Porsche fend off Toyota to win in Shanghai

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An unfor­tu­nate punc­ture for Toy­ota cost them the chance of going for the win, but it was a com­bi­na­tion of a poor day for Audi and a win for Porsche which has sealed the man­u­fac­tures cham­pi­onship for Porsche in Shang­hai for the sec­ond year run­ning. How­ev­er the dri­vers title will go to the wire in Bahrain between the #2 Porsche and the #6 Toy­ota. 

porsche-win-shanghai-2016Hour 4

The fourth hour was impor­tant in terms of the over­all cham­pi­onship. The #5 Toy­ota of Sebas­t­ian Bue­mi caught and passed the #2 cham­pi­onship lead­ing Porsche of Roman Dumas, which helped close the gap between the #6 Toy­ota and the #2 car in the cham­pi­onship stand­ings.

Next up the dra­ma con­tin­ued in LMP1 as Audi had an unchar­ac­ter­is­tic moment. When, in traf­fic, the #8 of Oliv­er Jarvis end­ed up tag­ging the side of Treluyer’s #7 Audi. The con­tact pit­ted the #7 into a spin which lost it around ten sec­onds in it’s hunt for fourth place.

Through the round of pit stops towards the end of the fourth hour, Porsche’s #2 car man­aged to re take the posi­tion that Bue­mi had tak­en ear­li­er in the hour.

porsche-toyota-shanghai-2016Audi’s day con­tin­ued to go from bad to worse as the #7 R18 e-tron quat­tro head­ed up on to the dolly’s and back into the garage for repair works at the rear end of the car. The air jack con­nec­tor was the bro­ken part which suf­fered dam­age after con­tact with the #8 Audi.

At the end of the hour it was Mark Webber’s turn to lead the field in the #1 Porsche 919 with Mike Con­way keep­ing the Aus­tralian dri­ver hon­est in sec­ond place. Third had gone back the way of Porsche’s #2 car, how­ev­er Jani was under the close atten­tions of Bue­mi. Audi con­tin­ued to sit at the bot­tom of LMP1, even the lead­ing LMP1 pri­va­teer ByKolles team putting Audi under pres­sure.

Will Stevens led LMP2 for G-Dri­ve Rac­ing in their Ore­ca 05. Sean Gelael sat in the sec­ond posi­tion in class for ESM. The #36 Alpine held third in class which was good dam­age lim­i­ta­tion after a far from clear run for the cham­pi­onship lead­ers.

g-drive-signatech-shanghai-2016

Ford con­tin­ued to dom­i­nate GTE-PRO. Back up to a 1–2 being head­ed by Har­ry Tinck­nell. Oli Pla hold­ing sec­ond place ahead of James Cal­a­do for Fer­rari now in third. Pedro Lamy led Col­lard in GTE-AM with Joel Camathias’s KCMG in third

Hour 5

It was Toyota’s turn to have a part in the dra­ma as their sec­ond place car had a sud­den drop in pres­sure on the left rear tyre. This forced the Japan­ese team to pull the car in and change the tyre, which in turn gave Porsche their 1–2 at the front of the field back.

In the mean time Sebas­t­ian Bue­mi set about get­ting his place back from the #2 Porsche. Which he did suc­cess­ful­ly with 92 min­utes left in the race. The 2014 win­ner, Bue­mi, made his way up the inside into the first hair­pin and man­aged to cap­i­talise as Jani was strug­gling with tyre wear. All the time the two Swiss dri­vers bat­tling allowed Mike Con­way to close on the pair of them.

Though the pit stops though the Porsche Toy­ota yoyo con­tin­ued and it put the #2 back into sec­ond place. With all eyes on the world cham­pi­onship, it became all about where the #6 car can fol­low in rela­tion to the #2 Porsche. Toy­ota swapped posi­tions to pro­mote the #6 into third place. How­ev­er from Porsche’s point of view the order is the wrong way around for them in rela­tion to the cham­pi­onship stand­ings.

Porsche’s #1 led going into the final hour with a minute lead over the #2 cham­pi­onship lead­ing car. #6 and #5 Toy­ota sat in third and fourth respec­tive­ly. ByKolles still head­ed the LMP1 pri­va­teer class.

83-ferrari-shanghai-2016LMP2 still had the Russ­ian team G-Dri­ve at the front. ESM held sec­ond with RGR Sport under pres­sure by cham­pi­ons elect Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine for third in class.

In GTE-PRO it was none oth­er than Andy Pri­aulx and Har­ry Tinck­nell head­ing the class in the #67 Ford GT ahead of Mucke in the #66 car in sec­ond. Third was Bruni in the #51 AF Corse Fer­rari. Aston Mar­tin con­tin­ued to lead GTE-AM ahead of Fer­rari and KCMG’s Porsche.

The Final Hour

It was all eyes on the Toy­ota tag team tak­ing on the #2 919 Hybrid. Sebas­t­ian Bue­mi man­aged to make the move on the way into turn 6 sweep­ing around the out­side of Neel Jani. The Swiss dri­ver then respond­ed going into the penul­ti­mate cor­ner but went too deep on the mar­bles on the inside and lost more time, the Toy­ota hold­ing the posi­tion. The move was key as it meant that Porsche were no longer in a posi­tion to swap the #1 and #2 cars around. Now it was all eyes on David­son to see if he could take more points from the #2 Porsche.

It was to be in the pit stops that Toy­ota pulled their trump card, stop­ping for fuel, no tyres on both cars. In turn this cut the lead to 41 sec­onds and put the #5 Toy­ota ahead of the #2 Porsche with 20 min­utes on the clock. It was all about if Toy­ota could get their tyres to the end. It was to be a tall order in race where no one had dou­ble stint­ed tyres so far.

porsche-win-shanghai-2016Porsche held on to win the six hours of Shang­hai with Timo Bern­hard, Bren­don Hart­ley and Mark Web­ber the vic­to­ri­ous dri­vers for the sec­ond year in a row. This time also break­ing the event’s dis­tance record. The win also wrapped up the win for Porsche in the man­u­fac­tures cham­pi­onship. Toy­ota kept the cham­pi­onship chal­lenge alive with the #6 car fin­ish­ing sec­ond and the #5 TS050 com­ing home third to steal points away from the #2 Porsche. ByKolles almost man­aged to split the Aud­is in sixth. how­ev­er Mar­cel Fassler took his Audi R18 e-tron quat­tro past the Aus­tri­an car with two min­utes remain­ing.

LMP2 saw a sec­ond suc­ces­sive win for G-Dri­ve. ESM fin­ished in an impres­sive sec­ond in class with RGR Sport com­plet­ing the podi­um. How­ev­er Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine stole the head­lines wrap­ping up the dri­vers cham­pi­onship for Nico­las Lapierre, Gus­ta­vo Menezes and Stephane Richel­mi.

GTE-PRO was Fords day. They pulled off the 1–2 that was on the cards all day with the #67 car of Tinck­nell and Pri­aulx tak­ing the win. The lat­ter break­ing the class lap record by 1.5 sec­onds. The #66 Ford GT of Olivi­er Pla and Ste­fan Mucke fin­ished sec­ond. Bruni and Cal­a­do round­ed off to podi­um.

GTE-AM saw dra­ma on the final lap as Felipe Albu­querque lauched down the inside of the KCMG anf AF Corse Fer­rari, caus­ing the cham­pi­onship lead­ing Fer­rari to spin and loose ground. Aston Mar­tin kept their title hopes alive by tak­ing the #98 car to vic­to­ry. KCMG’s Porsche held on to sec­ond, as did AF Corse’s Fer­rari which held on to third.

Images — FIA WEC