The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid emerged victorious at the 6 Hours of Mexico in a thrilling fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Timo Bernhard survived a late off-track moment at the final turn to cross the finish line 1m 01.442 seconds ahead of the #7 Audi R18 driven by Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler.
Bernhard was joined by team-mates Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley on the podium, who celebrated their second win of the season.
Third place went to the #6 Toyota TS050 of Stephane Sarrazin, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway which recovered from an early drive through penalty to finish eight seconds behind the Audi. The #2 Porsche ended up fourth after having to come in for emergency repairs to its rear-left rain light.
The race was won with an hour to go when Lotterer locked up heading into the stadium section while running second. His car then touched the outside wall before coming to a brief rest with little damage, but a flat spotted tyre meant an extra pit stop would be required to finish the race. That gave Bernhard enough breathing space at the front to finish off the job for Porsche.
The result means Porsche’s #2 crew of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb keep their lead in the drivers’ championship, with the #6 Toyota trio moving up to second – albeit 41 points behind – after wheel bearing failures hampered the race for the #8 Audi.
In LMP2, RGR Sport claimed a popular home victory after G-Drive Racing hit problems in the final hour. A fiery brake failure for Rene Rast forced the #26 ORECA-Nissan into a lengthy pit stop, which promoted Filipe Albuquerque to the lead of the race.
Fending off a late charge from Nicolas Lapierre in the Signatech Alpine-Nissan, Albuquerque guided the Mexican-entered Ligier home to the tune of a 1.9 second victory margin.
GTE-Pro was won convincingly by Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway in their Aston Martin. Turner crossed the line 9.4 seconds ahead of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado.
Stanaway inherited the lead of the race with just over two hours to go when he passed Nicki Thiim in the sister car. Thiim then went wide under braking, which allowed the Ferrari to catch up and deny Aston Martin of a one-two finish.
Thiim ultimately crossed the line in third, a lap ahead of Sam Bird in the sister Ferrari. The two Ford Chip Ganassi Racing entries struggled all afternoon, with the #66 car spending over half an hour in its pit garage for repairs. The #67 wound up a distant fifth.
In GTE-Am, Abu Dhabi Proton Racing maintained its halfway lead to claim a hard-fought class victory. It also marked the first win for Khaled al Qubaisi, David Heinemeier Hansson and Patrick Long in 2016.
Long drove the #88 Porsche 911 to victory, beating the #83 AF Corse Ferrari by over a lap.
Full result and championship standings to follow.