Austin WEC: Porsche scoops victory from Audi at COTA

The Porsche 919 of reigning champions Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard scored its third FIA World Endurance Championship victory on the trot in the 6 Hours of COTA – a race Audi will feel it should have won.

Austin WEC: Porsche scoops victory from Audi at COTA
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#6 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, #2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#5 Toyota Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson, #2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE: Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#36 Signatech Alpine A460: Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi
#36 Signatech Alpine A460: Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre, Stéphane Richelmi

Audi dominated the opening stages, although Webber (who started on used tyres) briefly split them on the first lap. It converted a 1-2 front row lock out to a convincing race performance in the daylight hours, but Audi’s chances completely unravelled after sunset.

The duel between Audi and Porsche turned on its head with two hours remaining, as a collision between the #44 Manor Oreca LMP2 and #66 Ford GT in the Esses produced a perfectly-timed full-course yellow for the #1 Porsche.

The #7 Audi of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer – which had previously held a lead of almost a minute – had already made its pitstop before the yellow. The #1 Porsche thus gained a ‘free’ stop under the caution, and leapfrogged into an unlikely lead of 18s.

As the #7 attempted to fight back, Treluyer clipped the #66 Ford GT of Olivier Pla in the fast right-hander at Turn 18 – the very same car that had cost him the lead in the first place.

“The Ford pushed me out, I’m stuck in the gravel,” Treluyer complained. Pla argued: “There was nothing I could do to avoid that.”

The #8 sister Audi had earlier been leading convincingly, but an electrical failure exiting Turn 1 stranded Loic Duval for about 50s while he recycled the system.

The car fell back behind the strongest Toyota – the #6 of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin – and the #8 required two pitstops under full-course yellow when the driver’s door wouldn’t close properly.

A charging penultimate stint from Lucas di Grassi put the #8 Audi back in contention for second, and took the place from the Toyota in the final pitstops. But he was 20s behind the #1 Porsche, which stroked home in Bernhard’s hands to a third successive win.

The points-leading #2 Porsche finished a lacklustre fourth, by its lofty standards, delayed when Neel Jani suffered a puncture and also suffered aerodynamic issues.

The #5 Toyota was a distant fifth, Sebastian Buemi suffering a left-rear puncture plus a wastegate issue that hampered its power output. It was also given a 5s pitstop penalty for overtaking using track limits.

The #7 Audi trailed home sixth after a long delay for repairs following Treluyer’s shunt.

Rebellion won the non-hybrid LMP1 class, ahead of the ByKolles CLM. 

Class wins for Signatech and Aston Martins

The LMP2 class was the preserve of the points-leading #36 Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre/Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi.

The main battle here was for second between the #43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier and #26 G-Drive Oreca. The latter had to start from the back of the grid, but charging stints by Alex Brundle and Rene Rast took the fight to the Mexico City-winning car but just fell short.

In GTE Pro, the #95 Aston Martin of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim dominated from start to finish, ahead of the AF Corse Ferraris of Gianmaria Bruni/James Calado and Davide Rigon/Sam Bird.

Sorensen revealed he lost radio contact with the pits in the penultimate stint, and only knew when to pit when the fuel alarm went off.

It was a similar story of Aston domination in GTE Am, as although it lost the lead on the opening lap and dropped to fourth, the #98 Vantage V8 of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda would not be denied victory – despite a late spin for Dalla Lana at Turn 8.

“It’s tough out there – you’re tired and it’s dark,” he explained.

Results:

Pos#DriversCarClassLapsTimeGap
1 1 Mark Webber
Timo Bernhard
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 186 -  
2 8 Lucas di Grassi
Loic Duval
Oliver Jarvis
Audi R18 LMP1 186 23.641 23.641
3 6 Stéphane Sarrazin
Kamui Kobayashi
Mike Conway
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 186 26.096 26.096
4 2 Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 185 1 lap 1 lap
5 5 Anthony Davidson
Kazuki Nakajima
Sébastien Buemi
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 184 2 laps 2 laps
6 7 Andre Lotterer
Marcel Fassler
Benoit Tréluyer
Audi R18 LMP1 180 6 laps 6 laps
7 13 Alexandre Imperatori
Dominik Kraihamer
Matheo Tuscher
Rebellion R-One LMP1 174 12 laps 12 laps
8 36 Nicolas Lapierre
Gustavo Menezes
Stéphane Richelmi
Alpine A460 LMP2 172 14 laps 14 laps
9 43 Bruno Senna
Ricardo Gonzalez
Filipe Albuquerque
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 171 15 laps 15 laps
10 26 Roman Rusinov
René Rast
Alex Brundle
Oreca 05 LMP2 171 14.915 15 laps
11 4 Simon Trummer
Oliver Webb
Pierre Kaffer
CLM P1/01 LMP1 170 16 laps 16 laps
12 27 Maurizio Mediani
Nicolas Minassian
BR01 LMP2 168 18 laps 18 laps
13 31 Pipo Derani
Ryan Dalziel
Chris Cumming
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 168 5.773 18 laps
14 37 Vitaly Petrov
Viktor Shaytar
Kirill Ladygin
BR01 LMP2 167 19 laps 19 laps
15 30 Scott Sharp
Ed Brown
Johannes van Overbeek
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 166 20 laps 20 laps
16 95 Marco Sorensen
Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE PRO 163 23 laps 23 laps
17 51 Gianmaria Bruni
James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 163 11.486 23 laps
18 71 Sam Bird
Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 162 24 laps 24 laps
19 67 Harry Tincknell
Andy Priaulx
Marino Franchitti
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 162 13.376 24 laps
20 97 Darren Turner
Fernando Rees
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE PRO 162 18.413 24 laps
21 77 Richard Lietz
Michael Christensen
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE PRO 161 25 laps 25 laps
22 35 Nelson Panciatici
Ho-Pin Tung
David Cheng
Alpine A460 LMP2 160 26 laps 26 laps
23 98 Pedro Lamy
Paul Dalla Lana
Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE AM 158 28 laps 28 laps
24 78 Christian Ried
Wolf Henzler
Joel Camathias
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 158 1'02.838 28 laps
25 50 Pierre Ragues
Ricky Taylor
Lars Viljoen
Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE AM 157 29 laps 29 laps
26 86 Michael Wainwright
Adam Carroll
Ben Barker
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 153 33 laps 33 laps
27 88 David Heinemeier Hansson
Khaled Al Qubaisi
Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 153 1'17.197 33 laps
28 83 François Perrodo
Emmanuel Collard
Rui Aguas
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 147 39 laps 39 laps
29 66 Stefan Mücke
Olivier Pla
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 144 42 laps 42 laps
30 44 Roberto Merhi
Richard Bradley
Matthew Rao
Oreca 05 LMP2 157 29 laps 29 laps
31 42 Nick Leventis
Jonny Kane
Lewis Williamson
Gibson 015S LMP2 58 128 laps 128 laps
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Austin WEC: Audi locks out front row for 6 Hours of COTA

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