Team orders not on Porsche's radar in WEC LMP1 drivers' title fight

Porsche has vowed not to invoke team orders between its two LMP1 crews until absolutely necessary in its bid for the World Endurance Championship drivers' title

Team orders not on Porsche's radar in WEC LMP1 drivers' title fight

The German marque has stressed that the manufacturers' championship remains its priority and declared its intent to let its pair of Porsche 919 Hybrids, which have enjoyed a clear performance advantage for the past two races, battle for victories until later in the season.

That is despite Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas falling 35.5 points off the championship lead held by Audi trio Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler after finishing only 12th last weekend in Austin following technical issues.

The Austin result means they are now 25.5 points behind Porsche team-mates Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley.

Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger told AUTOSPORT: "For us it is important that we seal the manufacturers' championship [which Porsche lead by 36 points], and that's we are telling the drivers.

"We want to let our drivers fight for the moment: we will see what happens in Fuji [the next round of the WEC in October] and then maybe we will think about it [team orders]."

Andreas Seidl, Porsche's team principal, explained that there was a desire to maintain "team spirit" within the squad by letting the drivers of its pair of 919 Hybrids compete.

"That fits the philosophy we had with the third car at the Le Mans 24 Hours: we wanted to give each of our crews the same chance," he said.

"We want to keep it open for as long as possible."

Jani, Lieb and Dumas cannot win the title by taking the point for pole position and winning all of the three remaining races should Webber, Bernhard and Hartley finish second each time.

That would leave them with a tally of 155.5 points to the 157 of the drivers in the sister car.

But that would allow the way clear for Lotterer, Treluyer and Fassler to take the title by one point should the Audi drivers finish third each time.

Audi invoked team orders at the Nurburgring, which allowed Lotterer to move past the sister R18 e-tron quattro of Lucas di Grassi in the final laps to claim third position.

Toyota looks unlikely to play a role in the outcome of the championship because its TS040 HYBRID hasn't had the speed to get among the Porsches and Audis unless they have problems.

WEC POINTS AS IT STANDS

Pos Drivers Team Points
1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi 113
2 Webber/Bernhard/Hartley Porsche 103
3 Jani/Lieb/Dumas Porsche 77.5
4 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis Audi 67
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