“Stars of Shanghai” by Allan McNish
Official FIA WEC commentator and 2013 World Endurance Champion, Allan McNish, reviews the performances which stood out for him at the recent 4 Hours of Shanghai.
LMP1 - Magic Menezes
“There were a lot of very strong performances, but for me the top prize had to go the Rebellion drivers: Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato.
“Nato kept calm at the start after a difficult first lap - not getting the tyre temperature and not having the grip after that. He basically looked at the long game.
“It could have been so easy to get involved in a fight you were never going to win in that situation. Menezes completed a feisty fightback to take the lead, and then Senna delivered the killer punch at the end.
“But, for me, it was Gustavo Menezes who slightly stood out. There was an attitude and a focus of getting back in the fight, and that directs across to the complete team as well.
“His first flying lap was the fastest lap of the car for the whole race. So, Gustavo for the ‘we’re not out of it yet’ [mentality], brought the team back to the point where Bruno could execute an excellent victory for the three of them.”
LMGTE Pro – Terrific Thiim
“The No.95 Aston Martin led 67 of the 81 laps until an unfortunate puncture cost them a likely win.
“Up from second on the grid, and then an around-the-outside manoeuvre at the first corner, Nicki Thiim controlled it all despite massive pressure from Kevin Estre’s Porsche and James Calado’s Ferrari. Ultimately, I thought that was a very strong drive from him.
“The GTE Pro class was actually a difficult one to decide on a star performer because I thought there were quite a few drivers that had strong races, but Thiim gets it from me.”
LMP2 - Standout Performer Di Resta
“He’s been growing in every department at United Autosports and becoming a standout performer in LMP2 as well. In the Shanghai race, Paul di Resta was straight on it – fast, clean in traffic and very aware of the cars round about him.”
“In the first stint, on recovery mode after the problems they had right at the beginning and that very early pitstop, Paul had 17 laps of that first stint in the 53s and 54s bracket. That is very quick.
“P3 definitely was a very good result after the problems they had. I thought Paul delivered a very well-rounded performance which was integral to the podium.”
LMGTE AM – Yoluc’s Fantastic Double
“All the bronze drivers started the race because of the four-hour time distance and the nature of needing to do a certain amount of time in the car [90 minutes], and so it was a good chance to look at all of the bronze drivers together.
“TF Sport’s Salih Yoluc did a fantastic double stint, very fast, very consistent. Indeed, 50 percent of his laps during his double stint were within one second of his fastest lap of the stint as well. I thought it was a very good performance from him and also helped secure the team’s second victory in a row. It was well deserved.”