Halfway through the 6 hours of Shanghai, it’s a Toyota Gazoo Racing 1-2 up front in LMP1, the two Porsches falling back through hours two and three.
Leading the race is the #8 TS050 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, 14 seconds in front of Mike Conway in the #7. The best of the Porsches is still the #2, which is now over a minute back, unable to match the pace of the two Toyotas, the car slipping from second to third after Kamui Kobayashi dived up the inside of Earl Bamber at the final hairpin in the opening minutes of the second hour.
The #1 919 meanwhile, is still fourth, and now a lap down.
In LMP2, the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA continues to dominate, Julien Canal leading by 11 seconds, though the resurgent #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, now driven by Ho Pin Tung, has brought the lead gap down from over 40 seconds during the third hour.
Third, after losing second midway through hour three is the Signatech Alpine A470 of Andre Negrao, the Brazilian unable to stay ahead of Tung during his first stint in the car.
Fourth, and outside the podium positions is the #24 Manor ORECA, which at one point was battling for second after Ben Hanley climbed in following Matt Rao’s opening stint. But Hanley has since slipped back, after colliding with Tung during a lengthy battle. Tung went up the the inside to take third off Hanley, at Turn 1, and in the closing gap, Hanley hit the DC Racing car into a spin on the inside of Turn 4. It’s a collision which resulted in Hanley receiving a 10-second time penalty added to the next stop.
In GTE Pro, it’s changed up front. Porsche still leads, but it’s now the #91 911 RSR of Fred Makowiecki in control, after Kevin Estre suffered an engine issue in the sister car while leading – causing it to return on the spot in the gravel at Turn 1.
Makowiecki leads by just a couple of seconds over the chasing Olivier Pla in the #66 GT and Andy Priaulx in the #67 sister Ford.
During hours two and three Porsche and Ford have proven the cars to have on pace, the Aston and Ferraris fading. The #95 Aston Martin which started from pole is now fifth, the Ferraris fourth and sixth (the #51 the better placed of the two).
Aston Martin Racing continues to control GTE Am however, Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy the class of the field so far. The lead for the trio is now over a minute over the Gulf Racing UK Porsche.
Drama for the two class Ferraris has shook up the order. Weng Sun Mok dived up the inside of Thomas Flohr’s Spirit of Race 488 to take second for Clearwater, as that happened Tristan Gommendy dived up the inside of them both, and slammed Mok into Flohr. It caused irreparable damage to the Spirit of Race car, and significant damage to the Clearwater example, which lost six laps in the pits.
It promoted the Dempsey Proton to third, the Clearwater crew – who are is fighting for the Teams and Drivers titles – down to fourth.