WEC: Porsche Grabs Podium Finish At Spa
Porsche arrived at Spa for round two of the World Endurance Championship with its 919 Hybrids in Le Mans aerodynamic trim. That replicated the setup used for round one at Silverstone, showcasing the emphasis Porsche is placing on the upcoming French classic.
The number one car of Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy started the race from pole position with Lotterer at the wheel, but it lost the lead to the No7 Toyota into the Bus Stop chicane at the end of lap 10. Two laps later Lotterer lost another place, dropping to third, the No2 sister Porsche of Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley passed it on lap 21. The Porsches engaged in a dice with the Toyotas for much of the race, but the decisive part of the meeting came when, on lap 94, the No1 car pitted just prior to a full course yellow flag period. Jani continued in P3 but was overtaken by the No2 Porsche on lap 116, before pitting at the end of the next lap.
On fresh tyres, Hartley set the fastest lap of the race on lap 122, overtaking the No7 Toyota on lap 127. On his last lap before his next scheduled pit stop, Hartley collided with an LMP2 runner, subsequently stopping for a new nose section. He rejoined the race immediately behind the No7 Toyota in P3 with one hour to go, and that’s how things stayed. Lotterer back into his car, running in fourth place to the finish.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, said: “We started from pole position, set the fastest race lap and scored a podium, but unfortunately we didn’t make it with both cars on the podium. We are still fine with our strategic decision to compete in the first two rounds in low downforce configuration.” Neel Jani commented: “The pace was more or less what we expected it to be. We could match one Toyota but the other one was out of reach. We were a little unlucky and lost a lot of time twice during Full Course Yellows. After this our only chance to come back in the race was rain.”
911 RSRs Finish Fifth And Sixth
In the GTE-Pro class the Porsche GT Team enjoyed what it called a ‘trouble-free race with swift pit stops’, the Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki car finishing fifth, the sister car of Kévin Estre and Michael Christensen finishing sixth. Dr Frank-Steffen Walliser, Head of Porsche Motorsport, said: “This result is very disappointing. We definitely couldn’t match the pace of Ferrari and Ford. Everyone in our team did an absolutely flawless job today, but the gap to the front is simply too big.”
The next outing for Porsche will be 17/18 June for, the 85th running of Le Mans. Prior to the legendary race, there will be a test day on 4th June.
|1. Davidson, Nakajima, Buemi||Toyota TS050 Hybrid||173 laps|
|2. Conway, Kobayashi||Toyota TS050 Hybrid||
|3. Bernhard, Hartley, Bamber||Porsche 919 Hybrid||
Drivers’ World Championship (LMP1):
|1. Davidson, Nakajima, Buemi||Toyota TS050 Hybrid||50 points|
|2. Bernhard, Hartley, Bamber||Porsche 919 Hybrid||33 points|
|3. Lotterer, Jani, Tandy||Porsche 919 Hybrid||28 points|
Constructors’ World Championship (LMP1):