Bahrain WEC: Audi Leads Porsche at Halfway

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Audi led Porsche at the halfway stage of the World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain as the race entered its first full course yellow period for on-track debris.

Audi driver Andre Lotterer held the lead of the race during a double stint aboard the #7 R-18 e tron quattro, followed by the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Marc Lieb, with the gap standing at 20 seconds.

Lotterer took the lead after chasing the sister #8 car of Loic Duval, which was running in second before the Frenchman experienced a suspension failure late in the third hour.

Porsche also suffered problems to one of its LMP1 machines, as the championship leading #17 car was wheeled back into the garage early on with a throttle issue.

Toyota sat third and fourth at halfway, with the #2 TS040 Hybrid of Alex Wurz leading Sebastien Buemi in the #1 machine.

KCMG’s ORECA set the pace in LMP2 (Credit: Nick Dungan/Adrenal Media)

KCMG kept its slim chances of winning the LMP2 title alive after profiting from a spin for the Signatech Alpine entry to take the class lead after three hours.

Nelson Panciatici’s rotation after two and a half hours allowed Richard Bradley to slip through, although this also allowed the two G-Drive Racing Ligiers – including the championship leading #26 car – to move up to second and third in class.

Porsche Team Manthey led the GTE-Pro category, with 40 seconds separating #92 driver Fred Makowiecki and the #71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon, which started from the back of the grid.

Despite starting behind the other manufacturers Patrick Pilet was able to guide the #92 Porsche 911 RSR into the lead during his opening stint, making a decisive move on AF Corse’s Toni Vilander at the final corner.

Vilander’s Ferrari, which is currently being driven by Gianmaria Bruni, still lies third but needs a win to challenge for the GT drivers’ championship.

The full course yellow allowed Abu Dhabi Racing’s Porsche 911 to move from the back of the grid to the lead in GTE-Am at the halfway mark. The class had initially been led by the Larbre Competition Corvette C7.R, but a move by AF Corse guest driver Matteo Cressoni promoted the #83 Ferrari into the lead before the fourth round of pit stops.
Second in class at the three hour mark was the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche, which has been in the top four all race, while the #98 Aston Maartin was third with Mathias Lauda at the wheel.

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