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WEC - Toyota continue to lead at half way point at Le Mans

WEC - 2016 24 Heures du Mans - Race report after 12 Hours

The no6 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 hybrid was leading as the Rolex clock at the end of the pitlane struck 3am on Sunday morning and 12 hours after the start of the race.  Despite the threat of race the second 6 hour period of the race remained dry.

Kamui Kobayashi took over the driving duties from Mike Conway and the Japanese driver is currently 44 seconds ahead of the no2 Porsche 919 hybrid of Romain Dumas. 

The no5 Toyota of Anthony Davidson is third, 56 seconds behind Dumas’ Porsche and 2 laps ahead of Oliver Jarvis in the no8 Audi R18.  The no13 Rebellion Racing R-One of Dominik Kraihamer is the leading LMP1 Privateer in 5th overall, with the no12 Rebellion of Nico Prost back in 25th overall and 14 laps behind his teammate.

The no7 Audi of Marcel Fassler stopped on track and was limping back to the pits at the clock hit 3am.

The no1 Porsche 919 spent nearly two hours in the garage with overheating issues and rejoined the track 38 laps behind the leaders. However Brendon Hartley is currently posting the fastest lap times.

The LMGTE Pro battle between Ferrari and Ford continued to rage with the no82 Risi Competition Ferrari F488 holding the upperhand against the Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe in the no69 car and Joey Hand in the no68 Ford.  The no95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Marco Sorensen is the leading FIA WEC competitor in 4th place.

The no91 Porsche Motorsport Porsche 911 of Kevin Estre blew an engine and dropped oil in the Porsche Curves bringing out the Safety Car for a long period as the marshals cleaned the track.  The no71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon ended up in the gravel at the run in Tertre Rouge and is still stopped out on the circuit.

In LMP2 the no36 Signatech Alpine of Gustavo Menzes was leading the class in 7th overall, 79 seconds ahead of Will Stevens in the no26 G Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan, the Englishman inheriting the place when Mathias Beche made a scheduled pitstop at the top of the hour in the no46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca.

The no88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Competition Porsche 911 of Khaled Al Qubaisi holds a comfortable 20 second lead ahead of Townsend Bell in the no62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari F458. 

The first quarter of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Round 3 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, has been completed, and it’s Toyota Gazoo Racing at the head of the field, the No.6 of Mike Conway, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi having all driven flawlessly, producing the fastest lap of the race so far (Kobayashi, Lap 81, 3:21.445).

After being flagged away by Hollywood actor Brad Pitt, the race started behind the safety car for the first time in living history after a heavy storm hit the Circuit de la Sarthe 30 minutes before the scheduled start.  The field circulated behind the Safety Car for 53 minutes before the race began in earnest, the race officials ensuring the track was dry enough to be safe for all competitors.

Behind Toyota are the two Porsche 919 Hybrids, No.1 ahead of No.2, with the No.8 Audi and second Toyota TS050 HYBRID in close company.  The No.7 Audi R18 was delayed in the pits for a change of turbocharger, and is now 7 laps behind the leader. 

The LMP1 Private Teams haven’t had an easy race, although the No.13 Rebellion Racing R-One is holding a strong 6th place.  The sister Rebellion car had an early pit stop following a misfiring engine due to a sensor problem, while the No.4 ByKolles team has had a number of different problems

LMP2 has seen a number of different cars at the head of the time sheets, and the WEC teams have been strongly represented.  The current leader is Thiriet by TDS Racing from the ELMS, while in second place is the Signatech Alpine.  Le Mans debutant Manor has had a long spell in the class lead, and the G-Drive Racing WEC entry was also at the front before a puncture and a drive through penalty for leaving the engine running during a pit stop. 

Ford is holding a convincing 1-2 lead in LMGTE Pro behind the Risi Ferrari, with Aston Martin Racing starting to come through now that a change in tyre pressures has been effected.  The two AF Corse Ferraris have both had issues, the No.51 suffering from a long delay in the pits for an electrical problem (now 12 laps behind the class leader).  The No.67 Ford GT had an even longer delay for a gearbox problem, right from the start of the race, but is now running well.

The No.88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche has led for the last three hours, with both the Aston Martin Vantage No.98 and the KCMG No.78 both close behind. 

Dusk is now falling, as are temperatures, and the race is settling into its second quarter.