Silverstone WEC: Toyota beats Porsche to win hectic opener

Toyota took victory in the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, as Kazuki Nakajima, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi overcame a stiff challenge from Porsche to win.

Silverstone WEC: Toyota beats Porsche to win hectic opener
Podium: Race winners #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
Sébastien Buemi, Toyota Gazoo Racing in parc ferme
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy
Podium LMP2: Race winners #38 DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent, second place #31 Vaillante Rebellion Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: Julien Canal, Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost, third place #28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson: François Perrodo, Matthieu Vaxivière, Emmanuel Collard
Podium GTE-Pro: Race winner #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, Pipo Derani
The start of the race
#67 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT: Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell, Pipo Derani

Having dominated qualifying, the high-downforce Toyotas retained a clear edge in pace over the Le Mans-spec Porsches in full dry conditions, but rain showers and two caution periods helped keep the German manufacturer in contention until the end.

A safety car caused by a crash at Copse for Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 Toyota allowed the #2 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard to stay close enough to the #8 car to attempt a strategic gamble during its final stop.

Hartley's car took fuel only, while Toyota took four new tyres as Nakajima handed over to Buemi for the last stint, giving the Kiwi driver an eight-second advantage with 31 minutes remaining.

But Buemi was able to carve into the Porsche's cushion at a rate of over a second a lap, before making the inevitable pass for the lead at The Loop with 12 minutes left.

Buemi went on to seal the win - his and Davidson's first in the WEC since Shanghai 2014, and the #8 crew's first as a trio - by 6.173s.

Behind the lead pair, the #1 Porsche of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy finished third a further 40 seconds back, losing time with a pair of additional pitstops to switch first to intermediates during a shower in the third hour and then back to slicks when the rain abated.

Prior to Lopez's crash, which resulted in the Argentinian being taken to hospital for precautionary checks, the #7 Toyota was already well out of contention.

Polesitter Mike Conway traded the lead with Buemi's #8 car in the early stages, before dropping off the pace after the first round of pitstops with a rear anti-roll bar problem.

A change of rear bodywork was followed by a trip to the gravel at Vale for Kobayashi in the third hour, prior to the Lopez accident that consigned the #7 car into the garage for lengthy repairs.

Conway eventually took the finish some 38 laps down.

The ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01, which spent time in the garage early on with a brake issue, failed to make the finish after making contact with the #97 Aston Martin Vantage on the pitlane entry.

In LMP2, it was the JOTA Sport-run #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung that took a comfortable win.

The defending champion Signatech Alpine team controlled the class battle for the first two-thirds of the race, before two late Full Course Yellows shook up the order.

Matthieu Vaxiviere briefly led for the TDS Racing squad when racing resumed at the start of the fifth hour, but Jarvis was able to make a decisive pass on the #28 Oreca when it was in Emmanuel Collard's hands in the final hour.

After a final stop with 20 minutes left, Jarvis went on to win by 19.376s over the best of the Rebellions, the #13 Oreca of Nicolas Prost, Bruno Senna and Julien Canal.

TDS fell just 1.8s second short of the runner-up spot, with Vaxiviere making a late charge after taking over again for the finish, with the Signatech car of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao ending up a lapped fourth.

Ford beats Ferrari in GTE Pro

Ford survived a late scare with an opening door to take victory in GTE Pro, as Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx took a home win in the #67 Ganassi-run GT along with Pipo Derani.

The trio had led early on but fell out of sequence after having to make an early first stop to address the door problem, which recurred in the last half-hour.

But the two Full Course Yellows gave the #67 trio a free stop, putting them back in line with their rivals, with Tincknell bringing the car home with a 15s advantage over the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

Third in class went to the sole surviving Porsche, the #91 of Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, a further 10 seconds back, narrowly ahead of the second of the Fords, the #66 of Oliver Pla, Stefan Mucke and Billy Johnson – which didn’t stop during the FCY periods.

The other mid-engined 911 RSR of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre caused the first caution period when the car came to a halt and set on fire in the fourth hour.

In GTE Am, Matt Griffin scored a famous victory for the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari squad along with teammates Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun.

Griffin took advantage of a last-lap clash between Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin, which had led the class for almost the entire race, and Miguel Molina in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari at Stowe.

Lamy recovered from the incident to finish second, 1.7s behind Griffin, while Molina was unable to continue, handing the final class podium place to the #77 Proton Competition Porsche.

Race results:

Pos.#DriversCarClassLapsTime
1 8 united_kingdom Anthony Davidson 
japan Kazuki Nakajima 
switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 197  
2 2 germany Timo Bernhard 
new_zealand Brendon Hartley 
new_zealand Earl Bamber 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 197 6.173
3 1 germany Andre Lotterer 
switzerland Neel Jani 
united_kingdom Nick Tandy 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 197 46.956
4 38 united_kingdom Oliver Jarvis 
china Ho-Pin Tung 
france Thomas Laurent 
Oreca 07 LMP2 184 13 laps
5 31 brazil Bruno Senna 
france Julien Canal 
france Nicolas Prost 
Oreca 07 LMP2 184 19.376
6 28 france François Perrodo 
france Emmanuel Collard 
france Matthieu Vaxivière 
Oreca 07 LMP2 184 21.268
7 36 france Nicolas Lapierre 
united_states Gustavo Menezes 
united_kingdom Matt Rao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 183 14 laps
8 26 russia Roman Rusinov 
france Pierre Thiriet 
united_kingdom Alex Lynn 
Oreca 07 LMP2 183 32.247
9 24 france Jean-Eric Vergne 
switzerland Jonathan Hirschi 
thailand Tor Graves 
Oreca 07 LMP2 183 1'08.075
10 25 russia Vitaly Petrov 
switzerland Simon Trummer 
mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 182 15 laps
11 37 china David Cheng 
france Tristan Gommendy 
united_kingdom Alex Brundle 
Oreca 07 LMP2 182 11.790
12 13 brazil Nelson Piquet Jr. 
denmark David Heinemeier Hansson 
switzerland Mathias Beche 
Oreca 07 LMP2 172 25 laps
13 67 brazil Pipo Derani 
united_kingdom Harry Tincknell 
guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 171 26 laps
14 51 united_kingdom James Calado 
italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 171 15.604
15 91 austria Richard Lietz 
france Frédéric Makowiecki 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 171 26.585
16 66 germany Stefan Mücke 
france Olivier Pla 
united_states Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 171 27.491
17 71 united_kingdom Sam Bird 
italy Davide Rigon 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 170 27 laps
18 95 denmark Marco Sorensen 
denmark Nicki Thiim 
new_zealand Richie Stanaway 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 170 43.753
19 97 united_kingdom Darren Turner 
united_kingdom Jonathan Adam 
brazil Daniel Serra 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 168 29 laps
20 61 ireland Matt Griffin 
singapore Mok Weng Sun 
japan Keita Sawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 166 31 laps
21 98 portugal Pedro Lamy 
canada Paul Dalla Lana 
austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE AM 166 1.768
22 77 germany Christian Ried 
italy Matteo Cairoli 
germany Marvin Dienst 
Porsche 911 RSR (991) LMGTE AM 166 25.315
23 7 japan Kamui Kobayashi 
united_kingdom Mike Conway 
argentina Jose Maria Lopez 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 159 38 laps
24 86 united_kingdom Michael Wainwright 
united_kingdom Ben Barker 
united_kingdom Nick Foster 
Porsche 911 RSR (991) LMGTE AM 143 54 laps
25 54 italy Francesco Castellacci 
spain Miguel Molina 
switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 165 32 laps
26 4 united_kingdom Oliver Webb 
austria Dominik Kraihamer 
united_kingdom James Rossiter 
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 155 42 laps
27 92 denmark Michael Christensen 
france Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 95 102 laps
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