Toyota move further ahead in Sebring 1000 Miles as Ferrari crashes

World Endurance Championship

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Toyota is on course to win the first World Endurance Championship race of the year, as their hypercars occupy the top two positions at the Sebring 1000 Miles with just over an hour to go.

Jose Maria Lopez went into the second half of the race with a growing lead over team mate Ryo Hirakawa, with the number six Team Penske-run Porsche occupying third place after Ferrari’s Nicklas Nielsen pitted.

Andre Lotterer then pitted the Porsche, and Ferrari’s Antonio Giovinazzi pitted from fourth, promoting Cadillac’s Richard Westbrook up to the final podium place until his own pit stop.

The lead Toyota pitted at a similar time, putting Hirakawa at the front of the race for a lap before he also made his way into the pit lane and re-emerged 4.3 seconds behind Lopez and a lap ahead of Nielsen.

Lapped traffic enabled Hirakawa to close the gap to his team mate, and it was at two seconds before a Full Course Yellow period caused by the #51 Ferrari crashing while lapping GTE Am class cars after it was handed over by Giovinazzi to Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Initially the damage was not too bad, but Pier Guidi drove too quickly on his way to the pits and it led to the rear-left of his car being ripped apart and debris being left around the track. Lengthy repairs, plus a ten-second stop-go penalty for the incident, removed him from podium contention.

Giovinazzi had come to close to passing Lotterer on track before the latter pitted, and when Lotterer returned to track he influenced the fight in the LMP2 class by being slow to warm up his tyres and getting in the way of two cars that were fighting another that successfully got past his Porsche.

Once the pit stop cycle played out, Westbrook was in third again and 44 seconds clear of Antonio Fuoco who had taken over the #50 Ferrari from Nielsen.

Following the Full Course Yellow period, and a spin for Vanwall’s Jacques Villenevue, Toyota chose to pit Hirakawa from second and do the same with Lopez a lap later. This time the overcut worked best, with Kamui Kobayashi keeping the number seven car back in the lead after taking over from Lopez and then pulling away by a second per lap from an unhappy Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car.

Westbrook went from third to fifth with his next pit stop, putting Fuoco back onto the podium and with a 40 second gap to Laurens Vanthoor in the #6 Porsche. It was only a handful of laps before Vanthoor pitted too, after which the gap was large enough for Ferrari to call in Fuoco without losing a position.

He returned to track two laps down from the Toyotas, now almost ten seconds apart as Buemi’s frustrations continued, and only a few seconds ahead of Earl Bamber who had taken over from Westbrook.

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Race positions

17Hypercar (Hybrid)ToyotaToyota GR010 HybridMike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez
28Hypercar (Hybrid)ToyotaToyota GR010 HybridSébastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo Hirakawa
350Hypercar (Hybrid)Ferrari AF CorseFerrari 499PAntonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas Nielsen
42Hypercar (Hybrid)CadillacCadillac V-Series.REarl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard Westbrook
56Hypercar (Hybrid)Porsche PenskePorsche 963Kévin Estre/André Lotterer/Laurens Vanthoor
65Hypercar (Hybrid)Porsche PenskePorsche 963Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frédéric Makowiecki
748LMP2JotaOreca 07 – GibsonDavid Beckmann/Yifei Ye/William Stevens
863LMP2PremaOreca 07 – GibsonDoriane Pin/Mirko Bortolotti/Daniil Kvyat
931LMP2Team WRTOreca 07 – GibsonSean Gelael/Ferdinand Habsburg/Robin Frijns
1022LMP2United AutosportsOreca 07 – GibsonFrederick Lubin/Philip Hanson/Filipe Albuquerque
1134LMP2Inter EuropolOreca 07 – GibsonJakub Smiechowski/Fabio Scherer/Albert Costa
1228LMP2JotaOreca 07 – GibsonDavid Heinemeier Hansson/Pietro Fittipaldi/Oliver Rasmussen
1341LMP2Team WRTOreca 07 – GibsonRui Andrade/Robert Kubica/Louis Delétraz
149LMP2PremaOreca 07 – GibsonFilip Ugran/Bent Viscaal/Andrea Caldarelli
1536LMP2AlpineOreca 07 – GibsonMatthieu Vaxiviere/Julien Canal/Charles Milesi
1651Hypercar (Hybrid)Ferrari AF CorseFerrari 499PAlessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio Giovinazzi
1733LMGTE AmCorvetteChevrolet Corvette C8.RBen Keating/Nicolas Varrone/Nicky Catsburg
1893Hypercar (Hybrid)PeugeotPeugeot 9X8Paul Di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Éric Vergne
1957LMGTE AmKesselFerrari 488 GTE EVOTakeshi Kimura/Scott Huffaker/Daniel Serra
2077LMGTE AmDempsey-ProtonPorsche 911 RSR 19Christian Ried/Mikkel Pedersen/Julien Andlauer
2121LMGTE AmAF CorseFerrari 488 GTE EVOStefano Costantini/Simon Mann/Ulysse de Pauw
2254LMGTE AmAF CorseFerrari 488 GTE EVOThomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Davide Rigon
2385LMGTE AmIron DamesPorsche 911 RSR 19Sarah Bovy/Michelle Gatting/Rahel Frey
2460LMGTE AmIron LynxPorsche 911 RSR 19Claudio Schiavoni/Matteo Cressoni/Alessio Picariello
2586LMGTE AmGRPorsche 911 RSR 19Michael Wainwright/Riccardo Pera/Benjamin Barker
2625LMGTE AmORT by TFAston Martin Vantage AMRAhmad Al Harthy/Michael Dinan/Charlie Eastwood
27777LMGTE AmD’StationAston Martin Vantage AMRSatoshi Hoshino/Casper Stevenson/Tomonobu Fujii
2810LMP2Vector SportOreca 07 – GibsonRyan Cullen/Matthias Kaiser/Gabriel Aubry
2998LMGTE AmNorthwest AMRAston Martin Vantage AMRPaul Dalla Lana/Nicki Thiim/Axcil Jeffries
3056LMGTE AmProject 1 AOPorsche 911 RSR 19PJ Hyett/Gunnar Jeannette/Matteo Cairoli
314Hypercar (Hybrid)Floyd VanwallVanwall Vandervell 680Tom Dillmann/Esteban Guerrieri/Jacques Villeneuve
3235LMP2AlpineOreca 07 – GibsonAndré Negrão/Memo Rojas/Oliver Caldwell
3394Hypercar (Hybrid)PeugeotPeugeot 9X8Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico Müller
3423LMP2United AutosportsOreca 07 – GibsonJoshua Pierson/Tom Blomqvist/Oliver Jarvis
35708Hypercar (Hybrid)GlickenhausGlickenhaus 007Romain Dumas/Ryan Briscoe/Olivier Pla
3683LMGTE AmAF CorseFerrari 488 GTE EVOLuis Perez Companc/Lilou Wadoux/Alessio Rovera

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Author information

Ida Wood
Often found in junior single-seater paddocks around Europe doing journalism and television commentary, or dabbling in teaching photography back in the UK. Currently based...

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