Porsche 1-2 at a Drying 6 Hours of Fuji


Porsche Team came back from a below par restart in order to finish 2015 6 Hours of Fuji with yet another 1-2 result, led by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley.

The race started with 40 minutes of running behind the safety car until the wet conditions eased off. At the restart, the Porsches which had locked out the front row instantly dropped down the field, worsened by Mark Webber running off track in his #17 919 Hybrid.

Marcel Fassler took advantage of this to slot into overall lead with his #7 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron Hybrid. It was the Porsches who would prove most successful in the drying conditions, and Romain Dumas inherited the lead from Fassler slightly after the two hour mark.

By the halfway point, the #18 team of Dumas along with co-drivers Neel Jani and Marc Lieb was leading by 52 seconds over Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer in the #7 Audi. Jani held on until the sister car of Bernhard overtook him with five minutes to go, and the gap between the two 919s at the finish line was 14 seconds.

Third and fourth positions were held at the finish line by the Audi cars, the #8 of Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval in front of  the #7, which spun heading into the final half hour as a result of contact with Earl Bamber‘s GTE-Am Porsche.

Toyota Racing weren’t able to have the home race they were hoping for. Their reigning champion #1 team with Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima suffered from penalties for pitlane infractions, whilst the #2 TS040 Hybrid of Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway had suffered cooling damage after contact with a GTE car earlier in the race.

KCMG lose their LMP2 championship lead to G-Drive (Credit: Nick Dungan/AdrenalMedia.com/FIA WEC)
KCMG lose their LMP2 championship lead to G-Drive (Credit: Nick Dungan/AdrenalMedia.com/FIA WEC)

In LMP2, Romain Rusinov, Julien Canal and Sam Bird took the victory in their #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2, with KCMG understandably furious following events in the final hour.

At first, Richard Bradley was battling with Rusinov on the main straight, with the two banging wheels. Later, a short-lived Full Course Yellow came out after a crash between the pair. Within the last ten minutes, KCMG was in fourth position and racing the other #28 G-Drive car of Gustavo Yacaman. The Colombian was arguably taking far too many risks, disgracefully hitting the ORECA and eventually sending Bradley at high speed into the wall.

This meant that the #26 Ligier of Rusinov, Julien Canal and Sam Bird won the race, and take the championship lead over the #47 KCMG ORECA which failed to finish. Second place went to Signatech Alpine whose #36 Alpine A450b was piloted by Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and Vincent Capillaire. Third went to the second G-Drive car.

AF Corse led GTE-Pro with their #51 Ferrari F458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander with a strong lead over Porsche Team Manthey drivers Frederic Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet.

Dempsey-Proton Racing secured the GTE-Am victory with stellar drives from Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long and Marco Seefried in the #77 Porsche 911 RSR. Second position went to Aston Martin Racing‘s #98 car of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy.