WEC: Porsche Scores Dominant 1-2 In Mexico
The fifth round of the World Endurance Championship took place at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico. Brendon Hartley started the No2 Porsche 919 Hybrid from pole position and took a solid lead, followed by the sister Porsche started by Nick Tandy from the front row of the grid. Hartley made the No2 car’s first fuel stop on lap 39, handing it over to Earl Bamber on lap 79. Behind, Tandy stayed on the heels of the leading car, refuelling after 40 laps and handing the car to André Lotterer after 80 laps. Speeding in the pit lane earned Tandy’s car a stop-and-go penalty that cost around 20 seconds, served by Lotterer at the end of lap 91, which resulted in it losing contact with the leading No2 Porsche. Bamber stopped for fuel on lap 119, when a defective fuel flow meter sensor, which controls petrol consumption, was replaced, Lotterer refuelled after 120 laps.
At mid-distance on lap 121, Bamber lapped the first Toyota, then on lap 136 he lapped the second one, such was the dominance of the 919s. After 159 laps, Bamber handed over to Bernhard, one lap later Lotterer handed over to Neel Jani, who lapped the No8 Toyota in the pit lane. A full course yellow period saw the No2 car in for tyres and fuel after 182 laps, one lap after the sister No1 car did the very same thing. The No1 car lapped the second of the two Toyotas on lap 190. A second full course yellow period saw both Porsche cars in for fuel again, their last ‘splash and dash’ stops taking place just a couple of laps from the finish. Expected rain in the final stages of the six-hour race never materialised in what turned out to be a dominant one-two result for Porsche.
Brendon Hartley commented: “This was an awesome race weekend by our Porsche team. We were fast from the first session onwards and in the race our car was really amazing. Actually both our cars got away quickly from the Toyotas. We didn’t expect to have such a pace advantage. Lapping traffic at times was a bit of a gamble as it is a tough track in that respect. The last section is like a street track but I tried to be careful and bring it home with no mistakes. Earl and Timo both did superb jobs. We controlled the race and didn’t have to take extra risks. Mexico was fantastic and I’m looking forward to the rest of the championship.”
Briton Nick Tandy said: “I did the double stint at the beginning and it was fine. We managed to get out in front together and work as a team. We were saving fuel a bit to offset our pit stops to avoid both cars pitting at the same time. Everything worked fine today except for the pit speed limit infringement.”
Porsche has now scored 198 points in the manufacturers’ world championship with Toyota on 141.5 points. In the drivers’ standings, Bamber, Bernhard and Hartley sit on 134 points having extended their lead over the best placed Toyota trio to 41 points. Jani, Lotterer and Tandy now lie third in the championship on 64 points. Round six of the WEC’s nine rounds takes place on 16th September in Austin, Texas at the Circuit of the Americas.
RSR Gets Podium Finish
In the GTE class the Porsche GT Team scored its fourth podium result this season with the new 510hp 911 RSR. The duo of Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki in the No91 entry now advance to second place in the GTE-Pro drivers’ world championship standings.
Teammates Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre were not so lucky in the second RSR (No92), they ended up in fifth place having collided with an amateur-class Ferrari in the first hour of racing, further drama later into the race ultimately served to put them out of contention for a decent result. In the GTE-Am class, in which Porsche’s customer squads field the 2015-spec 911 RSR, Dempsey Proton Racing with the Porsche Young Professional Matteo Cairoli clinched its second win of the season.
Richard Lietz said: “That was a strong performance from the whole team. I would like to dedicate this podium result to my grandfather who passed away peacefully last week. He used to race Porsches and he was the biggest Porsche fan I knew. As much as we’re delighted with second in the world championship rankings, it’s nothing more than a snapshot. The final score is always settled at the end”.
|1. Bernhard / Hartley / Bamber||919 Hybrid||240 laps|
|2. Jani / Lotterer / Tandy||919 Hybrid||240 laps|
|3. Davidson / Nakajima / Buemi||Toyota TS050||239 laps|
|1. Rigon / Bird||Ferrari 488 GTE||209 laps|
|2.Thiim / Soerensen||Aston Martin||209 laps|
|3. Lietz/Makowiecki||911 RSR||208 laps|
|5. Christensen / Estre||911 RSR||207 laps|
|1. Bernhard / Hartley / Bamber||919 Hybrid||108 points|
|2. Davidson / Nakajima / Buemi||Toyota TS050||78 points|
|3.Jani / Lotterer / Tandy||919 Hybrid||64 points|
|1. Priaulx / Tincknell||Ford GT||96 points|
|2. Lietz / Makowieck||911 RSR||88 points|
|3. Rigon||Ferrari 488 GTE||79.5 points|
|11. Estre / Christensen||911 RSR||34 points|
|1. Porsche||198 points|
|2. Toyota||141.5 points|