The championship leading, and pole-sitting #2 Porsche LMP Team 919 Hybrid of Earl Bamber leads the 2017 6 Hours of Fuji, after 35 minutes of racing action following a safety car start and a safety car period at the end of the opening hour for low visibility, rain and fog. The action behind though, has been frenetic during the green flag running.
It’s been a start for #2’s title rivals in the #8 Toyota TS050, which stormed to second on the opening lap, Sebastien Buemi muscling past Andre Lotterer’s #1 919 at the end of the lap, the two cars colliding with each other. Lotterer then slipped to fourth behind Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota, but it wasn’t long until the German fought back in a thrilling sequence before the second safety car period.
In LMP2, the #32 Rebellion ORECA of Bruno Senna took a controlling lead when the action got underway, taking the lead from the sister #13 ORECA of Nelson Piquet Jnr immediately after a scary spin at Turn 1 at the start for the Brazilian, who subsequently dropped to the back of the field.
Battles then broke out for the other top five spots, Nicolas Lapierre in the Signtech Alpine the star of the show. The Frenchman drove past James Rossiter’s G-Drive Racing 07 and both Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs to snatch second spot in the class. Brundle in the #37 Jackie Chan 07 is now third, with Jarvis in the sister car fourth and Rossiter down to fifth.
GTE Pro was close, the #91 Porsche leading the way from Pole, Richard Lietz having a faultless drive in the first stint. The #67 Ford sits second with Harry Tincknell at the wheel, ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, the Italian overtaking Stefan Mucke’s #66 Ford and Michael Christensen’s #92 Porsche to take a top three spot.
Kieta Sawa was also faultless in the lead of the GTE Am class, the Japanese driver on home soil creating a comfortable margin up front of over five seconds before the field was neutralised. The Spirit of Race Ferrari has second, the pair of Ferraris ahead of the Pro class Aston Martins which are struggling for pace.
The final podium spot is filled by the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche, after Christian Reid was involved in multiple battles with Mathias Lauda’s Aston Martin and Mike Hedlund in the Gulf Racing Porsche.