Mexico WEC: Porsche wins as all the top LMP1 cars strike trouble

Porsche drivers Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley made it two World Endurance Championship wins in two starts in Mexico City

Mexico WEC: Porsche wins as all the top LMP1 cars strike trouble

The reigning world champions followed up on their Nurburgring victory in July in a rain-interrupted race in which all six factory LMP1 cars suffered delays.

The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid took the lead early in the second hour and remained ahead until early in the fourth hour when the car was given a drive-through penalty for crossing the pit entry line after aborting a pitstop.

That handed the advantage back to the pole-winning #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis that had led much of the opening hour.

The Audi was in the lead when the rain arrived, but Jarvis went off almost immediately after taking over the car when the front left wheel-bearing failed.

Bernhard survived a late scare when he nudged the wall in the stadium section when the rain returned in the closing stages, but the German hung on to take the flag with just over a minute in hand over the Audi of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler.

Hartley said: "I always said that it would be tight and whoever executed the race best would be on the top step - and that's what happened."

Lotterer led early on before falling behind team-mate di Grassi and then making an early first pitstop when he lost grip.

The #7 Audi then came back into contention when the rain arrived and Lotterer was given Michelin's ungrooved intermediate tyres while the Porsches went onto full wets.

Lotterer was closing on the leading Porsche when a brake problem caused him to lock up and tag the wall late in the penultimate hour, the resulting pitstop for new tyres restricting Audi to second place.

Toyota claimed third with the TS050 HYBRID shared by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin despite a drive-through for avoidable contact.

Championship leaders Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas finsihed fourth in the second Porsche on a day when they were rarely a match for their team-mates in the winning car.

The #5 Toyota driven by Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima went out in the second hour with a hybrid problem.

LMP2

The G-Drive Racing squad looked on course for its first LMP2 victory of the season until misfortune struck again in the closing stages.

Rene Rast, who shared the team's ORECA-Nissan 05 car with Alex Brundle and Roman Rusinov, had a lead of just over 40s with 35 minutes of the race to go when front-right brake failure sent him off the track and then straight into the pits.

Eight minutes were lost to repairs, which dropped the Jota-run car to eighth in class at the chequered flag.

G-Drive's problems turned the race into a straight fight between the RGR Sport Ligier-Nissan JSP2 and the championship-leading Signatech Alpine ORECA.

The Signatech car with Nicolas Lapierre at the wheel dropped behind Filipe Albuquerque in the RGR Ligier in the final hour, but a quick turnaround for the ORECA at the final pitstops halved a deficit of a dozen seconds.

Albuquerque was able hang on to claim a first victory together with Bruno Senna and Ricardo Gonzalez since the season opener at Silverstone in April.

GTE

Aston Martin Racing claimed victory in GTE Pro with with Richie Stanaway and Darren Turner.

The pair of Aston Vantage GTEs that had qualified one-two dominated until the rain came and then Turner was able to complete a nine-second victory in front of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado.

Patrick Long, Khaled Al Qubaisi and David Heinemeier Hansson claimed victory in GTE Am for the Proton Porsche team.

RESULTS - 230 LAPS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 6h00m43.702s
2 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m01.442s
3 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m09.709s
4 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 1m30.004s
5 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 12 Laps
6 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Senna, F.Albuquerque RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 20 Laps
7 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 20 Laps
8 LMP2 R.Dalziel, P.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 23 Laps
9 LMP2 N.Leventis, L.Williamson, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan 23 Laps
10 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Junqueira, L.Diaz Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 23 Laps
11 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 24 Laps
12 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 24 Laps
13 LMP2 R.Rusinov, R.Rast, A.Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 25 Laps
14 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 26 Laps
15 GTE Pro R.Stanaway, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 28 Laps
16 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 28 Laps
17 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 28 Laps
18 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 29 Laps
19 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 29 Laps
20 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 29 Laps
21 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb, P.Kaffer ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 31 Laps
22 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.H.Hansson, P.Long Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 33 Laps
23 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 34 Laps
24 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 34 Laps
25 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 34 Laps
26 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 49 Laps
27 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 63 Laps
- GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Retirement
- GTE Am Y.Yamagishi, P.Ragues, R.Taylor Larbre Competition Chevrolet Retirement
- LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, P.Toledano Manor ORECA/Nissan Retirement
- LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota Retirement
- LMP2 V.Petrov, V.Shaytar, K.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan Retirement

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Mexico WEC: Audi's di Grassi and Duval pip Porsche to pole

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Author Gary Watkins
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