Audi Take Shanghai Spoils After Toyota Problems

Audi's #1 team won the race, the #2 team took the title in third (Credit: Audi Motorsport)

From a Six Hours of Shanghai dominated by the pair of Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrids the Audi team of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler came away with the race win, while their Audi teammates were confirmed as champions in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The 24 Hours of Le Mans winning of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval trio started from fourth on the grid, and were never able to challenge for would have been a fourth race win of the season. Instead they finished a lap down on a battle for the lead decided only in the final half an hour of the race.

The pair of Toyotas led every one of the 143 laps completed in the first four and a half hours, the #8 of Anthony Davidson, Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi leading just over 100 of them before rear suspension failure put them into the pits and put the #1 Audi into the lead for the first time, though only for a lap before Treluyer handed over to Fassler and the lead went to the pole sitting Toyota of Alexander Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre, however, they had already been delayed by an extra pitstop caused by a puncture just three laps into a new set of the tyres.

Despite this they held the lead for much of the remainder of the race before a final pitstop of the race put the leaders less than a second apart with Wurz still holding the lead. However, in their own final stop the #1 Audi crew had been able to Treluyer fresh tyres, which while leading to a longer stop gave him greater speed than Wurz, forced into double stinting his Michelins to the end of the race without the set of fresh tyres used a result of the puncture.

Treluyer took the lead before easing away over the final 30 minutes to a 15 second lead. Behind the Toyota and the championship winning Audi team Rebellion Racing finished fourth overall, five laps down on the leaders.

Despite a long pitstop to address some rear bodywork damage G-Drive Racing’s Mike Conway, John Martin and Roman Rusinov won the LMP2 class duel with the #24 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan of Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson which ended the race 34 seconds in arrears with the #35 OAK entry a similar distance behind them.

The ADRDelta team finished fourth, retaking the position after an engine issue forced Bjorn Wirdheim into an unscheduled pit visit in Greaves Motorsport’s Zytek-Nissan.

Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke moved back into the GTE drivers’ points lead with victory in the LMGTE Pro class, leading a Aston Martin Racing 1-2 with their teammates in the #99 Vantage chasing them home, just half a second behind at the checkered flag, the two Astons classes a full lap ahead of the Porsche of Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet that completed the class podium.

Their Porsche AG Team Manthey teammates – Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz – will be the third of three teams in contention for the class drivers’ title when the series comes to a close in Bahrain. After finishing fourth Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella trail the lead Aston team by 5.5 points, the half point created by the farce in Fuji.

While the marque dominated the Pro class Aston Martin looked likely to take victory in both classes in the first half of the race as the Young Driver AMR team of Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen, Nicki Thiim converted pole position into a lead that lasted the first 100 laps until a mysterious electrical problem sidelined the all-Danish crew and handed the lead to 8Star Motorsports.

The orange Ferrari, driven by Enzo Potolicchio, Rui Aguas and Davide Rigon, in turn dominated the time that remained in the race to win the class by a lap over the Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche shared by Raymond Narac, JeanKarl Vernay and Markus Palttala with the Aston Martin of Stuart Hall, Jamie CampbellWalter and Jonny Adam completed the class podium.

The WEC season comes to a close in Bahrain in three weeks’ time.