2014 FIA WEC: Shanghai Six Hours race report
Porsche leapt back into the reckoning for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship title with a one-two finish for the factory Porsche 911 RSRs at this weekend’s Six Hours of Shanghai.
The Porsche Team Manthey duo enjoyed a faultless run to the chequered flag as the no. 92 entry, piloted by Patrick Pilet and Frédéric Makowiecki romped home as convincing winners, 12 seconds ahead of Jörg Bergmeister and Richard Lietz in the no. 91 sister car.
Qualifying had seen the two Porsche 911 RSRs secure positions two and three on the LMGTE Pro grid, a solid performance after the difficulties of Fuji although not enough to best the no. 97 Aston Martin of Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke.
Come Sunday’s six-hour race, the Aston Martin shot away into the lead and looked like the certain favourite for victory heading into the final third. However, a much-needed stroke of good fortune, then handed the initiative to the works Porsche 911s.
With around 90 minutes of action remaining, the no. 97 car ground to a halt with a complete engine failure, handing the lead to Pilet and Makowiecki who had, earlier in the race, seen off the challenge of their Austro-German teammates in the no. 91 RSR.
Bergmeister and Lietz had to overcome the no. 71 Ferrari 458 of Davide Rigon and James Calado just after halfway to take what was then the final podium position before vaulting up to second thanks to the Aston Martin’s demise.
The maximum points haul for Makowiecki kept his hopes of the 2014 GT driver’s title alive after points leaders Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander were forced into retirement due to an opening lap incident involving an LMP2 runner.
The Frenchman is now 24.5 points behind the lead Ferrari pairing, having halved the gap with his Shanghai success. It is a similar story in the Manufacturers’ World Cup where Porsche are now just seven points behind the Maranello outfit with two races in Bahrain and Brazil left to run.
There is now just two weeks to go until the next six-hour race in Bahrain; the event on 15 November will see the FIA WEC competitors race into darkness for the first time since round four in Austin, Texas.
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