8h Portimão 6 hour report: safety car closes up Toyota/Alpine battle
Photo: WEC

8h Portimão 6 hour report: safety car closes up Toyota/Alpine battle

The 8 Hours of Portimão was turned on its head in the sixth hour after the first Safety Car of the day ensured that Alpine was able to close significantly on the leading pair of Toyota GR010-Hybrids in the Hypercar class.

Ferrari consolidated its position at the front of LMGTE Pro, while United Autosports USA see its advantage cut to just a few seconds in LMP2. Cetilar Racing back in front in LMGTE Am battle 
Story of hours 4 - 6...

•    Toyota build lead in fifth and sixth hours with No.7 Toyota GR010-Hybrid Hypercar driven by Kamui Kobayashi at wheel 
•    Japanese ace survives lurid lock-up at pit entry and heads No.8 sister car of Kazuki Nakajima  
•    But Safety Car at 5hrs 15mins mark to retrieve spun ARC Bratislava LMP2 car means that Alpine ELF Matmut is able to close on to the back of Toyotas 
•    Nicolas Lapierre homes in on Nakajima and takes second place before closing in on leader Kobayashi. But Alpine pits just before an attack is launched 
•    Glickenhaus Racing continues to circulate but many laps down after earlier incident and repairs to clutch. A repeat of a gear selection issue causes further pit visit for repairs 

•    Ferrari in control of LMGTE Pro as James Calado looks set to give himself a fine birthday present as he enjoys a 50-second lead over stablemate No.52 car driven by Daniel Serra 
•    No.92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 with Kevin Estre back behind the wheel is still in contention but is still juggling tyre strategy as it runs third ahead of No.91 car driven by Richard Lietz 

•    United Autosports USA sees advantage dissipate with safety car deployment, but Wayne Boyd is initially able to fight off Stoffel Vandoorne in the No.28 Jota LMP2 car 
•    Paul di Resta had earlier stretched a strong lead for the No.22 car but race expected to go down to the wire as different tyre strategies play out 
•    As race enters final two hours Boyd hands over to Phil Hanson who emerges from pits behind Vandoorne with the gap at just 6.2s 
•    Vandoorne had earlier engaged in thrilling fight for second place with Charles Milesi’s WRT car in fifth hour and the pair swap places several times 
•    WRT place third with Charles Milesi just 4-seconds from the lead but under pressure from No.38 Jota car which remains in contention with Anthony Davidson at wheel 
•    Racing Team Nederland were well placed with the top bunch in LMP2 but contact for Job van Uitert against the Ferrari of Alessandro PierGuidi causes rear left suspension damage and put car out of contention after repairs are made 

•    Safety Car shakes up close battle in LMGTE Am as Cetilar Racing Ferrari emerges on top but is quickly caught by a flying Matteo Cairoli in No.56 Team Project 1 Porsche 
•    Race for the lead becomes a ‘Battle of the Young Italians’ as Antonio Fuoco defends firmly from Cairoli 
•    Gap is just 2.7seconds as the sixth hour ticks away 
•    No.98 Aston Martin’s run at the front comes to an end in sixth hour when Paul Dalla Lana runs wide at Turn 8, damaging rear diffusor and having to pit
•    Drama drops the Vantage down to fourth place behind the No.54 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Francesco Castellacci