Mark Webber had a very heavy accident in the sister car with less than half an hour to go before the end of the six-hour race. The Australian, who shares the Le Mans Prototype with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, crashed heavily into the barriers at the fast last turn of the lap. He was in sixth position. The initial information the team received from the medical centre at the track was that he was not badly injured. However, he has been transferred to a hospital in São Paulo for further checks. The race finished behind the safety car with Neel Jani at the wheel of the winning car.
“The most important news of today is that, given the circumstances, Mark Webber is in good condition, according to the first information from the doctors”, said I find it hard to believe that we really managed to win our first race in our first WEC season, especially as our joy is overshadowed by Mark’s accident. This weekend we have been fastest in every session and had both cars on the front row. The race was a thriller until the very last lap. After three tough years we have achieved this win with a great team in our debut season. Congratulations to the team – I’m very proud of them.”
Lieb started from second, but lost one place to a Toyota on lap one. After breathtaking attempts to get the position back, after 37 laps he handed over the car, which was still lying in third, to Jani. The Swiss continued to attack the Toyota, they swopped places, but when Jani handed over to Dumas after 76 laps the car was still third. Dumas only got by when the Toyota had contact with another car on lap 88.
On lap 105 Dumas had to pit early because of a right rear puncture. Lieb got behind the wheel again and took the lead after 119 laps when the sister car suffered problems. Lieb pitted after 144 laps to hand the car back to Dumas. After 183 laps Jani took over with the car lying second. At his final pit stop after 222 laps he stayed in the car and took the risk not to change tyres to save time. The risk paid off.
Bernhard started from pole position and was leading by 12 seconds when he handed over to Webber after 38 laps. Webber stayed in the lead of the race, despite some trouble in traffic, and handed over to Hartley at the end of lap 79. For the Kiwi and car number 20 the dream to win the race was over soon as an unidentified problem cost some engine power. After 119 laps Hartley handed over to Bernhard, who continued in third. During a full course yellow after 153 laps Hartley got behind the wheel again. After 193 laps Webber took over again, with the car having meanwhile dropped back to sixth place. He had his last pit stop after 227 laps and a heavy crash in the fast last corner of the track when the race was on its 239th lap with less than half an hour to go.
A successful conclusion to the Sports Car World Endurance Championship
WEC for Porsche Team Manthey: With a strong performance at the gripping sixhour race in São Paulo, the French Porsche works drivers Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet scored second in the fiercely competitive GTE-Pro class at the wheel of their Porsche 911 RSR. With this, the pair notched up another podium result with the 470 hp GT racer from Weissach to add to the two double victories at Silverstone and Shanghai. In the manufacturers’ championship, Porsche secured runner-up honours.
Witnessed by 50,000 spectators at the Autodromo José Carlos Pace, the number 92 Porsche 911 RSR got away cleanly amongst the front-runners in temperatures reaching 28 degrees Celsius. After a good qualifying performance, Frédéric Makowiecki took up the last race of the season from the first grid row and treated the Brazilian fans to some breathtaking fights for positions and spectacular overtaking manoeuvres. His teammate Patrick Pilet snatched the lead for the first time early in the third hour.
With an hour to the flag, Makowiecki was running at the front of the GT field before pulling into the pits for the last refuelling stop and driver change. As dusk turned to darkness, Patrick Pilet returned to the track in third and launched a furious pursuit. But after pushing his way up to second place, a safety car phase which lasted until the end of the race robbed him of the chance of victory.
The season finale proved not as successful for Jörg Bergmeister and Richard Lietz in the second 911 RSR campaigned by the Porsche Manthey squad. After a difficult qualifying which yielded them the fourth grid spot, they were unable to fight for victory and were also hampered by a slow puncture and a stop-and-go penalty after a collision. The pair eventually saw the flag in sixth place.
For the Porsche 911 RSR, which is based on the seventh generation of the iconic 911 sports car, a successful season drew to a close in São Paulo. The promising start with a double win at the Silverstone season opener was followed up with podium placings at Spa-Francorchamps, at the Le Mans 24 Hours and Austin. In Shanghai, Porsche Team Manthey could finally celebrate their second double victory of the season. And the Porsche 911 RSR not only notched up successes in the World Endurance Championship: Prior to the start of the WEC season, the Porsche sports car campaigned by Porsche North America won two of the most prestigious long distance races – the 24 Hours at Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring.
For more quotes and information on the race in São Paulo, please download the press releases (left column).
1. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche 919 Hybrid, 249 Laps
2. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, – 0,170 s
3. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (BRA/F/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, – 1 Lap
4. Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway (A/F/GB), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, – 1 Lap
5. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/D/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, – 1 Lap
1. Toyota, 289 (World Champion)
2. Audi, 244
3. Porsche, 193
1. Turner/Mücke (GB/D), Aston Martin Vantage, 221 laps
2. Makowiecki/Pilet (F/F), Porsche 911 RSR, 221
3. Rigon/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari F458 Italia, 221
4. Bruni/Vilander (I/SF), Ferrari 458 Italia, 220
5. MacDowall/O’Young/Rees (GB/CAN/BRA), Aston Martin Vantage, 220
6. Bergmeister/Lietz (D/A), Porsche 911 RSR, 220
FIA World Endurance Cup GT Manufacturers
1. Ferrari 288 points
2. Porsche 262
3. Aston Martin 232