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FIA WEC: Silverstone, Hours 4 & 5 Report, Lotterer & Audi Take Charge

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As the GTE Pro stops got underway the lead #92 Porsche was pushed into its garage, a four minute delay dropping it to sixth in class as Fred Makowiecki resumed. Toni Vilander had made the best of the sequence to now lead the category by 1.89 seconds from the #71 AF Corse car, now in the hands of David Rigon. Michael Christensen held third with the #91 Porsche, 20 seconds off the class lead.

After the #1 Toyota had transferred to Kazuki Nakajima (which had just taken tyres, no fuel), and the #7 Audi had also fuelled up, Lotterer staying aboard, the #18 Porsche had re-taken the lead temporarily before coming in itself for tyres. The Porsche rejoined between the Toyotas, the new order therefore being:

7 Audi, Lotterer / 1 Toyota, Nakajima / 18 Porsche, Lieb / 2 Toyota, Conway / 8 Audi, Duval.

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Duval’s Audi was soon into the pits however after a grassy moment. The #2 Toyota of Mike Conway meanwhile had passed the Porsche around the outside at Vale for third – just before pitting, Sarrazin taking over with a fresh set of rubber and refuelled.

Over in GTE Am meanwhile, Paul Dalla Lana’s #98 Aston Martin was running 40 seconds ahead of the Manu Collard pedalled AF Corse Ferrari. Bertolini’s SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia ran third, 36 seconds behind the AF Corse car. The Larbre Corvette was back to fourth having had a stop / go.

The Pro category resumed its typical battle at the front as the two AF Corse cars struggled nose to tail with each other while also avoiding incoming P1 traffic. This element of today’s race was worthy of praise as, so far, there had been no particularly silly moves in traffic by any category despite the closing speed of the LMP1’s.

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The long hunt finally concluded for Davide Rigon as he took the lead for the #71 Ferrari and started to edge away.

Lotterer’s margin in the #7 Audi was up to 35 seconds at the front with 2 hours 15 minutes to go.
Audi / Toyota / Porsche / Toyota / Audi.

A note for the CLM car, still running in LMP1: 6th in class but 27th overall – it had been a tough test so far for the re-named team. A stop / go would add to the weight of the weekend so far.

GTE Pro leader Rigon pits handing over the lead to the sister car in the hands of Toni Vilander.

Nakajima pits the #1 Toyota and takes on fuel but no new rubber. Fassler follows him in next lap round and stays in the car taking fuel and Tyres. Importantly Fassler comes back out 20 seconds ahead of Nakajima and he has fresher rubber. Marc Lieb inherits the lead in the #18 Porsche.

The Larbre Corvette takes an assisted trip into the Becketts gravel trap. Oli Jarvis went for a gap and the Corvette closed it. Minor visible damage to the Audi but the Corvette needs to be retrieved from the gravel. The marshals make quick work of it and Kristian Poulsen is back on his way.

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Lieb pits from the lead in the #18 Porsche and hands over to Neel Jani car is fuelled and tyres changed. Jani emerges in 4th only to be handed 3rd by Sarrazin pitting the #2 Toyota. Sarrazin takes just fuel and is on his way. Oliver Jarvis has a spin all on his own.

The lead for GTE Pro had been hotly contested by the two AF Corse cars for some time and now Calado and Bruni have got on board it continues. Bruni has a go at The Loop and Calado shuts the door but next lap round in the same place Bruni does the job and #51 leads. Richard Lietz had been pushing the #91 Porsche, the 911 RSR starting to close in on Calado.

The KCMG Oreca is handed a 1 minute stop / go for a pitlane infringement, the latest of several discussions with the organisers in the last 4 hours, the car long out of LMP2 contention.

Another round of P1 pitstops saw Buemi climb back aboard the #1 Toyota. The leader also came in and took tyres, out ahead of the #18 Porsche, which had yet to make its scheduled stop. These two were gapping at 1.6 seconds.

Martin Little