Raffaele Marciello leads with two hours to go in the Suzuka 10 Hours, in a continued dominant run for GruppeM Racing and Mercedes-AMG.
The Swiss driver holds a 20-second lead over the No. 43 Strakka Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Lewis Williamson, a gap that has gradually increased in recent hours.
Kelvin van der Linde runs in third in the No. 6 Team Absolute Audi R8 LMS, followed by the No. 06 WRT Audi currently driven by Christopher Mies.
The No. 911 Manthey Racing Porsche 911 GT3 R completes the top-five.
While the race has run relatively smoothly, drama unfolded between two contending cars in the eighth hour.
Contact between the No. 07 Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 of Jules Gounon and Matt Griffin’s No. 28 HubAuto Ferrari 488 GT3 resulted in significant right-front damage to the Ferrari, which had been running in the top-five.
Gounon, who served a drive-through penalty for the incident, saw his and Bentley’s hopes fade following an off-course excursion and spin by co-driver Jordan Pepper, which led to a left-rear tire puncture.