World Endurance Championship: Porsche dominated and won in Texas
Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard in #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid won 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, 5th round of World Endurance Championship. Porsche was one step away from a double victory but half an hour before the end, Porsche’s #18 car had an electrical failure and pitted, so two Audis filled the podium. Second placed is the crew in #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer, while #8 crew Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis finished third. After five (of eight) events Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer are still the leaders of the championship, but Webber/Hartley/Bernhard are just 10 points behind.
Porsche dominated the event at Circuit of the Americas. Their cars started the race from the front row. Neel Jani in #18 car held the lead only to first turn when Webber ovetook him from the outside. Two Audis were behind, with Toyota’s Sebastien Buemi slipped in between them, but only for one lap.
The order was unchanged until the half of the race when #17 car got 1 minute stop-and-go penalty because of pit stop infringement and Webber’s mistake with overshooting his box. Porsche #18 was leading again but with 30 minutes remaining Romain Dumas was forced to stop with electrical issues. The car was back on the track in the final lap and finished 12th overall.
Stop-and-go penalties were handed to #8 Audi and #1 Toyota as well. With that penalty #8 Audi lost the place against sister car #7, while #1 Toyota remained on the same place. Second Toyota TS 040 Hybrid was crashed by Mike Conway in Lap 90 few minutes before 3 hours mark. We saw one more hard crash of #31 LMP-2 Ligier of Extreme Speed Motorsport. Ed Brown went off in spectacular style after he lost his brakes at the final corner of Lap 55.
Winners of LMP2 class were Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal in G-Drive’s Ligier/Nissan. Second was #47 KCMG Oreca/Nissan, which started from the back of the class after an incident in qualifying. Nicolas Lapierre reached the second over the opening half an hour and his teammates Richard Bradley and Matthew Howson remained second.
In GTE Pro class Porsche achieved double victory, with #91 car in front, driven by Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz. Second were Patrick Pilet and Fred Makowiecki in #92 car, ahead of Davide Rigon and James Calado in #71 AF Corse Ferrari.
In GTE Am class #77 Dempsey Porsche of Patrick Long/Marco Seefried/Patrick Dempsey led for much of the race, but they finished fourth. Class winners are Victor Shaytar, Andrea Bertolini and Aleksey Basov in #72 SMP Ferrari, ahead of the #88 Proton Porsche of Earl Bamber, Khaled Al Qubaisi and Christian Ried.