FIA WEC – Audi triumphant over Porsche at 6 Hours of Spa

FIA WEC | 2015 World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (Race)

Written and Images by – Jarrod Moore

With the sun shining across the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit, fans arrived dressed for winter as the track temperature barely rose above freezing with a chilly ambient temperature of 9C/49F.

The scene was set for an epic showdown between the three LMP1 power house teams of Porsche, Audi and Toyota.

With the first three grid positions taken up by Porsche Motorsport, the number 17 Porsche 919 piloted by Bernard, took full advantage of the clear track to break away from his team mates and build a handy five second lead.

Dumas and Hülkenberg in the 18 and 19 numbered Porsche 919’s had a difficult battle from the start as they tried to keep pace with Bernard up front.

The challenges from behind came early with Marcus Fassler in the number seven Audi R18 dicing back and forth with the pair of Porsche 919’s on numerous occasions.

Hülkenberg finally succumbed to the pace of Fassler giving up third place a mere four minutes into the race.

The two Toyota TS 040 cars were no match for the early speed of Porsche and Audi although the number one Cologne based team pushed on with a freshly repaired race car and one less driver with their team mate Nakajima still in hospital after his accident on Thursday.

With no yellow flags or safety car interruptions, the race settled into a familiar rhythm. The pace upfront was frantic with numerous position changes across the categories as teams made their scheduled pit stop and driver changes.

Two hours into the race and the number nine Audi was limping its way back to the pits after a high speed tyre blow out driving up Kemmel Straight. The delamination of the tyre was so violent that it severely damaged a number of left side panels including the driver’s door.

Images by Jarrod Moore

The well versed Audi pit crew swarmed around the car on its return to pit lane, changing the damaged tyre and body panels in less than two minutes.

Fassler and Lotterer in the next round of pit stops had finished their time behind the wheel of the number seven Audi, Treluyer was handed the reins to take the fight to race leader Marc Lieb in the number 18 Porsche.

As time continued to countdown, fast consistent lap times alone could not stop the Audi from closing the gap with Lieb coming under intense pressure from Treluyer to take the lead.

With one hour remaining, Treluyer in the number seven Audi R18 seized the opportunity to wrangle the lead from Lieb who continued to fight, but was unable to maintain the pace that his Porsche 919 showed in the previous five hours of the race.

With time ticking down, that’s how they would cross the line, one minute and eight seconds over the allocated six hour race time.

The number seven Audi Sport R18 e-tron Quattro with Treluyer at the wheel took the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps victory.

A margin of 13.4 seconds was all that separated first place from the number 18 Porsche 919 with Jani at the wheel followed by Hartley in third place with the number 17 Porsche 919 that started on pole.

Toyota who has seemingly struggled with pace this year finished outside of the podium positions with their number two car crossing the line in a respectable fifth place and the number one car finishing an admirable eighth position after the issue the car and team sustained in the accident with Audi.

The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be the famous 24 Heures du Mans race in France from the 13th – 14th June, 2015.

Pos Cat Driver Car Total Time Gap Best speed
1 7 LMP1 FÄSSLER, LOTTERER, TRÉLUYER Audi R18 e-tron quattro 6:01’08.896 213.7
2 18 LMP1 DUMAS, JANI, LIEB Porsche 919 Hybrid 6:01’22.320 13.424 213.6
3 17 LMP1 BERNHARD, WEBBER, HARTLEY Porsche 919 Hybrid 6:02’07.087 1 Laps 213.7
4 9 LMP1 ALBUQUERQUE, BONANOMI, RAST Audi R18 e-tron quattro 6:02’54.347 2 Laps 210.5
5 2 LMP1 WURZ, SARRAZIN, CONWAY Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid 6:01’11.616 3 Laps 209.8
6 19 LMP1 HÜLKENBERG, BAMBER, TANDY Porsche 919 Hybrid 6:02’03.416 3 Laps 213.6
7 8 LMP1 DI GRASSI, DUVAL, JARVIS Audi R18 e-tron quattro 6:03’26.476 8 Laps 213.5
8 1 LMP1 DAVIDSON, BUEMI, Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid 6:02’05.589 14 Laps 210.9
9 38 LMP2 DOLAN, EVANS, TINCKNELL Gibson 015S – Nissan 6:03’19.779 15 Laps 194.9
10 28 LMP2 YACAMAN, DERANI, GONZALEZ Ligier JS P2 – Nissan 6:02’46.418 16 Laps 192.9

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