The #7 Audi wins for the second time this season, this time at Spa-Francorchamps, in another classic battle with the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid. With the race going all the way down to the final pit stops, Treluyer had to pass Jani’s Porsche on track to sucure victory. The early leader, the #17 Porsche thought back to third position with the #9 Audi in 4th. #2 Toyota in 5th and the #19 Porsche in 6th. The reigning world champions could only manage eighth place in their #1 Toyota.
The LMP2 class saw a guest car win. Last year’s Le Mans class winners, Jota Sport, once again won their class in a world championship race, despite an early setback after being penalised for jumping the start. G-Drive’s #28 Ligier JS P2 was second across the line in LMP2, meaning they claim race winning points as the Jota is not eligible to score WEC points. The SARD-Morand team scored third position in their first race of the season.
The #99 Aston Martin took the spoils of victory in the GTE Pro class, claiming Aston Martin’s first win of the WEC season in the process. The #92 Porsche crossed the line second in class with Richard Lietz behind the wheel followed by the sister car of Sven Muller and Kevin Estre, despite their early clash and penalty. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari came home 4th after a late penalty saw them drop out of the podium positions in class. Behind them, the #97 and #95 V8 Vantages, and the #71 Ferrari 458 Italia
GTE-AM was also victory for Aston Martin. Dalla Lana, Lamy and Lauda took the #98 car to victory in class ahead of the #83 AF Corse Ferrari and the #72 SMP Racing Ferrari in third place in class. Abu Dhabi beat Dempsey in the battle of the Proton ran teams to 4th and 5th respectively. The troubled #96 Ferrari made the finish in 6th place in class, although 10 laps of the class winning pace.
After the exciting race start in the first three hours, the racing lost none of it’s flair as the race entered it’s final stages. Right at the start of the fourth hour, Mark Webber managed to get past both Toyotas for position within the space of a lap, in his recovering #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
With only 2 and a half hours remaining the Strakka LMP2 car had a spin on the final corner due to break issues. The British team was not the only team in strife however as at the same time the ByKolles team officially withdrew their car from the race. After a long trip to the pits for repairs on the #1 Toyota, the TS040 finally made it back out on track just before the end of the fourth hour. In the meantime, the #91 Porsche and #96 Aston Martin gained drive through penalties for disregarding blue flags.
In the fifth hour of the race, two old friends from Silverstone met once again. Lieb, Dumas and Jani’s #18 Porsche was once again battling on track with Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer’s #7 Audi in LMP1. After Audi changed their pit stop strategy, the Porsche took the lead. Although the race was entering it’s final stages the drama kept on coming. The GTE-PRO lead battle fell the way of the #99 Aston Martin after their close battle with the #51 Ferrari was ended when the Itallian team were handed a 1 minute stop go penalty for a pit stop infringement. The penalty dropped what could have been a win for the AF Corse team down to a disappointing 4th in class.
In LMP2 a strong run from Bird, Canal and Rusinov was over when their #26 G-Drive car went up in smoke, handing victory to Jota. It was not all doom and gloom for the Russian team however as the #28 sister car took it’s second consecutive second place finish of 2015, and the World Championship points for a race win. In the end it was to be Audi’s pit strategy which made all the difference and saw the #7 Audi win ahead of the #18 Porsche for the second time in succession.
Images © WEC-Magazin / Walter Schruff