Rebellion defeats both Toyotas in Shanghai
Rebellion Racing took its second FIA WEC victory today in the 4 Hours of Shanghai, its first of the season, after its #1 R-13 Gibson of Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato and Bruno Senna fought through the field after a troubled start to the race, dropped the car from first to sixth overall. It marks only the fourth time in the WEC’s eight-year history that a non-Hybrid car has won a round overall.
Opinions on the ‘Success Neutering’ system aside, this was an entertaining, unpredictable race, which was close between the three LMP1 teams, which all spent time in the lead at various points.
The two Toyota TS050 Hybrids, that were pegged back after wins at Silverstone and Fuji, didn’t have the pace to win this one. Despite their advantage through traffic with hybrid boost, in fuel consumption and tire wear, they simply couldn’t better the R-13 which had far more straight-line speed and was consistently able to generate faster lap times.
Strategy helped here for Rebellion too, it must be said, the Swiss team recovering well from Nato’s struggles with tire wear at the start. In the end the #1 crossed the line a minute ahead of the #8 Toyota, which had a trouble-free race and a lap ahead of the #7 Toyota which lost time after serving a drive through for jumping the start.
The third podium spot was taken by the No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry driven by Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway – the trio’s race was compromised following a drive-through penalty for a jump start.
Britain’s Team LNT ended the race in fourth and fifth position as the No.5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER reached the checkered flag one spot ahead of the No.6 sister car.
JOTA delivers Goodyear its maiden WEC victory
The highly-competitive LMP2 category saw British-based squad JOTA take its first victory of WEC Season 8 in the ORECA 07 Gibson with Antonio Felix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson.
It marked the first WEC win for JOTA since Spa in 2015 and it was also the first win for Goodyear tires – a remarkable achievement considering it is only the third event since the American tire company joined the WEC with its new range of LMP2 tires.
Meanwhile, it was a home celebration for Jackie Chan DC Racing today as its trio of Gabriel Aubry, Ho-Pin Tung and Will Stevens claimed the runner-up position after a strong outing in another ORECA. Today’s result promotes Jackie Chan DC Racing to second in the LMP2 standings, just two points behind category leaders Racing Team Nederland who finished today’s race fifth following a drive-through penalty.
Signatech Alpine Elf’s trio of Thomas Laurent, Andre Negrao and Pierre Ragues finished fourth in the Alpine Gibson car and now sit third in the overall standings.
Elsewhere, it was a difficult race for the No. 42 Cool Racing entry as the Swiss team was the only entry to retire from today’s race due to an electrical problem caused by damage after an incident.
Ferrari on top in GTE Pro
Ferrari took its first ever LMGTE Pro victory on Chinese soil with the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.
During the event’s final hour, Pier Guidi capitalized on the No. 95 Aston Martin Racing’s left-rear puncture allowing Ferrari to take the race lead.
Pier Guidi then successfully fended off Kevin Estre in the race’s closing laps to reach the checkered flag 6.757s ahead of the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR entry. It is also the 20th victory for the No.51 car in the WEC.
Estre and team-mate Michael Christensen’s second place finish today sees Porsche GT Team extend its points lead over Aston Martin by 17 points in the overall LMGTE Pro standings.
The final podium spot in Shanghai was taken by the No.91 Porsche 911 RSR of Gimmi Bruni and Richard Lietz. The No.97 and No.95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR Racing cars finished fifth and sixth respectively while the No. 71 AF Corse entry rounded out the top six.
Two in a row for TF Sport
In LMGTE Am, it was another dream race weekend for British team TF Sport as Jonny Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc stormed to their second consecutive LMGTE Am race victory in the No.90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR.
TF Sport’s dominant win sees the team take the lead in the overall LMGTE Am standings – three points ahead of AF Corse.
The No.57 Team Project 1 team of Jeroen Bleekemolen, Larry ten Voorde and Ben Keating took a season best result today with second overall in the Porsche 911 RSR.
Meanwhile, the No.98 Aston Martin trio of Darren Turner, Paul Dalla Lana and Ross Gunn made an incredible comeback from lap one contact to take the third podium spot.
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