6 Hours of Shanghai: One more victory and the title for Porsche
Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, the crew of #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, won the 6 Hours of Shanghai, the penultimate race of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship. With their third consecutive victory they also extended the lead in the drivers’ classification. With the #18 Porsche, driven by Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani, finishing in second place, Porsche have secured the Manufacturers’ Championship title.
Two Audi R18 e-tron quattros finished third and fourth respectively, with #7 car twenty seconds ahead of #8 car. Two Toyotas finished fifth and sixth. The LMP2 class was won for the first time by the Signatech Alpine squad of Tom Dillmann, Nelson Panciatici and Paul-Loup Chatin. They won ahead of championship leaders Sam Bird, Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov in the #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan.
In LMGTE Pro, the #91 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR took a commanding victory with 45 seconds advantage ahead of #51 AF Corse Ferrari. Drivers of the winning Porsche were Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen. AF Corse celebrated its win LMGTE Am class as with #83 Ferrari of Francois Perrodo, Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard more than 40 seconds ahead of #98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.
The race started behind the Safety Car and immediately saw drama as Marc Lieb in #18 Porsche and Andre Lotterer in #7 Audi collided at Turn 7 on the first green flag lap. Lieb spun and was stuck on the inside kerb. This dropped him to the back of the field. Lotterer was able to stay in the race and he was chasing Brendon Hartley’s leading #17 Porsche in the opening hour.
The New Zealander was then able to extend the small lead until handing over to team mate Timo Bernhard. When Audi elected to make pit stops and driver changes on both its cars, a Full Course Yellow was deployed to retrieve Dominik Kraihamer’s spun Rebellion. In the meantime, Porsche #18 recovered and took P2. When another FCY came, this time to recover the #1 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima from the turn 16 gravel-trap, Porsche also took the opportunity to change drivers. Audi #8 of Lucas Di Grassi took the lead on the 3-hour mark, but the second Audi and both Porsches was close.
In the following hours we saw fantastic fight for the lead with numerous position changes and close gaps. Four leading cars were inside three seconds in one moment. In the later hours #17 Porsche built the advantage and crossed the finish line with comfortable gap of 26s ahead sister car.
Check all the results at SnapLap result pages.
Photos: Porsche Motorsport, Nick Dungan/AdrenalMedia