WEC: Audi Disqualification Hands Porsche Victory
Porsche was awarded victory by post-race scrutineers at the opening round of 2016 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone…
The opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was not the smooth affair Porsche may have hoped for, but a post-race decision offered a silver lining. Both 919 Hybrids were outpaced by the Audi duo on Saturday during a wet qualifying session, resulting in an Audi front row and the Porsche pairing relegated to row two. Come Sunday’s race in dry conditions, the No1 entry of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, and Timo Bernhard retired following an accident two hours into the race. The No2 car of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb finished the race in second spot, half a lap adrift of the winning Audi – but the result was set to change.
In the early part of the race Webber caught the leading Audis, overtaking the No8 car on lap seven for second position. On lap 16 the Aussie driver then overtook the second Audi for the lead of the race, pitting on lap 27 to hand over to Hartley for his double stint. Hartley built a comfortable 44 second lead, stopping on lap 55, before a big accident with a back marker on lap 71 ended the race for the reigning World Champions. Hartley said: “I feel very upset for the team. The car was incredibly good and Mark did a mega first stint”.
In the sister car, Dumas handed over to Jani after 26 laps, and Jani stopped for fuel and tyres on lap 55. Jani improved to second place on lap 58, at which point the Porsches were running one-two. Lieb took over driving duties at the next pit stop on lap 71, emerging from the pits in the lead following the retirement of the No1 car. Lieb battled with the No7 Audi following a full course yellow flag period, grabbing the lead before handing the car over to Dumas after 102 laps. Dumas was in P2 before handing the car to Jani on lap 132. After 161 laps the 919 temporarily led the race, stopping for fuel and changing just the left side tyres to save time, but a puncture one lap later forced it back into the pits. A splash and dash on lap 187 saw the car cement second place until the finish.
But hours after the race there was drama. Following the race, the winning No7 Audi was disqualified having failed a skidblock test during post-race scrutineering, handing the victory to Porsche. The stewards deemed that the Audi’s skidblock measured under the 20mm the regulations require, Audi are set to protest but it’s unlikely to alter the decision. Neel Jani tweeted ‘Fine line between unlucky & lucky! After puncture and P2 we still got lucky by winning after Audi got disqualified!’
Here are the revised results:
Race result 6 Hours of Silverstone (GB):
|1.||Dumas/Jani/Lieb||Porsche 919 Hybrid||194 laps|
|2.||Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin||Toyota TS050 Hybrid||– 1 lap|
|3.||Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher||Rebellion R-One AER||– 11 laps|
|DNF||Webber/Hartley/Bernhard||Porsche 919 Hybrid||–|
Drivers’ World Championship after one out of nine rounds:
Constructors’ World Championship:
The next race is the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, which takes place on 7th May 2016.