6H of Mexico - Porsche/Michelin enjoys Mexican fiesta
The 6 Hours of Mexico saw Porsche Team claim its second one-two finish in as many rounds of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, with the N°2 Porsche 919 Hybrid/Michelin (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) securing top spot ahead of the N°1 sister prototype (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy). The N°8 and N°7 Michelin-equipped Toyota TS050 Hybrids were third and fourth at Mexico City’s Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.
The fifth round of the 2017 FIA WEC at the shortest (4.304km), highest (altitude: 2,250 metres) and twistiest venue of the season was dominated by the Porsche/Michelin prototypes. The two 919 Hybrids started from the front row and soon pulled away from the chasing Toyotas before starting to catch the backmarkers after just eight minutes of action! Picking their way through the traffic, the German squad’s drivers managed to maintain their advantage as they stuck to a strategy of double stints. Shortly after the two-hour mark, the N°1 Porsche was handed a drive-through penalty for pit-lane speeding and it was this incident that essentially handed the win to Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley in the N°2 car which was accredited with the day’s fastest lap (1m25.730s). Toyota completed the distance in third and fourth spots, one lap back, with Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (N°8) and Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez (N°7). In LM GTE Pro, the N°71 Ferrari 488 GTE/Michelin of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon ended up second after claiming pole position and leading for 187 of the day’s 209 laps. A 10-second penalty sufficed to hand the win to the N°95 Aston Martin (Thiim/Sorensen), however. The N°91 Porsche 911 RSR/Michelin of Lietz/Makowiecki thwarted the Ford GTs in the scrap for the podium’s third step. The LMP2 battle saw Vaillante Rebellion claim its maiden success, ahead of the N°31 Oreca (Senna/Canal/Prost) which led for the first half of the race. The challenge for podium honours of Manor Racing’s N°24 prototype was frustrated when it was beaten to third by the N°36 Alpine. The N°77 Porsche (Ried/Cairoli/Dienst) collected its second straight LM GTE Am victory, ahead of the N°98 Aston Martin and N°88 Porsche.
The next round of the championship will take teams to the Circuit of the Americas in Texas, USA, in two weeks’ time.