Spa WEC: Audi wins race of attrition for LMP1 contenders

Audi drivers Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis took a first World Endurance Championship victory together in a race of attrition at Spa

Spa WEC: Audi wins race of attrition for LMP1 contenders

Jarvis took the flag aboard the #8 Audi R18 e-tron two laps clear of the Porsche shared by Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas, which ran for nearly all the race with reduced hybrid power levels.

The winning Audi moved into the lead halfway through the fourth hour when the #5 Toyota TS050 HYBRID shared by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima suffered major engine failure.

The Toyota was a lap clear of the second-place Audi and looked on course for victory when Nakajima brought the smoking car into the pits.

All six factory LMP1 cars encountered problems over the course of the six-hour race, although a late-change of the rear body section of the winning Audi was precautionary.

"It's clear we didn't have the performance this weekend compared to the Porsche or even the Toyota," said Jarvis.

"But we stayed out of trouble and the car was reliable - that's what endurance racing is about.

"We've had some bad luck [in the past] so we'll take the good luck this weekend."

Those problems allowed P1 privateer Rebellion Racing to reprise the third and fourth-place finishes that it achieved at the Silverstone WEC opener last month.

Alexandre Imperatori, Dominik Kraihamer and Matheo Tuscher took their second podium in a row after having the upper hand over their team-mates, despite a spin from Austrian Kraihamer.

Nick Heidfeld, Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr took fourth in the second Rebellion-AER R-One.

Heidfeld was about to be overhauled by Marcel Fassler in the #7 Audi, which had been delayed by repairs to the underfloor and bodywork, when the Swiss driver tagged an LMP2 car.

The Audi, in which Fassler was joined by Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer, took the flag in fifth position, eight seconds down on the Rebellion.

Buemi had moved into the lead at the first round of pitstops when Toyota was able to double-stint its tyres.

The pole-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid that led the opening stint in the hands of Brendon Hartley was running second on the Toyota's tail when Timo Bernhard sustained a left front puncture in the second hour.

A second puncture on the same corner with Mark Webber drivng precipitated a 10-minute stop for front bodywork repairs, before the front-axle energy-retrieval system was changed with the loss of one hour and four minutes.

The car was able to complete the required 70 per cent of the winners' distance to be classified, ending up in 30th position.

That was one place behind the Buemi Toyota, which returned to the track to complete a final lap on electrical power.

SIGNATECH TAKES LMP2 HONOURS

LMP2 was won by the Signatech Alpine ORECA-Nissan 05 shared by Nicolas Lapierre, Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes.

Menezes moved the car into the lead in the fourth hour and Signatech looked set to take a clear victory until a prolonged safety-car period in the final hour when Stefan Mucke crashed heavily in his GTE Pro Ford at Eau Rouge.

Lapierre was able to extend a narrow lead after the race went green before making a late splash-and-dash for fuel.

The Frenchman then had to overhaul Luis Felipe Derani in the best of the Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-Nissan JSP2s to seal the victory.

Derani was less than five seconds behind at the finish in the car he shared with Ryan Dalziel and Chris Cumming.

The Manor team claimed a first podium with the ORECA coupe driven by Roberto Merhi, Richard Bradley and Matt Rao.

Merhi came back from a late drive-through for a pitstop infringement to overtake Felipe Albuquerque's RGR Morand Ligier on the final lap.

AF CORSE ON TOP IN GTE PRO

The GTE Pro class was dominated by the AF Corse Ferrari team.

Sam Bird and Davide Rigon took their second class victory of the season after team-mates Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado came into the pits with engine problems with nine minutes to go after leading from the start.

Ford took its first WEC podium with the GT shared by Andy Priaulx, Marino Franchitti and Harry Tincknell.

Mucke was unhurt after crashing the Ford in which he was partnered by Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson.

GTE Am honours were taken by the Aston Martin Vantage GTE driven by Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana.

RESULT - 160 LAPS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 6h00m32.112s
2 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 2 Laps
3 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 4 Laps
4 LMP1 N.Prost, N.Piquet Jr., N.Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 5 Laps
5 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 5 Laps
6 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb, J.Rossiter ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 9 Laps
7 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 9 Laps
8 LMP2 R.Dalziel, P.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 9 Laps
9 LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, R.Merhi Manor ORECA/Nissan 9 Laps
10 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, F.Albuquerque, B.Senna RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 9 Laps
11 LMP2 R.Rusinov, N.Berthon, R.Rast G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 10 Laps
12 LMP2 S.Dolan, G.van der Garde, J.Dennis G-Drive Racing Gibson/Nissan 12 Laps
13 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 14 Laps
14 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 15 Laps
15 LMP2 T.Graves, W.Stevens, J.Jakes Manor ORECA/Nissan 16 Laps
16 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 16 Laps
17 GTE Pro R.Stanaway, F.Rees, J.Adam Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 16 Laps
18 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 18 Laps
19 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 20 Laps
20 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 21 Laps
21 GTE Am Y.Yamagishi, P.Ragues, P.Ruberti Larbre Competition Chevrolet 21 Laps
22 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 21 Laps
23 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 22 Laps
24 LMP2 V.Petrov, K.Ladygin, V.Shaytar SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 24 Laps
25 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.H.Hansson, P.Long Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 24 Laps
26 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 48 Laps
27 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 50 Laps
- LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan Retirement
- GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari Retirement
- LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani, D.Markozov SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan Retirement
- GTE Pro B.Johnson, S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford Retirement
- LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota Retirement
- LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan Retirement
- GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Retirement


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