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WEC - Toyota lead after first quarter of 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans completed

WEC - 2016 24 Heures du Mans - Race report after 6 Hours

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.