Porsche Team #17 wins his second consecutive race of the season with Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley at COTA. The Germans also achieved a 1-2 victory in the GTE-Pro class, led by Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen of Porsche Team Manthey.
The first two hours of the race saw first Mark Webber and then Brendon Hartley carve out useful gaps in the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, after Webber snatched the lead at the first turn from Neel Jani’s No.18 machine.
The No.17 Porsche had been in control of the race as the halfway point of the race came, but when Webber overshot his pit the hard-won gap was reduced to just seven seconds as a second Full Course Yellow came out. The rare error from Webber cost 25 seconds.
Driving his second stint, Webber had built upon Hartley’s tremendous second hour turn at the wheel and also negotiated the first Full Course Yellow, which was deployed just before the third hour when Ed Brown crashed his Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier following a brake issue.
Placing third was the No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro which had kept touch with the second placed No.18 Porsche throughout the race. In the third hour Oliver Jarvis homed in on Romain Dumas and got to within five seconds before the third scheduled stops when he handed over to Loic Duval.
The title leading No.7 Audi was fourth after Andre Lotterer opened the race in the R18 e-tron quattro before handing over to Benoit Treluyer, who survived contact with the Larbre Corvette.
Toyota Racing placed fifth with the No.1 Toyota TS 040 HYBRID. Buemi had even placed fourth in the early stages before Andre Lotterer took back the position from reigning champion Sebastien Buemi.
At the end of the second hour Anthony Davidson ran wide and missed the entry to the pit just before his second scheduled stop and was forced to complete a full slow fuel-save lap to hand over to Kazuki Nakajima.
The No.2 Toyota suffered a high-speed spin by Mike Conway after attempting to get by Marco Seefried’s Porsche. The British driver emerged without any damage to the car and kept fifth place. However, just before the halfway point Conway crashed at Turn 11, severely damaging the car and ending its race.
The No.12 Rebellion Racing R-One-AER headed the LMP1 privateers with Mathias Beche, Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld leading the ByKolles CLM P1/01-AER.
LMP2 saw some typically exciting racing throughout the first half of the Lone Star Le Mans headline race.
Pole sitter Sam Bird initially built up a healthy lead in the No.26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan. After the first pit stops the No.30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier of Ryan Dalziel emerged in front after the team elected not to change driver or tyres. Dalziel was soon hunted down by a charging Richard Bradley in the KCMG ORECA, who swept through before building a large lead.
Nicolas Lapierre, who started the race for KCMG had earlier made short work of most of the LMP2 field to fight his way up to second behind Bird, who completed the first stint before handing over to Julien Canal.
After three hours of racing the KCMG ORECA was back in second place after going out of pit sequence, handing the lead back to the No.26 G-Drive car driven by Roman Rusinov. Third was the Signatech Alpine A450B.
The race changed a lot with the several penalties that the LMP1 car received. Toyota Racing #1, Audi Sport Team Joest #8 and Porsche Team #17 give a stop/go penalty. This helps to Porsche Team #18 to take the lead of the Race in front of Audi Sport Team Joest #7 who decided to make an extra stop.
In the other categories the leaders maintained their positions. In LMP2 was the G-Drive Racing #26 in a solid lead, in GTE Pro the one-two of Porsche Team Manthey keep dominating and fighting side by side as in GTE Am, another Porsche, from Dempsey – Proton Racing continues as the fastest guy in the track.
The battle on LMP1 was stable but on LMP2 G-Drive Racing and KCMG had two different strategies but the pace of the Russian team was better.
In GTE Pro, Vilander for AF Corse #51 had a door issue and lost all his podium options. As Lietz overtook Makowieki for the lead. In GTE Am, Dempsey lost the led from Victor Shaytar (SMP Racing).
At final hour we saw the Porsche Team #18 who had some electrical issues and let the Porsche Team #17 to take his second win in a row in front of Audi car no. 7 and Audi 8.
In LMP2 G-Drive Racing was untouchable at last stint and wins at COTA. In GTE Pro, Porsche Team Manthey repeats the one-two of Nürburgring as SMP Racing comeback to win in GTE Am.
The FIA World Endurance Championship continues October 10-11 with the Six Hours of Fuji.