Porsche lead Audi after sensational first 3 Hours in Shanghai
At the halfway stage of the 6 Hours of Shanghai there has been some exceptional endurance racing action at the second to last round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The race started behind the Safety Car and immediately saw drama as Marc Lieb and Andre Lotterer collided at Turn 7 on the first green flag lap. The Porsche 919 Hybrid of Lieb spun and was stuck on the inside kerb. This dropped him to the back of the field and subsequently triggered a superb recovery drive from the German.
Lotterer, in the No.7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, was able to stay reasonably close to Hartley’s leading Porsche in the opening hour, but the New Zealander was then able to extend the small lead until handing over to team mate Timo Bernhard in the third hour.
When Audi elected to make pit stops and driver changes on both its cars, when a Full Course Yellow was deployed to retrieve Dominik Kraihamer’s spun Rebellion, Porsche briefly ran 1-2. However, when another FCY came, this time to recover the Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima’s Toyota TS 040 HYBRID from the turn 16 gravel-trap, Porsche also took the opportunity to change drivers.
Bernhard emerged from the pits just behind the No.7 Audi, now driven by Benoit Treluyer in third place, with the No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Lucas Di Grassi in the lead.
With Timo Bernhard’s No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid just ahead of the recovering No.18, now in the hands of Neel Jani, a battle royal played in the third hour.
The track remaining consistently wet, Di Grassi appeared to allow Treluyer through into turn one. This allowed the Frenchman to build a small lead as Di Grassi held off the marauding Porsches behind him.
Neel Jani proved to be the quickest Porsche at this stage and was soon able to find a way around Bernhard and then also Di Grassi to take second place. At stages, the top four were only three seconds apart during some classic endurance action.
Di Grassi was soon also forced to relinquish third place when Bernhard made a spectacular overtake. The German then went back after Jani to join a two-pronged attack on the leading No.7 Audi.
Ten minutes before the end of the third hour Jani’s No.18 Porsche 919 Hybrid found a way by Treluyer and he was able to build a slight lead.
Toyota suffered a tough start to the 6 Hours of Shanghai. Britain's Anthony Davidson got among the leaders but the defending champion soon fell back. A slow puncture lost the No.1 Toyota TS 040 time and then Nakajima’s spin put them further back down the order.
The No.2 Toyota, started by Mike Conway placed fifth and apart from a spin by Alexander Wurz in the third hour had a relatively clean run.
In the LMP1 Privateer class the Nicolas Prost and Matthias Beche crewed Rebellion R-One-AER led the ByKolles CLM P1/01 by a lap.
Brundle and Derani star in LMP2
LMP2 saw some typically exciting action throughout the first half of the race with multiple leaders and an excellent cameo performance.
The surprise came from the Pegasus Morgan-Nissan, driven superbly for almost the entire first half by Alex Brundle. Sam Bird’s pole sitting G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan led for the opening exchanges but after the first pit stops, and with Brundle maximising the renowned Michelin wet tyres, it was the Pegasus Morgan that took over at the front.
As the race progressed Brundle’s Pegasus Morgan and Pipo Derani’s G-Drive Ligier took turns in the lead of the category. As the third hour approached though, a turning point seemed to have arrived when the #28 G-Drive was penalised for not respecting the Full Course Yellow procedure. With Brundle pitting at approximately the same time, Ryan Dalziel emerged in the lead in the Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-Nissan - the American team benefitting from the knowledge of the Shanghai track gained in their 2014 WEC debut.
Ho-Pin Tung, who took over from Brundle, sat second while Gustavo Yacaman’s No.28 G-Drive placed third. The points leading No.26 G-Drive, which earlier had led convincingly with Sam Bird at the wheel, was running fifth after Julien Canal completed his stint at the wheel. Bird got back in to the cockpit just as the third hour ended.
There was disaster for the KCMG ORECA squad after an early spin for Nick Tandy brought out a Safety Car. The Le Mans winner rotated at turn ten and was stuck in the gravel, losing two laps. Richard Bradley placed seventh at the halfway stage but the teams’ title hopes appear to be dashed.
14:00:31 Stop for Audi #7 Treluyer stays in
13:59:54 After 3 hours Porsche #18 leads P1 and #30 Ligier leads P2
13:57:53 Tung has taken over 2nd place in P2 Morgan
13:56:45 Ligier #26 penalty was for speeding under full course yellow
13:55:52 Ligier #30 takes lead in P2
13:51:56 Drive through for Ligier #26
13:50:25 P2 leader #29 Morgan stops
13:49:43 Porsche #18 takes lead from Audi
13:45:28 Aston #98 takes lead in GTE Am
13:44:35 All cars still running with Porsche #88 last 15 laps behind the leader
13:42:29 Spin for Gibson #42
13:40:48 Spin for Corvette #50 and rejoins
13:37:09 Porsche #17 takes 3rd from Audi #8
13:31:38 Rain now easing again
13:30:31 Aston #96 takes lead in GTE Am
13:28:24 Porsche #18 takes 2nd from Audi #8
13:27:24 Porsche #18 takes 3rd from team mate #17
13:24:07 Porsche #88 into its pit garage
13:22:36 Audi #7 takes lead from team mate #8
13:18:57 Treluyer takes 2nd in Audi #7
13:12:58 Toyota #1 in pits after spin into gravel
13:11:54 Brundle in #29 Morgan takes lead in P2
13:10:03 Davidson in Toyota #1 reports earlier puncture
13:08:59 Green flag
13:07:04 Di Grassi leads in Audi #8
13:06:25 Porsche #18 Jani in
13:05:43 Porsche #17 into pits Bernhard in
13:05:08 Porsche #88 has rejoined
13:03:37 Full course yellow
13:03:05 Spin for Toyota #1 into gravel
13:02:31 Spin into gravel for Porsche #88
13:01:44 Porsche #91 leads GTE Pro and Aston #98 leads GTE Am
13:00:55 After 2 hours Porsche #17 leads P1 and #28 Ligier leads P2
12:59:39 Green flag again
12:58:52 Aston #98 leads GTE Am after pit stops
12:57:01 Spin for Corvette #50 rejoins and impedes Toyota #2
12:55:38 Marshals still clearing debris from track
12:55:07 Treluyer now in Audi #7
12:54:47 Di Grassi now in Audi #8
12:51:57 Dempsey out of Porsche #77 Seefried in
12:49:22 Full course yellow to retrieve #13 Rebellion
12:48:40 Morgan #29 takes 3rd in P2
12:47:41 Rebellion #13 into gravel
12:46:44 Ligier #28 takes lead in P2 after spin for #26
12:45:43 Aston #98 now 2nd in GTE Am
12:44:20 Spin for Porsche #88
12:43:54 Spin for Porsche #77 at pit entrance
12:43:13 Spin for Corvette #50
12:42:36 Green Flag
12:39:38 Porsche #92 pits Makowiecki gets in
12:38:26 Ferrari #71 stops Calado in
12:37:19 Rain now much heavier
12:34:28 P2 leader into pits Canal now in
12:33:43 Gibson #42 rejoins and pits
12:32:53 Wurz gets into Toyota #2
12:32:01 Aston #96 has taken lead in GTE Am
12:31:04 Porsche #91 has taken lead in GTE Pro
12:30:16 Full Course yellow to retrieve #42 Gibson from gravel
12:30:16 Full Course yellow to retrieve #42 Gibson from gravel
12:29:25 Strakka #42 into gravel
12:28:38 Porsche #18 now up to 4th place after earlier spi
12:27:18 Davidson in #1 Toyota back into pits Nakajima gets in
12:25:45 Rain reported heavier
12:25:09 Aston #98 takes 3rd in GTE Am
12:24:00 Ferrari #71 takes lead of GTE Pro
12:20:50 30 second stop/go for Ferrari #72
12:20:12 Ligier #30 now in 3rd in P2
12:17:48 Audi # 8 now in second after pit stops ahead of Audi #7
12:15:36 All P1 cars still staying on wet tyres
12:14:20 Leader #17 into pits - changes to another set of wet tyres
12:13:18 Stop for Toyota #1 Davidson stays in - no new tyres
12:11:05 Porsche #88 takes lead in GTE Am after spin for Porsche #77
12:09:44 Stop for Audi #7 changes tyres
12:06:13 Stop for Audi #8
12:04:44 After 1 hour #91 Porsche leads GTE Pro and #77 Porsche leads GTE Am
12:03:33 After 1 hour #17 Porsche leads P1 and #26 Ligier leads P2
12:02:19 Morgan #29 pits from 3rd in P2
12:00:37 Ferrari #71 overtakes team mate #51 for 2nd in GTE Pro
11:59:41 Spin for #31 Ligier makes light contact with tyre wall
11:57:33 Porsche #88 takes 3rd in GTE Am
11:56:40 Aston #98 stops Lauda now in
11:54:56 1:55.767 fastest lap of race by Hartley in #17
11:52:14 Porsche #92 into pits - stays on wet tyres Pilet in
11:51:24 Ferrari #83 takes 3rd in GTE Am
11:49:39 Ligier #28 takes 2nd in P2 from Morgan #29
11:48:39 Porsche #18 takes 5th place from #2 Toyota
11:43:48 Dry line beginning to emerge now
11:42:36 Porsche #18 must turn rain light on
11:41:53 Hartley in #17 leads by 2.6 secs from Lotterer in #7 after 17 laps
11:39:49 Porsche #91 takes lead in GTE Pro from Ferrari #51
11:35:58 Hartley in leading Porsche #17 lapping 14 seconds off qualifying pace
11:34:26 Incident between Porsche #18 and Audi #7 under investigation
11:33:02 Lieb in Porsche #18 up to 7th 41 secs behind leading Porsche #17
11:31:28 Long in #77 Porsche takes lead in GTE Am
11:30:25 Rebellion #13 has spin and stops briefly
11:27:34 Corvette #50 leads GTE Am
11:26:54 Brundle now 2nd in P2 in Morgan #29
11:24:52 Ferrari #72 stops Shaytar out Basov in
11:23:32 Green Flag again
11:21:43 Ferrari #51 leads GTE Pro and Aston #98 leads GTE Am
11:19:16 Slight contact between Audi #7 and Porsche #18 leading to spin for #18
11:17:36 Safety car to retrieve Oreca #47
11:16:26 Hartley in Porsche #17 leads first racing lap from Audi #7
11:15:34 Porsche #18 rejoins
11:15:08 Tandy into gravel in Oreca #47
11:14:28 Porsche #18 spins
11:13:07 Green Flag after 14 minutes
11:12:40 Porsche #77 has spin but continues
11:11:45 Safety car in this lap
11:10:26 Vilander in leading GTE Pro Ferrari #51 and Lamy in leading GTE Am Aston #98
11:05:07 Hartley leads after lap 1 behind safety car
11:01:59 No formation lap
11:01:18 Green Flag
11:01:06 Sam Bird will start leading P2 Ligier #26 and Tandy in Oreca #47
10:59:05 Henri Pescarolo is Grand Marshal for the race
10:57:30 Race will start behind safety car
10:56:54 5 minutes to start
10:55:56 Grid being cleared
10:54:54 Matheo Tuscher will be the youngest LMP1 driver in WEC history at 18 years old when he drives #13 Rebellion
10:52:11 Davidson and Conway will start for Toyota
10:51:24 Jarvis and Lotterer will start for Audi
10:50:40 Hartley and Lieb will start for Porsche
10:46:04 Light rain at the circuit - most cars on intermediate tyres