8H Bahrain: #7 leads at halfway point, Porsche leads GTE-Pro field

The #7 Toyota established a confident lead on the sister car, as the battles elsewhere heated up into the night at Bahrain.

The start of the eight hours began smoothly for the whole field, as the #7 was keen to defend and establish a lead over the sister #8.

Behind the two LMP1s, a squabble for the lead in LMP2 found itself to develop for the following hours.

The #22 of Paul Di Resta led the field, as the #36 Signatech Alpine found its way to second initially.

The GTE-Am class were also full of battles, until the #62 of Bonamy Grimes was tagged by the #56 of Egidio Perfetti.

He was put down to the bottom of the field and climbed up into seventh position.

Up front in that class, a battle broke out between the GTE-Am championship-leading #90 driven by Salih Yoluc and AMR manufacturer-backed #98 of Paul Dalla Lana.

The Pro category followed suit with a fight for the lead between the #51 and #91, with the latter car (of Gianmaria Bruni) been warned before the first hour on wearing the rear tyres.

There were a presented a few fights in the LMP2 category, with the #27, #29 and #38 all fighting for third place in the first hour.

The #22 of Paul Di Resta ran a double stint, defending the lead from what was the #36 Signatech Alpine.

Further down, with six and a half hours left, Richard Westbrook was fulfilling his AMR duties when he fought his way past Daniel Serra’s #51 AF Corse into fourth.

The Toyota’s ran their own races, and the #7 established a lead that became to be over a lap and a half over its sibling.

Nearly two hours in, the top-three of LMP2 of the #38 JOTA, #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing, and the #22 United Autosports were huddled together and produced an intense battle out of it.

In particular, the #22 (Phil Hanson) and #37 (Ho Ping-Tung) were swapping positions throughout, also fighting for time in the pit stops at the same time.

Second in the GTE-Am standings, the #83 AF Corse received the race’s first drive-through penalty after an abuse of track limits.

The LMP2 battle continued approaching the third hour, as the #37 locked up to gift Hanson the position, until he spun around to hand the place back.

At the four hour mark, a Full Course Yellow was deployed to clean up any outstanding track debris so far, and half of the field found themselves benefiting with a pit stop.

Approaching the full sunset and the LMP2 battle earlier on still continued, but contact occurred between the #51 of Serra lapping the #56 of Perfetti.

A puncture’s debris caused the race’s first safety car and also ended any chance for a second title for Serra’s teammate James Calado.

1 #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing LMP1
2 #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing LMP1
3 #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2
4 #22 United Autosports LMP2
5 #38 JOTA LMP2
6 #36 Signatech Alpine Elf LMP2
7 #29 Racing Team Nederland LMP2
8 #47 Cetilar Racing LMP2
9 #92 Porsche GT Team GTE-Pro
10 #97 Aston Martin Racing GTE-Pro
11 #91 Porsche GT Team GTE-Pro
12 #71 AF Corse GTE-Pro
13 #95 Aston Martin Racing GTE-Pro
14 #51 AF Corse GTE-Pro
15 #54 AF Corse GTE-Am
16 #90 TF Sport GTE-Am
17 #56 Team Project 1 GTE-Am
18 #62 Red River Sport GTE-Am
19 #98 Aston Martin Racing GTE-Am
20 #57 Team Project 1 GTE-Am
21 #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing GTE-Am
22 #83 AF Corse GTE-Am
23 #86 Gulf Racing GTE-Am
24 #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing GTE-Am