8H Portimao: First safety car gathers pit cycles and intensifies LMP2 lead battle

The #7 of Toyota GAZOO Racing leads an action-packed 8 Hours of Portimao after six hours of action, with two more to go.

The drama and action of the race so far intensified approaching the sixth hour after an Alpine-Toyota fight at the front thanks to a late safety car, as LMP2 action is equally thrilled up.

Reports so far:

Heading into the fifth hour, the #7 Toyota put a lap on the #709 Glickenhaus Racing in the Hypercar category.

Porsche in GTE-Pro ran into their troubles with tyre blistering as their AF Corse rivals sat P1 and P2 in-class.

Speaking of the Tifosi team, they encountered minor contact with the #29 Racing Team Nederland of Guido Van Der Garde who attempted an optimistic move on the #51.

As a result, their rear left suspension took damage and spend time in the garage for a repair job.

The #34 of Louis Deletraz took in the harsh reality of his double-stinted tyres compared to his fellow rivals, thus dropped back as a contender in the race.

Tom Blomqvist of the #28 was setting quick lap-times with several instances of LMP2 best sector times.

A dramatic moment for the #7 of Kamui Kobayashi when he locked up approaching the pit-plane and hit the 60 km/h board.

The #36 of Nico Lapierre was setting the outright pace reach under the Portuguese heat.

A safety car was deployed five hours and 14 minutes into the race, the first of its kind today.

This was to recover the #44 which stranded itself in the gravel trap at Turn 8. It also gathered up the whole field, closing up the LMP2 pit strategy cycles, and intensifying the overall fight between Toyota and Alpine.

It was clear that Lapierre was as determined as ever to make up the shortage of laps their car could complete, around seven, less than the Toyota GR010 Hybrids.

Whilst the #7 set to establish a lead, the #36 fought against the #8 of Kazuki Nakajima until he put a move at the inside at Turn 1, after a previously unsuccessful attempt on the outside – the outcome of their intense post-safety car jostle.

The #709 was in and out of the garage following gear selection issues, but Glickenhaus were keen to maximise the opportunity to test the car out by staying in the race rather than retiring the car.

Just before the sixth race hour, an LMP2 fight for P2 in-class saw Charles Milisi of the #31 defend 2014 LMP1 WEC Champion Anthony Davidson.

OVERALL POSITION TEAM
1 #8 Toyota GAZOO Racing [HYPERCAR]
2 #36 Alpine Elf Matmut [HYPERCAR]
3 #7 Toyota GAZOO Racing [HYPERCAR]
4 #28 JOTA [LMP2]
5 #22 United Autosports [LMP2]
6 #31 Team WRT [LMP2]
7 #38 JOTA [LMP2]
8 #34 Inter Europol Competition (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
9 #70 Realteam Racing (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
10 #20 High Class Racing [LMP2]
11 #1 Richard Mille Racing [LMP2]
12 #21 DragonSpeed USA (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
13 #51 AF Corse [GTE-PRO]
14 #52 AF Corse [GTE-PRO]
15 #92 Porsche GT Team [GTE-PRO]
16 #91 Porsche GT Team [GTE-PRO]
17 #44 ARC Bratislava (Pro/Am) [LMP2]
18 #29 Racing Team Nederland [LMP2]
19 #47 Cetilar Racing [GTE-AM]
20 #56 Team Project 1 [GTE-AM]
21 #54 AF Corse [GTE-AM]
22 #98 Aston Martin Racing [GTE-AM]
23 #60 Iron Lynx [GTE-AM]
24 #85 Iron Lynx [GTE-AM]
25 #57 Kessel Racing [GTE-AM]
26 #33 TF Sport [GTE-AM]
27 #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing [GTE-AM]
28 #86 GR Racing [GTE-AM]
29 #83 AF Corse [GTE-AM]
30 #709 Glickenhaus Racing [HYPERCAR]
31 #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing [GTE-AM] *DNF
32 #777 D’station Racing [GTE-AM] *DNF