Monday, 18 April 2016

Porsche inherit win in thrilling WEC curtain-raiser

Porsche were victorious in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone last weekend, inheriting the win from the Audi trio of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler, denying their rivals their first win in almost a year.

The pair were close for much of the second half of the race, only for a puncture on the number 2 Porsche of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb denying what could have been a dramatic end of the race.

Porsche's other entry of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, and Brendon Hartley led the race early on, with Mark Webber building up a sizeable gap. However, their race came to an early end after Hartley was involved in a frightening incident in the third hour of the race.

The Kiwi was attempting to overtake the Gulf Porsche of Michael Wainwright when he hit the GT car, launching him into the air.

Audi's other car retired in the same hour with a 'hybrid malfunction'

With the exclusion of the winning Audi, the Toyota of Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, and Kamui Kobayashi inherited second place while the privateer Rebellion Racing R-One of Dominik Kraihamer, Alexandre Imperatori, and Matheo Tuscher scooped an overall podium as well as privateer class honours.

RGR Sport by Morand's Ricardo Gonzalez, Felipe Albuquerque, and Bruno Senna won the highly competitive LMP2 class with the Tequila Patron-backed Extreme Speed Motorsports entry of Ryan Dalziel, Pipo Derani, and Chris Cumming taking second. G-Drive's Roman Rusinov, Nathanael Berthon, and Rene Rast rounded out the LMP2 podium.

In LMGTE Pro, Ferrari took a convincing one-two finish with polesitters Davide Rigon and Sam Bird leading from lights to flag with Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado fighting from the back of the grid to take second. Aston Martin's Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen, and Darren Turner took third.

LMGTE Am honours also went to an AF Corse Ferrari entry with the only 458 in the field of Fran├žois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, and Rui Aguas ahead of the Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, and Mathias Lauda and the privateer Chevrolet Corvette of YutakaYamagishi, Pierre Ragues, and Paolo Ruberti.

Audi's exclusion from the overall victory came after the front skid block had worn more than what the regulations permitted. Audi plan to appeal the decision.

All images: Dominik Wilde

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