Porsche steal 6 Hours of Mexico victory

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There was not a car that could not or should not have won in Meix­co. Porsche how­ev­er were the lucky ones. For all of the con­tro­ver­sy in LMP1 how­ev­er, LMP2 got the fairy tale win for RGR Sport on home soil. 

WINNER MEXICOHour 4

The sec­ond half kicked off with a spin for the Lar­bre Com­pe­ti­tion Corvette at the final cor­ner after Wolf Hen­zler tapped the Amer­i­can machine around. That some­what set the tone for what was to come.

A lap lat­er Medi­ani in the #27 SMP BR-01 turned over the front of the same Corvette in the sta­di­um sec­tion which caused yet anoth­er spin in what was turn­ing out to be a very busy sec­tion of track.

There was dra­ma at the front of the field when the lead­ing #1 Porsche then picked up a dri­ve through penal­ty for cross­ing the pit entry line. How­ev­er this did not seem to set back a very fast Bren­don Hart­ley. With­in a mat­ter of laps the Kiwi re-passed the #2 Porsche and closed the lead gap to Loic Duval down.

With half an hour gone into the fourth hour Bren­don Hart­ley made the move into an increas­ing­ly wet sta­di­um sec­tion, which worked per­fect­ly for Porsche, as the Audi of Duval got stuck behind the Corvette which held it up the Audi onto the main straight and helped Porsche build it’s lead.

A lap lat­er Audi once again found it’s #8 car under pres­sure from a Porsche as yet more traf­fic slowed the Audi. Despite Duval defend­ing hard, it was not enough to keep their cham­pi­onship rivals at bay, mak­ing it a Porsche one-two, as the rain began to fall more and more.

Toy­ota were the first LMP1 team to jump onto the full wets short­ly fol­lowed by the two Porsches, how­ev­er Duval stayed out in the Audi for one extra lap than the oth­ers. How­ev­er, the #8, which was tak­en over by Oliv­er Jarvis in the stop, only put on the  tyre, rather than the full wets of it’s rivals.

How­ev­er, on his first full lap Oliv­er Jarvis had a fast acci­dent at the end of the main straight. On the radio the British dri­ver report­ed that he hit the brakes ear­ly and that some­thing broke on the car. It was lat­er report­ed that the acci­dent was caused by a left front wheel bear­ing fail­ure. Despite the large impact, Jarvis got the Audi R18 e-tron quat­tro back to the pits.

This acci­dent was made dou­bly frus­trat­ing for Audi as their slick-inter­me­di­ate call was the right one. Andre Lot­ter­er proved that as he was going four sec­onds a lap faster in his #7 Audi, which had already suf­fered due to miss for­tune at the start of the race. It was a case of what could have been for the lead­ing Audi in the cham­pi­onship.

Audi Mexico 2Lotterer’s pace con­tin­ued into the rain with blis­ter­ing pace tak­ing time by the buck­et load in the #7 Audi. By the fifth hour the Audi was back on the lead lap.

The #95 Aston Mar­tin lost out as well at the end of the hour after slip­ping onto the curb and off the track and into the wall at turn 6.

Despite loos­ing pace, Porsche led out of the fourth hour, now in first and sec­ond due to the dra­mat­ic exit of the #8 Audi. Amaz­ing­ly, Lot­ter­er made it the #7 Audi in third, after mak­ing up over 67 sec­onds in just under 30 min­utes. G-Dri­ve led the LMP2 class ahead of the #36 Alpine and the RGR car in sec­ond and third respec­tive­ly.

GTE-PRO looked dif­fer­ent for the first time this race, how­ev­er it was still Aston Mar­tin head­ing the pack. The #97 car led ahead of the #51 Fer­rari 488 being dri­ven by James Cal­a­do. The #67 Ford with Andy Pri­aulx dri­ving sat third in class. The bat­tle scared #95 car dropped to fifth.

GTE-AM con­tin­ued to see Porsche’s Abu-Dhabi Pro­ton team lead. KCMG were sec­ond in class with the #83 AF Corse Fer­rari still third in class.

Hour 5

The hour opened with Porsche pit­ting for new rear body pan­el after loos­ing it to the sec­ond place LMP2 car at the end of the pre­vi­ous hour. This furtehr pro­mot­ed the #7 Audi of Andre Lot­ter­er up to sec­ond place.

15 min­utes after the acci­dent for the #8 Audi, the Joest team had fixed and re-joined the race with Oliv­er Jarvis back behind the wheel. How­ev­er he spun almost imme­di­ate­ly into turn one, before report­ing on the radio that there were no front brakes despite the repairs. He once again brought the car back to the pit garage.

Soon after, the #1 Porsche went into the pits from the lead of the race to put on the slick-inter­me­di­ate tyres that had been work­ing so well on the Audi. This hand­ed the lead to the #7 Audi.

Toy­ota then took a piece of the action as Stephane Sar­razin made a move on Marc Lieb which put the French­man into third place over­all. How­ev­er, a cou­ple of laps lat­er both cars pit­ted, and the Porsche nipped back ahead of the Toy­ota. The Porsche switch­ing from wets to slick-inter­me­di­ates, and the Toy­ota on full slicks.

Audi then pit­ted the #7 car from the lead, which put the #1 Porsche back into the lead, how­ev­er, the slick-inter­me­di­ate was on the Porsche, and the full slicks were on the Audi.

Back in the bat­tle for third, Stephane Sar­razin made it back past the #2 Porsche, now with Neel Jani in con­trol. The Toy­ota helped by being on the slick tyres on the ever dry­er track.

RGR MEXICOLMP2 saw dra­ma before the hour was out as the #36 Alpine scored a dri­ve though penal­ty for a pit stop infringe­ment, which hand­ed sec­ond in class to the home favorite RGR Sport team.

At the same time the #95 Aston Mar­tin remark­ably made it back up to third in GTE-PRO after its crash under an hour ago after get­ting past the #71 AF Corse Fer­rari.

ASTON MEXICO 2With just over an hour to go Lot­ter­er was storm­ing up to the back of Timo Bern­hard when head­ing into the sta­di­um sec­tion the Bel­gian locked up the front wheels and went straight on, glanc­ing the bar­ri­er on dri­vers right in the process, which added 30 sec­onds to the #7 cars gap to the leader. It got worse a lap lat­er when the #7 Audi was forced in due to flat spot­ted tyres.

The dra­mat­ic hour end­ed with the #1 Porsche lead­ing ahead of the #6 Toy­ota. Audi’s #7 was in a frus­trat­ing third after a mis­take from Lot­ter­er lost the car 30 sec­onds, before being forced in to the pit lane.

The #26 G-Dri­ve Ore­ca led the way in the LMP2 class ahead of the RGR Ligi­er. The #36 Alpine dropped to third after it’s dri­ve through penal­ty.

The #51 Fer­rari was the meat in the Aston Mar­tin sand­wich in GTE-PRO. The #97 car con­tin­ued to lead with the #95 Aston recov­ered back up to third. GTE-AM saw a change which favored Fer­rari. The #83 AF Corse entry led the class into the final hour with KCMG’s Porsche in sec­ond ahead of the Abu-Dhabi Pro­ton Com­pe­ti­tion Porsche in third.

Final Hour

It was a tense final hour in the inau­gur­al 6 Hours of Mex­i­co. It was a wait­ing game to see who need­ed a final splash and dash and when they would take it.

But the dra­ma came with 33 min­utes to go. The lead­ing #26 G-Dri­ve car had a front right brake fire which caused a spin for the Ore­ca, and let the home RGR Ligi­er take the lead to the delight of the home fans.

With 15 min­utes remain­ing, the rain returned to the cir­cuit which meant when the #7 of Lot­ter­er pit­ted with 13 min­utes on the clock for his final splash, he also put on a set of inter­me­di­ate tyres which set the race alight in the final stages.

There was a fear of a full course yel­low at the end after the Lar­bre Com­pe­ti­tion Corvette fin­ished the race fif­teen min­utes ear­ly at the sta­di­um sec­tion, and in the wall. Timo Bern­hard almost did the same into the final cor­ner on his slick tyres. The Ger­man how­ev­er man­aged to keep the 919 Hybrid out of the wall, just. This all, as well as the rain just hold­ing off until the slow down lap, meant it was vic­to­ry for Porsche in Mex­i­co.

Full Results

Pos State Cat Team Dri­ver Car T Laps Gap
1 1 Run P1 Porsche Team BERNHARD Timo Porsche 919 Hybrid M 230
2 7 Run P1 Audi Sport Team Joest LOTTERER André Audi R18 M 230 1:01.442
3 6 Run P1 Toy­ota Gazoo Rac­ing SARRAZIN Stéphane Toy­ota TS050 — Hybrid M 230 1:09.709
4 2 Run P1 Porsche Team DUMAS Romain Porsche 919 Hybrid M 230 1:30.004
5 13 Run P1 Rebel­lion Rac­ing KRAIHAMER Dominik Rebel­lion R-One — AER D 218 12 Laps
6 43 Run P2 RGR Sport by Morand ALBUQUERQUE Fil­ipe LIGIER JS P2 — Nis­san D 210 20 Laps
7 36 Run P2 Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine LAPIERRE Nico­las Alpine A460 — Nis­san D 210 1.985
8 31 Run P2 Extreme Speed Motor­sports DERANI Luis Felipe LIGIER JS P2 — Nis­san M 207 23 Laps
9 42 Run P2 Strak­ka Rac­ing KANE Jon­ny Gib­son 015S — Nis­san D 207 46.025
10 41 Run P2 Greaves Motor­sport DIAZ Luis Gib­son 015S — Nis­san D 207 1:18.552
11 35 Run P2 Baxi DC Rac­ing Alpine TUNG Ho-Pin Alpine A460 — Nis­san D 206 24 Laps
12 27 Run P2 SMP Rac­ing MINASSIAN Nico­las BR01 — Nis­san D 206 2.810
13 26 Run P2 G-Dri­ve Rac­ing RAST René Ore­ca 05 — Nis­san D 205 25 Laps
14 30 Run P2 Extreme Speed Motor­sports SHARP Scott LIGIER JS P2 — Nis­san M 204 26 Laps
15 97 Run Pro Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing TURNER Dar­ren Aston Mar­tin Van­tage V8 D 202 28 Laps
16 51 Run Pro AF Corse BRUNI Gian­maria Fer­rari 488 GTE M 202 9.437
17 95 Run Pro Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing THIIM Nic­ki Aston Mar­tin Van­tage V8 D 202 18.242
18 71 Run Pro AF Corse BIRD Sam Fer­rari 488 GTE M 201 29 Laps
19 67 Run Pro Ford Chip Ganas­si Team UK FRANCHITTI Mari­no Ford GT M 201 1:00.782
20 77 Run Pro Dempsey — Pro­ton Rac­ing CHRISTENSEN Michael Porsche 911 RSR (2016) M 201 1:20.838
21 4 Run P1 Bykolles Rac­ing Team WEBB Oliv­er CLM P1/01 — AER D 199 31 Laps
22 88 Run Am Abu Dhabi-Pro­ton Rac­ing LONG Patrick Porsche 911 RSR M 197 33 Laps
23 83 Run Am AF Corse PERRODO François Fer­rari F458 Italia M 196 34 Laps
24 78 Run Am KCMG CAMATHIAS Joël Porsche 911 RSR M 196 17.755
25 86 Run Am Gulf Rac­ing CARROLL Adam Porsche 911 RSR M 196 51.609
26 66 Run Pro Ford Chip Ganas­si Team UK MÜCKE Ste­fan Ford GT M 181 49 Laps
27 8 Run P1 Audi Sport Team Joest JARVIS Oliv­er Audi R18 M 167 63 Laps
28 98 Pit Am Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing DALLA LANA Paul Aston Mar­tin Van­tage V8 M 192 38 Laps
29 50 Run Am Lar­bre Com­pe­ti­tion YAMAGISHI Yuta­ka Chevro­let Corvette C7-Z06 M 184 46 Laps
30 44 Pit P2 Manor BRADLEY Richard Ore­ca 05 — Nis­san D 179 51 Laps
31 5 Pit P1 Toy­ota Gazoo Rac­ing NAKAJIMA Kazu­ki Toy­ota TS050 — Hybrid M 62 168 Laps
32 37 Run P2 SMP Rac­ing SHAITAR Vic­tor BR01 — Nis­san D 29 201 Laps

Images — FIA WEC