Porsche's Webber/Hartley/Bernhard beat faster Audi in Austin WEC

Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley took a third consecutive World Endurance Championship victory for Porsche at Austin on a day that Audi had the faster car

Porsche's Webber/Hartley/Bernhard beat faster Audi in Austin WEC

Audi dominated the early stages of the day-night race in the high temperatures that suited its R18 e-tron quattro, but a series of problems for both its cars ultimately handed victory to its German rival.

The winning Porsche 919 Hybrid crossed the line 23 seconds ahead of the #8 Audi shared by Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis, who were hit by a series of delays.

Duval lost the lead and approximately 40s when the car suffered a temporary electrical shutdown just after the halfway mark of the six-hour race.

The Audi lost more time when it pitted under green flag conditions and the winning Porsche was able to make its pitstop during a full-course yellow virtual safety car.

Di Grassi would still have been favourite to overhaul the Porsche but for an extra stop after taking over the car with 90 minutes to go when he had to come back in to have a loose door closed.

The #7 Audi of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer lost the lead to the Porsche on the four-hour mark when it also pitted under green flag running.

Treluyer was inching back towards race leader Bernhard when he was tagged as he went around the outside of Olivier Pla's Ganassi Ford GT in the downhill Turn 18 right-hander.

The Audi hit the barriers and, after repairs in the garage, finished eight laps down in sixth.

Bernhard said: "This is mega - it was a hard-earned victory.

"The Audis were a little bit quicker, but we kept going and came back after getting a bit lucky with the full-course yellow."

Toyota drivers Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway took third position, just two seconds behind the Audi.

The Toyota TS050 HYRBID was competitive with the Porsche, if not the Audi, and two double stints on the tyres put Sarrazin in with an outside chance of victory in the final hour.

Championship leaders Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas didn't have the speed of their team-mates in the sister car and ended up fourth.

The second Toyota took fifth position after hitting problems with a turbo wastegate early in the race, which left Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima two laps down in fifth.

LMP2 points leaders Nicolas Lapierre, Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes dominated their class with the Signatech Alpine squad.

Their ORECA-Nissan 05 finished a lap up on its nearest rival in class courtesy after gaining time during the full-course yellows.

The RGR Sport Ligier-Nissan JSP2 took the runner-up spot with Bruno Senna, Filipe Albuquerque and Ricardo Gonzalez by 14s from the G-Drive ORECA of Rene Rast, Alex Brundle and Romain Rusinov, which was the big loser under the yellows.

Aston Martin Racing took a second consecutive GTE Pro victory, this time with Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim.

The Danish duo dominated the class aboard the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE on the way to an 11s victory over the best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado.

GTE Am honours went to the Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana.

The Aston trio finished just over a minute ahead of the Proton-run KCMG Porsche of Wolf Henzler, Joel Camathias and Christian Ried despite a poor start by Lamy and a spin from Dalla Lana with just over an hour to go.

RESULTS - 186 LAPS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 6h01m30.181s
2 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 23.641s
3 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 26.096s
4 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 1 Lap
5 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 2 Laps
6 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 6 Laps
7 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 12 Laps
8 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 14 Laps
9 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Senna, F.Albuquerque RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 15 Laps
10 LMP2 R.Rusinov, R.Rast, A.Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 15 Laps
11 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 16 Laps
12 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 18 Laps
13 LMP2 R.Dalziel, P.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 18 Laps
14 LMP2 V.Petrov, V.Shaytar, K.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 19 Laps
15 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 20 Laps
16 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 23 Laps
17 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 23 Laps
18 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 24 Laps
19 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 24 Laps
20 GTE Pro D.Turner, F.Rees Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 24 Laps
21 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 25 Laps
22 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 28 Laps
23 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 28 Laps
24 GTE Am L.Viljoen, P.Ragues, R.Taylor Larbre Competition Chevrolet 29 Laps
25 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 33 Laps
26 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 33 Laps
27 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.H.Hansson, K.Estre Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 33 Laps
28 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 39 Laps
29 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 42 Laps
- LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, R.Merhi Manor ORECA/Nissan Retirement
- LMP2 N.Leventis, L.Williamson, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan Retirement

LEADING CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS:

Pos Driver Points
1 Romain Dumas 130
1 Neel Jani 130
1 Marc Lieb 130
2 Lucas di Grassi 92.5
2 Loic Duval 92.5
2 Oliver Jarvis 92.5
3 Mike Conway 92
3 Stephane Sarrazin 92
3 Kamui Kobayashi 92
4 Mark Webber 78.5
4 Timo Bernhard 78.5
4 Brendon Hartley 78.5
5 Marcel Fassler 78
5 Andre Lotterer 78
6 Dominik Kraihamer 52
6 Matheo Tuscher 52
6 Alexandre Imperatori 52
7 Benoit Treluyer 44
8 Gustavo Menezes 44
8 Stephane Richelmi 44
8 Nicolas Lapierre 44
9 Nicolas Prost 25.5
9 Nick Heidfeld 25.5
10 Nelson Piquet Jr. 25
11 Filipe Albuquerque 24
11 Bruno Senna 24
11 Ricardo Gonzalez 24
12 Rene Rast 24
12 Roman Rusinov 24
13 Sebastien Buemi 21
13 Anthony Davidson 21
13 Kazuki Nakajima 21

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Audi fills front row for Austin World Endurance Championship round

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