Mike Conway leads at Spa for Toyota after a topsy-turvy first couple of hours in the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa.
The track was half wet, half dry at the start. Conway’s #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid started on slicks from pole and dropped back as far as seventh at the start, as the wet runners — including both Ferraris, both Peugeots, and the Jota-run Porsche overtook it.
However, Claudio Schiavoni beached his #60 Iron Lynx Porsche 911 RSR-19 at Les Combes, requiring the safety car to bunch the cars up so it could be pushed back on track. This neutralised the track and helped Toyota as the track dried out, meaning at the restart Conway soon overtook the cars who’d overtook him 10 minutes before, retaking the lead from Antonio Giovinazzi in the #51 Ferrari 499P.
Conway’s led the race since then, and had an almost-40 second gap to second-placed Laurens Vanthoor before the safety car came out again for a large crash at Eau Rouge for Renger van der Zande in the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R. He climbed out of the car under his own power.
With Conway leading and Vanthoor second, Sebastien Buemi in the #8 Toyota is third, having started at the back. The safety car period for Schiavoni helped Buemi catch the Hypercar class, and he has since worked his way into third, and is now just a second behind Vanthoor.
Michael Christensen in the #6 Porsche is fourth, with #2 Cadillac’s Earl Bamber fifth.
The leading LMP2 car of Tom Blomqvist, behind the wheel of the #23 United Autosports Oreca 07-Gibson, is sixth overall, in front of both factory Ferrari 499Ps.
Blomqvist took the lead before the first safety car period and has retained it since, building up a large lead to his class competition until the second safety car period shortly before the end of the second hour.
Giovinazzi is seventh and Nielsen in the sister #50 Ferrari is eighth. Both are a lap down to the Hypercars ahead of them, having switched from wets to slicks and lost time in subsequent tyre warmup, with blankets no longer allowed in WEC.
However, both may be on a different tyre strategy to their competition, using a harder compound of tyre, which may explain the tyre warmup issue. This would mean they theoretically may have to change tyres less, spending less time in the pits as a result.
The #34 Inter Europol Oreca 07-Gibson of Fabio Scherer is second in LMP2 and 10th overall. Third in LMP2 is Robin Frijns in the #31 WRT Oreca 07-Gibson, 13th overall behind the #708 Glickenhaus and #94 Peugeot.
In GTE-Am, Tomobunu Fuji leads in the #777 D’Station Aston Martin Vantage AMR, with Michael Dinan second, behind the wheel of the #25 ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage AMR. Third is Simon Mann in the #21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
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