Porsche has the advantage halfway through the latest round of the WEC.
The No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard comfortably led the 6 Hours of Nurburgring as it reached the halfway mark this afternoon.
The car enjoyed a comfortable lead over the two No.7 and No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattros. Harltey was at the wheel of the race leading Porsche after team mates Bernhard and Webber completed early stints and were forced to fight back after Bernhard was forced to pit early in the first hour to change the front bodywork section.
This had given the pole-sitting No.18 Porsche 919, started by Neel Jani a clear road and the Swiss exploited the advantage to create a solid gap.
Race falls apart for No. 18 Porsche
The shape of the race started to change in the second hour when the No.18 Porsche was given a 5-second stop/go penalty for breaching Article 65E of Appendix 4 of the Technical Regulations which governs the limitation of gasoline instantaneous flow. It is believed that faulty readings from the fuel flow meter may have been the culprit for the over use of fuel.
The Porsche team subsequently suffered two more penalties, this time 30-seconds and 60-seconds each to drop back down to fourth place and off the lead lap.
Porsche’s woes promoted the two Audi’s to second and third place with Andre Lotterer in the No.7 Audi just holding off the No.8 machine driven by Lucas Di Grassi. The No.7 Audi had been forced to pit early after Marcel Fassler suffered a right rear puncture.
KCMG vs. G-Drive
LMP2 saw a battle for the lead throughout the first three hours between the KCMG OREA 05-Nissan and the No.26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan.
Nick Tandy had opened up a substantial lead during the first two stints but the lead was relinquished to the G-Drive Ligier-Nissan after the second schedule stop when Tandy handed over to Matt Howson.
Howson then hunted down the leading G-Drive car, now in the hands of Roman Rusinov and put a decisive move on the Russian heading in to turn one.
The second of the G-Drive Ligier-Nissans placed third after a stirling first two stints from Pipo Derani, who hunted down and overtook Nelson Panciatici’s Signatech Alpine.
The LMP1 privateers class self-destructed before the halfway mark with both Rebellion R-One-AER cars suffering significant technical problems, and the ByKolles CLM P1/01 suffering damage and displaced rear wing, which brought the last of three Full Course Yellows.
Manthey Porsche enjoyed a 1-2 in the LMGTE Pro class with the No.91 911 RSR leading the No.92 car. Michael Christensen had essentially driven away from the opposition in the first two hours before Richard Lietz consolidated the lead.
Just before the end of the third hour there was a frenzied battle between the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari and the No.92 Porsche, driven respectively by James Calado and Frederic Makowiecki. Eventually contact between the two was made when the third Full Course Yellow was deployed. Makowiecki hit the back of Calado, causing a puncture to the Ferrari 458 Italia. Great work by the AF Corse mechanics got the car back out on track and the fight was renewed between Patrick Pilet and Davide Rigon. Again there was an issue for the Ferrari which suffered another puncture and dropped back to a more distant third in class.
The LMGTE Am class was controlled early on by Patrick Long in the Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 after Earl Bamber had briefly led in the Abu-Dhabi-Proton 911 RSR, only to be spun out of contention.
The second hour saw Pedro Lamy’s early work in the No.99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 pay dividends as the car lead in the hands of its bronze driver, Paul Dalla Lana. The Canadian held the lead but eventually the Dempsey Porsche re-took it when first Marco Seefried, and then a second turn at the wheel by Long saw it re-emerge at the head of the field.
The Le Mans winning SMP Racing Ferrari held second place, while the No.98 Aston was third with Lamy back in the cockpit.