Toyota win again while the #8 drivers have 1 hand each on the drivers championship. Thanks to their 4th win of the season in China today, it means that Audi’s #2 car is the only car that can stop Buemi and Davidson from becoming World Champions. The Audi trio would have to win in both Brazil and Bahrain with the #8 Toyota not scoring in order to re-claim the title.The final 3 hours of the 6 Hours of Shanghai started quietly as the race set into its rythem. Porsche held a steady pace as the #1 Audi slowly closed in on third place and the #8 Toyota TS040 continued its charge into the distance.
Tom Kristensen tried to close down Marc Lieb for third position in LMP1 in his Audi R18 E-tron Quattro but had the cards stacked against him. Audi, using less electrical needed to pit more frequently for fuel which allowed Porsche to stop one less time and hold on to third position. A late surge in pace from Neel Jani also helped the Porsche 919 Hybrid stay ahead of the #1 car on the road and to finish third. However a clever strategy call from the #2 Audi crew meant that they jumped the #1 sister car at the final splash and dash.
The race had a burst of excitement when with 90 minutes to go the 97 Aston Martin, leading the GTE-PRO class, saw its lead go up in smoke. A tough season for Stefan Mucke and Darren Turner continued. Their solid lead evaporated on their 124th lap on the exit of turn six. Smoke came out of the exhaust pipe and then got stronger and stronger, forcing a despondent Darren Turner to abandon his V8 Vantage and class lead. Toyota continued to state their claim to the race by lapping every car up to third place. With 1 hour and 15 minutes to go the #8 Toyota lapped the third place #14 Porsche. This meant that only Toyota’s were on the lead lap.
Olivier Pla had the pleasure of driving the G-Drive Racing for the final stint and to take the checkered flag, along with a commanding win in the LMP2 class. A faultless race from Pla, Rusinov and Canal meant that they won their class by a remarkable 2 laps from the second place Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD Honda. A fantastic result for them. It was their ESM’s second race in the WEC this year. The squad from Tudor United Sportscars has shown its class on the world stage this weekend. SMP racing held onto one of their podium spots from earlier in the race to finish third with the #27 Oreca Nissan.
After Aston Martins late exit from the lead the win in GTE-PRO fell to the #92 Porsche 911 in a 1-2 finish for Porsche with the #91 car taking second in class. The exit of the #97 car promoted the #71 AF Corse Ferrari up to third place in class.
GTE-AM glory went to Aston Martin #98 with the same top 3 in the same order as in the first half of the race. The #95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage was second across the line and the 8 Star Motorsport Ferrari came across the line third in class.