Audi Sport Team Joest currently leads the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone as the season-opening race reaches its halfway point.
The two Audi R18s led the race initially, but a pair of bold moves by Mark Webber in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid put the world champions in the ascendancy for the opening two stints.
However, a heavy crash for Brendon Hartley with a GTE-Am car just after the two hour mark reduced Porsche’s challenge to one entry. Both Hartley and Gulf Racing’s Mike Wainwright escaped unhurt from the incident, but the cars were damaged beyond immediate repair.
Immediately after, the #8 Audi ground to a halt in the arena section with Lucas di Grassi citing a hybrid issue. That prompted the first full course yellow of the race to clear both incidents, allowing a number of teams to pit.
Benoit Treluyer is currently on board the leading #7 Audi, with a seven second advantage over Marc Lieb in the remaining Porsche. The Toyota TS050s run third and fourth, still on the lead lap, while the #13 Rebellion privateer car completes the top five.
In LMP2, Pipo Derani had set the early pace in the ESM Ligier JS P2 but lost ground when his team-mate Chris Cumming went off at Vale. Much of the opening half of the race was controlled by Rene Rast in the G-Drive Racing Oreca 05, but a spin at turn 10 just after the full course yellow provided a setback.
That promoted the Strakka Racing Gibson 015S of Danny Watts into the lead, with Bruno Senna second for RGR Sport by Morand. But a determined comeback from Rast brought the G-Drive back into the lead with two swift passes within the space of a few laps.
At the three hour mark, Rast led Watts by 10 seconds, with Senna only three seconds behind the Strakka car in third.
GTE-Pro was led by Davide Rigon at the halfway marker after the Italian opted to stay on track during the full course yellow. With older tyres Rigon was able to hold off Marco Sorensen (#95 Aston Martin) who is now a lap behind, while the two Ford GTs are third and fourth.
The once-leading Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche dropped down the order early on when Michael Christensen encountered a suspension issue.
In GTE-Am, the AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Emmanuel Collard held sway in front of the KCMG Porsche 911 RSR, with the #88 Proton Porsche in third.