Bahrain WEC: Toyota holds 1-2 after Rebellion woes
Toyota holds a 1-2 at the halfway mark in the FIA World Endurance Championship's Bahrain round after a punishing four hours for the polesitting Rebellion.
Bruno Senna led the pack from pole position in the sole Rebellion R-13 when he was hit by an out-of-control Charlie Robertson in the #5 Ginetta heading into Turn 2 on the opening lap, the two cars pitched into a spin after making contact.
Senna dropped to the back of the field as a result while Robertson had to make a pitstop shortly afterwards, dropping two laps off the lead.
That left the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Mike Conway firmly in the lead, although Senna was able to propel the Rebellion back up to second before he handed over the car to Gustavo Menezes in the second hour.
Menezes then brought the deficit down from 50s to 37s, before a gear selection issue forced the #1 two spend four minutes in the garage.
The lengthy repair job gave Toyota a 1-2 lead, with the #8 car of Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley and Sebastien Buemi successfully recovering to second after it was caught up in the first-lap melee and required a front bodywork change at its first scheduled pitstop.
The #5 Ginetta of Robertson, Ben Hanley and Jordan King sits third, two laps down on the lead Toyota of Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi, after having to serve a drive-through penalty for hitting a GTE car in the first hour.
The Rebellion trio of Senna, Menezes and Norman Nato trails the leader by three laps with four hours of racing still to go.
Chris Dyson, Guy Smith and Mike Simpson are fifth in class in the sister #6 Ginetta after team newcomer Dyson hit the wall at Turn 10 at the start of the second hour.
In the LMP2 class, the United Autosports Oreca of Paul di Resta, Phil Hanson and Filipe Alberquque continues to lead out front from pole position.
Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Job van Uitert sit second in G-Drive Racing's one-off entry, while the #38 JOTA Sport Oreca of Anthony Davidson, Roberto Gonzales and Antonio Felix da Costa lies third.
Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn lead the GTE Pro class for Aston Martin after taking over the top spot from the #51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.
Pier Guidi had previously taken the lead after clearing both the #92 Porsche of Michael Christensen and the #95 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim in quick succession, taking advantage of a close tussle between the two to jump into the lead.
Christensen and Kevin Estre’s points-leading Porsche then had to be pushed back to the garage for quick repairs in the fourth hour.
The sister #91 car driven by Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz also had to make an unscheduled visit to the pits after a puncture just before the halfway point of the race.
With the two Porsches trailing at the back, Pier Guidi and Calado sit second in the lead Ferrari, ahead of the #95 Aston of Thiim and Marco Sorensen.
The GTE Am category is led by the #57 Project 1 Porsche of Ben Keating, Larry Ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen despite a brief stint out front by the factory Aston Martin.
The #98 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner, Ross Gunn and Paul Dalla Lana had dropped back to third by the halfway mark, behind the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche of Ben Barker, Michael Wainwright and Andrew Watson.
Senna: Ginetta "missed the memo" in first-lap clash
Bahrain WEC: Toyota dominates after rivals collide