Porsche dominate LMP1 class at 6 Hours of Mexico

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Posche take second dominate one-two of the season, with #2 crew taking third consecutive win

The LMP1 class at the 6 Hours of Mexico was dominated by Porsche as Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber took their third consecutive win of the season to extend their championship lead. Toyota Gazoo Racing had no answer for the Porsches and were unable to put any threat on the German manufacturer. The #31 Vailante Rebellion took the advantage in LMP2, breaking the winning streak of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car. Their victory and the difficult day for the #38 team brings the championship gap down to 23 points, leaving everything to play for in the last four races of the season. Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim took victory in the LM GTE Pro class after the chequered flag had dropped. They finished second on the road but a time penalty saw the class winner fall from first to second after the race. It was a nice race for the Dempsey-Proton Racing #77 as it took a pole to victory win without much threat from behind.

It was a very easy lights to flag one-two for the Porsche LMP1 team as Toyota could not keep up with the pace of the German cars. With 2 hours and 40 minutes left on the clock the leading Toyota fell off the lead lap and dropped a lap behind. The gap was a lap when the chequered flag fell at the end of the race. Nick Tandy, Andre Lotterer and Neil Jani kept the race a bit interesting by keeping up with the sister car throughout the race. There was a seven second time gap between the two of them at the end of the six hours. But it was made clear at the 6 Hours of Nurburgring that the #1 team would find it difficult to be allowed to challenge for a victory against the #2.

In terms of the Championship, it was the contending #8 Toyota that completed the podium. However, if the pace differencial is the same for the remaining four rounds of the World Endurance Championship then it will be an easy third consecutive Driver’s Championship for Porsche. Toyota’s main issue was that it lacked downforce around the high altitude circuit, meaning that from the start fo the weekend the advantage was in Porsche’s hands, even if Toyota took the fastest lap in one of the practice sessions. Not even technical issues and drive-through penalties could help Toyota rein in the Porsches.

It was almost an easy victory for the #31 Rebellion as Bruno Senna had an impressive opening stint to get the ORECA 07/Gibson into the lead with a 30 second advantage. Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal maintained the excellent work Senna had done at the beginning of the race, only losing the lead to CEFC Manor TDR Racing for a short while in the penultimate hour.

Ben Hanley showed great form on his one-off performance in the #24 Manor, even challenging for the win at the end of the race. He had the advantage of Senna falling victim to a brief spin to help edge out an advantage, but in the end the tyres on the ORECA 07 let Hanley down and he was forced to pit for fresh rubber with only a short amount of time left. He tried to regain the position, looking to be in strong contention for at least second but a mistake and a spin saw him settling for third. The pole-sitting #36 Signatech Alpine benifited from Hanley’s spin and managed to hold second at the chequered flag, 25 seconds off the leader in the hands of Nicloas Lapierre.

AF Corse took the chequered flg first, but a time penalty saw them lose the win after the race

Only two cars were in contention for victory in the LM GTE Pro class; the #71 AF Corse and #95 Aston Martin Racing kept the battle going throughout the six hours. When the full course yellows decended on the track, it was Thiim and Sorenson who had the advantage over Sam Bird and Davide Rigon. But the Ferrari looked to have the quicker pace all weekend and got back inot the lead before the end of the race. As the flag fell, it was Bird and Rigon ahead, however the race was not finished.

The AF Corse duo had been handed a ten second time penalty for speeding during the full course yellow period. Bird and Rigon tried their hardest to pull that time lead over second placed #95 Aston Martin Racing but they could not quite manage it. With only an eight-tenth of a second advantage on the Aston, the #71 fell to second place, just over nine seconds off the leader. The podium was rounded up by the #91 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR which had a very quiet six hour race and finished a lap down on the other podium attendiees.

It was also a quiet race in the Am class as Christian Ried, Marvin Dienst and Matteo Cairoli went from pole position in class to win, to take full points from the weekend. They were a lap up on second plaed #98 Aston Martin Racing with the podium finished up by the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche.

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