Porsche take commanding victory in Mexico

posted in: Debrief, Homepage, LMGTE-Am, LMGTE-Pro, LMP1, LMP2, Race, WEC | 0

The #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Bren­don Hart­ley, Earl Bam­ber and Timo Bern­hard record­ed a com­fort­able vic­to­ry, its third of the sea­son, to extend Porsche’s lead at the head of the man­u­fac­tur­ers’ cham­pi­onship.

Porsche held a sig­nif­i­cant advan­tage over the pair of Toy­ota TS050s through­out the week­end, with the pair of 919 Hybrids evi­dent­ly more com­fort­able at alti­tude. “This was an awe­some race week­end by our Porsche team,” Bren­don Hart­ley said after the race. “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.”

The race looked to have been wrapped up, but gath­er­ing storm clouds in the final hour threat­ened to mix every­thing up. How­ev­er, the weath­er held out and Porsche ulti­mate­ly scored a com­mand­ing one-two win, with the #1 car of André Lot­ter­er, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani fin­ish­ing sec­ond and around a lap ahead of the pair of Toy­otas in third and fourth.

In GTE Pro, the #71 AF Corse Fer­rari 488 and the #95 Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing cars were locked in a race-long bat­tle for class suprema­cy, with rarely more than 10 sec­onds sep­a­rat­ing the two GT cars over the course of the six-hour race. The fight closed up once again in the final half-hour, with Aston Martin’s Dan­ish dri­ver Nic­ki Thi­im hunt­ing Davide Rigon in the red Fer­rari.

The #71 retained its advan­tage through­out the clos­ing stages of the race and looked to have the edge as the six-hour bat­tle reached a con­clu­sion. How­ev­er, a late 10-sec­ond penal­ty was hand­ed to the #71 car for speed­ing dur­ing a full-course yel­low peri­od and, with Thi­im in the #95 car just two sec­onds behind the Fer­rari at the fin­ish, the Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing team inher­it­ed the vic­to­ry once the post-race penal­ty was applied.

Else­where, con­tact between the #66 Ford GT dri­ven by Oliv­er Pla and James Cal­a­do in the #51 AF Corse Fer­rari – deemed to be the French driver’s fault by the stew­ards – put paid to those teams’ chances for class vic­to­ry. Third posi­tion in class went to the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, which fin­ished over a minute down on the lead­ing cars.

LMP2 once again pro­vid­ed some of the clos­est rac­ing on track, with the #31 Vail­lante Rebel­lion, #36 Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine and #22 CEFC Manor TRS Rac­ing all in the mix­er for the win in class. Bruno Sen­na, Nico­las Prost and Julien Canal led a sig­nif­i­cant amount of the race, with Sen­na bring­ing the car home first in class after a tense bat­tle with a hard-charg­ing Ben Han­ley in the CEFC Manor TRS Rac­ing car.

A strong stint by Jean-Eric Vergne put the #22 car in con­tention, with Han­ley exit­ing his final pit stop with a 15-sec­ond gap to make up on the lead­ing Vail­lante Rebel­lion. How­ev­er, a spin by the British dri­ver with just min­utes of the race remain­ing decid­ed the race in favour of the #31 car, and also saw the Manor slip back behind Nico­las Lapierre in the #36 Sig­nat­e­ch Alpine.

Vic­to­ry in GTE Am went to the Dempsey-Pro­ton Rac­ing Porsche 911 RSR of Mat­teo Car­i­o­lo, Mar­vin Dienst and Chris­t­ian Ried – their sec­ond on the bounce. Sec­ond was he #98 Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing car of Paul Dal­la Lana, Pedro Lamy and Math­ias Lau­da, while, in third, Mike Wain­wright, Ben Bark­er and Nick Fos­ter secured their first podi­um of the sea­son after an impres­sive dri­ve.

Bilder: WEC-Mag­a­zin