With half the race still to run at Shanghai, the #1 Porsche continues to lead by an extended margin of half a minute over the chasing pack. Behind, the #6 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi sits second after an incredible scrap with the #2 Porsche of Marc Lieb in third.
The big story though is the #8 Audi of Oliver Jarvis, Lucas Di Grassi and Loic Duval, which is challenging for the title, has slipped down to sixth. The team is struggling with an ongoing fuel rig malfunction that is costing the car precious seconds at each stop.
Before the issue Di Grassi was second, and looking to pick up valuable championship points. The championship-leading #2 Porsche has continued its resurgence, and holds a podium spot. Marc Lieb during his stint in the third hour held second, but Kobayashi reeled him in quickly, and the duo battled for multiple laps. The racing was, as it always is in LMP1, frantic, Kobayashi taking the place but running out of hybrid boost multiple times before he could make the move stick just before the third round of stops.
Off the podium places is the #5 Toyota, almost a minute back from Timo Bernhard in the leading Porsche, with the #7 Audi a distant fifth. ByKolles meanwhile, leads LMP1 L, after the Rebellion R-One suffered a misfire which cost the car a significant chunk of time in the garage.
In LMP2, G-Drive Racing still leads, but the #30 KFC-liveried ESM Ligier of Sean Galael, Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Giovanazzi is in contention running an alternative tyre strategy. Giovanazzi led for much of his stint through the end of the second hour and first half of the third, but relinquished the lead just before the end of the last stops. Galael took over the reigns and sits 25 seconds back.
Third in the class is the #36 Signatech Alpine which had a couple of scares in the third hour, notably Gustavo Menezes being spun round at Turn 1 by championship rival Bruno Senna in the RGR Sport Ligier when trying to lap it.
The incident was costly for the RGR crew however, as the team was forced to serve a drive-through for the collision.
Meanwhile, Manor’s woeful race continued with the pole-sitting #44 car being pushed into the garage for repairs after a clash with an SMP car through traffic.
In GTE Pro, the #67 leads the race, but its sister #66 GT has slipped down to fourth in the class after a slow puncture.
As a result, second place was inherited by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari and third was taken by the #95 Aston Martin. Marco Sorensen and Gianmaria Bruni battled hard for second in the third hour, with Bruni putting on a show, getting past Sorensen’s Aston to secure the place round the outside at Turn 1 and through Turn 2.
The racing in GTE Am too has been spectacular. While the #98 Aston Martin continues to lead the group, the battles for the remaining podium spots have been door-to-door.
Currently the KCMG Porsche sits second, pulling away from the third place #83 AF Corse Ferrari after Rui Aguas battled hard with David Heinemeier Hansson’s fourth place Proton Porsche for the position.
Three hours down, three to go!