VIDEO | FIA WEC – Toyota & Audi Crash puts Porsche on top at Spa

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

Written and Images by – Jarrod Moore

Arriving in Belgium at Spa-Francochamps for the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Porsche and Toyota look ready to step up their Championship fight after Audi took the first victory of the season by winning at Silverstone in the UK three weeks ago.

Audi, Toyota and Porsche for the first time, will all be running three cars each as they use the WEC 6 Hours of Spa as a dress rehearsal for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in six weeks’ time.

Before the day started, drivers and their teams walked the world famous track in a time honoured tradition. With black clouds filling the horizon, it was only a matter of time before the wet weather arrived. Although, no one could have predicted the outcome of the two free practice sessions, (FP1) and (FP2).

No one could have predicted the outcome of the two free practice sessions.

In a day dominated by Spa’s infamous wet weather, Porsche were the first team to strike, showing they are well versed to handle the wet conditions by setting the pace on top of the leader board.

Marc Lieb with fellow team mates, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas in the number 18 Porsche 919, topped the timesheet in FP1. Even with a sodden track they were more than half a second clear of the number one Toyota TS040 in second place with a time of 2:16.6 minutes.

Six tenths behind in third place was the number 17 Porsche of Bernhard, Webber and Hartley.

Images by Jarrod Moore

The session was cut short due to a spectacular accident, which saw the number eight Toyota hit the number one Audi sending them both off the track and crashing heavily on the Kemmel Straight.

Both drivers walked away unscathed, although their teams now have the arduous task of rebuilding the cars for the third free practice session tomorrow.

The Toyota team later found a crack in the carbon fibre monocoque, which could spell an early end to the number eight TS 040.

Sadly for the Toyota team, this wasn’t the only crack they found. Kazuki Nakajima was later admitted to hospital with severe back pain with an x-ray confirming their worst fears, a fracture in one of his vertebrae.

Sadly for the Toyota team, this wasn’t the only crack they found.

A sore but upbeat Nakajima said, “First of all I want to say thanks to the race director Eduardo Freitas and his safety crew at the circuit as well as the doctors at the hospital here in Verviers who have taken great care of me.”

“Unfortunately the x-ray shows a fracture in one of my vertebra. It’s unbelievably disappointing but there’s nothing I can do now.” continued Nakajima

With time to reflect on the accident, Kazuki from his hospital bed said, “There’s not much I can say about the accident. I was on the straight and suddenly through the spray there was a car right in front of me; I had no time to react.”

In a less eventful FP2, many of the cars saw little time on track due to the heavy rain that was consistent throughout the session. With low light and an abundance of standing water around the track, lap times were 8.8 seconds slower than the earlier practice session.

With the second free practice session coming to a close, New Zealand’s Earl Bamber in the number 18 Porsche 919 sat at the top of the time sheets.

6 Hours of Spa – Timesheet

Pos Cat Driver Car Gap Best time
1 18 LMP1 DUMAS,JANI,LIEB Porsche 919 Hybrid - 02:16.6
2 1 LMP1 DAVIDSON, BUEMI, NAKAJIMA Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid 0.501 02:17.1
3 17 LMP1 BERNHARD, WEBBER, HARTLEY Porsche 919 Hybrid 0.693 02:17.3
4 19 LMP1 HÜLKENBERG, BAMBER, TANDY Porsche 919 Hybrid 1.541 02:18.2
5 9 LMP1 ALBUQUERQUE, BONANOMI, RAST Audi R18 e-tron quattro 3.721 02:20.3
6 8 LMP1 DI GRASSI, DUVAL, JARVIS Audi R18 e-tron quattro 4.936 02:21.6
7 2 LMP1 WURZ, SARRAZIN, CONWAY Toyota TS 040 – Hybrid 5.616 02:22.2
8 7 LMP1 FÄSSLER, LOTTERER, TRÉLUYER Audi R18 e-tron quattro 7.241 02:23.9
9 42 LMP2 LEVENTIS, WATTS, KANE Strakka Dome S103 – Nissan 16.06 02:32.7
10 38 LMP2 DOLAN, EVANS, TINCKNELL Gibson 015S – Nissan 17.27 02:33.9
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