Shanghai WEC: Porsche seals manufacturers' crown with 1-2

Porsche secured the FIA WEC manufacturers' crown with another one-two finish, and a fourth victory in succession for the #17 car of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

With the #18 Porsche finishing in second place, 26 seconds behind the #17 car, Porsche stretched its lead in the manufacturers’ standings over Audi to 70, meaning the Stuttgart marque cannot be beaten at the final race at Bahrain.

Hartley led for the opening phase of the race, but right from the start there was excitement as the #18 919 Hybrid of Marc Lieb made contact with Andre Lotterer’s #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro and spun on to a kerb.

The incident ensured that Lieb had to then begin an awe-inspiring drive back through the field.

The opening three hours were punctuated by extremely challenging conditions for the drivers. An early safety car was followed by several Full Course Yellows to retrieve cars stranded in gravel traps.

With Audi seeming to have a slightly faster package on a fully wet track, a battle royale was played out after the first driver-change stops.

At one stage in the third hour, all four cars were covered by just 3.8 seconds as they fought a classic encounter around the Shanghai International Circuit.

After Neel Jani took over the #18 Porsche, the rapid Swiss claimed the lead just after the halfway mark when he overtook both Audis.

As the race wore on, so the track slowly dried, handing an advantage to Porsche, who were able to extract more laps from their wet-weather Michelin tyres.

However, in a fascinating game of strategy and risk, Audi switched to full slick tyres earlier, bringing them back in to contention late in the race.

There was also last-hour drama as the recovering #18 fell back behind the Audis after Romain Dumas spun at turn two. The Frenchman nonetheless redeemed himself and posted some remarkable laps to emerge from his a final ‘fuel-splash’ pit-stop in second position.

Dumas also soaked up late pressure to ward off a charging Lotterer, who started and finished the race in the #7 Audi.

The #8 Audi of Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi came home in fourth place once again after some tenacious fights throughout the race, while Toyota Racing took fifth and sixth places after several problems throughout the event. 

The #2 car of Mike Conway, Alex Wurz and Stephane Sarrazin headed the #1 Toyota TS 040 after Kazuki Nakajima lost time with a spin into the gravel at Turn 16, triggering the third Full Course Yellow period.

Signatech takes maiden LMP2 win

Taking a fine first LMP2 win in the WEC at Shanghai was the Signatech Alpine squad of Nelson Panciatici, Paul-Loup Chatin and championship newcomer Tom Dillmann.

Driving the Alpine A450b-Nissan, the French trio came good in the second half of the race after Chatin drove an excellent middle portion of the race to set up a useful gap to the chasing G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan entries.

Signatech had a one lap advantage over the #26 G-Drive Racing trio of Sam Bird, Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov, which led the race in the opening hour.

The second place for the #26 crew in Shanghai further extends their points lead over KCMG to 16 points, with 26 left to play for in Bahrain.

The sister G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan seemed to be heading for another podium position after fine early work from Pipo Derani and Gustavo Yacaman. However, a late race trip in to the gravel by Ricardo Gonzalez saw the car unclassified for the first time this season.

KCMG’s race in Shanghai was compromised early on when Nick Tandy suffered a spin, causing the Safety Car to be deployed on the first green flag lap of the race.

A subsequent gamble on to full wet tyres initially worked for the Hong Kong team in the first hour, but when the rain abated they had to switch to intermediates. 

Strong stints from Matt Howson, Richard Bradley and Tandy saw them come through to finish third.

Team SARD Morand continued its strong run of results with fourth place in class. Oliver Webb, Pierre Ragues and Chris Cumming had a trouble-free race to collect more points in the Morgan Evo-SARD.

The LMP2 class saw an entertaining cameo performance from the Pegasus Racing Morgan-Nissan in the first four hours of the race. A sensational triple stint from LMP returnee Alex Brundle saw the Michelin-shod Morgan make the most of the conditions to lead the chasing pack.

However, in the last two hours of the race, with the circuit drying, the turquoise Morgan fell back and would eventually earn Brundle and his Chinese teammates Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng a creditable fifth-place finish.

Lietz closes on title with GTE win

Porsche Team Manthey took a third GTE Pro class victory of the season as the Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen-crewed #91 Porsche 911 RSR took a dominant win.

Lietz extended his lead in the drivers’ standings to 18 points after a conclusive victory saw the Porsche revel in the wet conditions.

It looked like being another 1-2 for the German manufacturer, but an inspired late race charge by reigning champion Gianmaria Bruni ensured that he and teammate Toni Vilander split the Manthey cars and the Patrick Pilet/Frederic Makowiecki Porsche was forced to settle for the bottom step of the class podium.

Vilander had led the early exchanges but the wetter the track became, the less the Ferrari became effective on its tyres.

It was a disappointing day for Aston Martin, as the British marque could only manage fifth and sixth, with the Alex Macdowall, Fernando Rees and Richie Stanaway heading the Darren Turner and Jonathan Adam Vantage V8.

The LMGTE Am class saw a first win of the season for the #81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Francois Perrodo, Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard.

It was a close shave for the current runners-up in the LMGTE Am standings, as they survived a late race pit penalty to take the class from the Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana Aston Martin by 41 seconds.

The result moves Collard, Perrodo and Aguas to within 19 points of SMP Ferrari drivers Victor Shaytar, Aleksey Basov and Andrea Bertolini, who wound up third in class.

Race results:

1 Mark Webber 
Brendon Hartley 
Timo Bernhard 
Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid 6:07.725
2 Marc Lieb 
Romain Dumas 
Neel Jani 
Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid +26.294
3 Andre Lotterer 
Benoit Treluyer 
Marcel Fassler 
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro  +30.311
4 Loic Duval 
Oliver Jarvis 
Lucas di Grassi 
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro  +50.906
5 Alexander Wurz 
Mike Conway 
Stephane Sarrazin 
Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid +4 laps
6 Anthony Davidson 
Kazuki Nakajima 
Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid +5 laps
7 Mathias Beche 
Nicolas Prost 
Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One +11 laps
8 Pierre Kaffer 
Simon Trummer 
Team ByKolles CLM P1/01 +13 laps
9 Nelson Panciatici 
Paul-Loup Chatin 
 Tom Dillmann 
Signatech Alpine Alpine A450b +15 laps
10 Roman Rusinov 
Sam Bird 
Julien Canal 
G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 +16 laps
11 Matthew Howson 
Nick Tandy 
Richard Bradley 
KCMG ORECA 05 +16 laps
12 Oliver Webb 
Chris Cumming 
Pierre Ragues 
Team SARD Morand Morgan LMP2 Evo '15 +17 laps
13 Alex Brundle 
Ho-Pin Tung 
David Cheng 
Pegasus Racing Morgan LMP2 +17 laps
14 Richard Lietz 
Michael Christensen 
Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR +18 laps
15 Toni Vilander 
Gianmaria Bruni 
AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia +18 laps
16 Frederic Makowiecki 
Patrick Pilet 
Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR +18 laps
17 Davide Rigon 
James Calado 
AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia +19 laps
18 Alex MacDowall 
Richie Stanaway 
Fernando Rees 
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 +20 laps
19 Jonathan Adam 
Darren Turner 
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 +20 laps
20 Ed Brown 
Jon Fogarty 
Johannes van Overbeek 
Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 +22 laps
21 Emmanuel Collard 
Rui Aguas 
François Perrodo 
AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia +23 laps
22 Pedro Lamy 
Paul Dalla Lana 
Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 +23 laps
23  Aleksey Basov 
Andrea Bertolini 
Viktor Shaitar 
SMP Racing Ferrari F458 Italia +24 laps
24 Patrick Long 
Patrick Dempsey 
Marco Seefried 
Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 911 RSR +24 laps
25 Gianluca Roda 
Paolo Ruberti 
 Nicolai Sylvest 
Larbre Compétition Chevrolet Corvette C7.R +25 laps
26 Jonny Kane 
Nick Leventis 
Danny Watts 
Strakka Racing Gibson 015S +25 laps
27  Liam Griffin 
Francesco Castellacci 
Stuart Hall 
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8 +30 laps
28 Khaled Al Qubaisi 
Christian Ried 
Klaus Bachler 
Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR +30 laps
R Alexandre Imperatori 
 Matheo Tuscher 
Dominik Kraihamer 
Rebellion Racing Rebellion R-One  
R Pipo Derani 
Gustavo Yacaman 
Ricardo Gonzalez 
G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2  
R David Heinemeier Hansson
Ryan Dalziel 
Scott Sharp 
Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2  
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About this article
Series WEC
Event Shanghai
Track Shanghai International Circuit
Drivers Mark Webber , Timo Bernhard , Brendon Hartley
Teams Porsche Team
Article type Race report