to gain 40 seconds on his teammate at the head of the field.

Earlier in the second hour, the two Toyotas switched positions after the No. 8 car dominated the opening stanza of the race following Sebastien Buemi’s strong getaway.

The No. 8 did not take new tires at its first stop while the No. 7 did, meaning that when the No. 8 came in for slicks at its second stop the No. 7 gained control of the race.

At halfway the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson that started from pole was running in third, a minute and a half behind the leader.

Giedo van der Garde took the LMP2 lead for Racing Team Nederland, to complete his charge from the back of the grid through the class field.

The Dutchman hunted down and overtook United Autosports’ Filipe Albuquerque through the esses at the end of the second hour but couldn’t build an advantage because of the safety car.

In GTE-Pro, AF Corse’s No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo led at the three-hour mark in the hands of Alessandro Pier Guidi who overtook Porsche’s Kevin Estre for the lead.

Pier Guidi climbed to the top of the class order on-track in the opening hour, before erstwhile leader Estre got back ahead just after the first safety car at the start of hour two.

This was called after Paul Dalla Lana beached the No. 98 GTE-Am Aston Martin in the gravel.

Matteo Cairoli held the halfway lead for the Team Project 1 Porsche squad in Am, ahead of Gulf Racing’s Andrew Watson and Charlie Hollings in the Red River Sport Ferrari.

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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