The #1 Rebellion Racing R13 – Gibson of Bruno Senna, Norman Nato and took victory at a breathless 4 Hours of Shanghai. The Swiss squad recorded the first non-hybrid victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship since 2012. The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid was second with the #7 Toyota rounding out the podium.
Thanks to the WEC’s new success ballast system, the R13 – Gibson was comfortably quicker than the works cars down the straights. However, the Toyota’s hybrid system gave it the advantage under acceleration. This made for a topsy-turvy battle at the head of the field, with Rebellion ultimately prevailing.
The race began with controversy as pole-sitting Nato in the #1 Rebellion struggled to get going. As the lights turned green, the #5 and #6 Ginettas and the #7 Toyotas took advantage to enter the first turn in that order. However, the Race Director deemed that the leading trio had passed the slow-starting Rebellion before the start/finish line. This saw drive-through penalties handed to each of the three, putting them on the back foot.
The start will have been all the more frustrating for the Team LNT and their pair of Ginettas. The British team showed some great pace throughout the race and posted the fastest lap of the race – a 1:48.428 for Charlie Robertson. Some technical gremlins did affect the Ginetta’s performance as the race progressed, but things certainly look promising for the Leeds-based squad.
Ferrari benefit from Aston Martin misfortune
The #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi secured victory in GTE Pro, but it was a fortunate win for the Italian team.
The #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR of Nicky Thiim and Marco Soerensen had led much of the race after qualifying on the front row. However, a puncture in the third hour of the race forced Thiim into the pits and relegated the Vantage to fifth on the road.
The final two steps on the podium went to the pair of Porsche 911 RSR-19s, with pole-sitters Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre finishing second in the #92 and Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz in the #91.
Maiden win for Jota and Goodyear in LMP2
Jota claimed their first win of the 2019/2020 WEC season after a confident performance in China. The #38 machine driven by Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix da Costa and Anthony Davidson led for most of the race and crossed the finish line with a 21-second advantage.
Tyre wear played a key role at the Shanghai International Circuit, with marbles and pick-up punishing any cars veering from the racing line. The Goodyear rubber appeared to deal with the conditions much better than the Michelin tyres, with second place also going to a Goodyear runner: #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing crew.
Danish team High Class Racing, competing in their debut WEC season, took their first ever class podium in third.
Two wins on the bounce for TF Sport
The #90 TF Sport Aston Martin secured its second victory in succession in the FIA WEC. Just 16 seconds behind was the #57 Team Project 1 Porsche of Ben Keating, Jeroen Bleekemolen and WEC debutant Larry ten Voorde. The #98 Aston Martin Racing crew rounded out the top three with their second podium this season.
Full race classification from the 2019 4 Hours of Shanghai is available here.
Images © FIA WEC Press Material – 2019 Joao Filipe / Marius Hecker / AdrenalMedia.com