After the disappointments of the rain-shortened Fuji event three weeks ago, the 6 Hours of Shanghai provided an exciting and nail-biting race that had the 28,000 Chinese fans who attended on the edge of their seats.
The race was won by the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler in a dramatic fashion after victory looked to have been going the way of the No.7 Toyota which crossed the finish line in second place, 15.3 seconds behind the leaders. Third place was enough for the driving crew of the No.2 Audi – Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval – to claim the FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship.
After starting from pole position the No.7 Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid of Nicolas Lapierre led the early laps but eventually ceded the lead to its sister car, the No.8 Toyota of Anthony Davidson. The two Toyotas then held an advantage over the two Audis for the next few hours before fate stepped in and changed the course of the race. The No.8 Toyota retired after four and a half hours of racing after suffering suspension failure.
Despite admitting to having made a wrong tyre choice to start the race, and then suffering from a puncture the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro took the lead ahead of the No.7 Toyota of Alex Wurz and Lapierre. Some great competition between the two marques saw the Toyota leading the race into the final hour but, crucial to the outcome, Alex Wurz had to make a splash-and-dash fuel stop before the end of the six hour event. He took fuel only in an effort to retain the lead but the drop off in tyre performance was such that Treluyer – on fresher tyres and on a charge – was able to get ahead and go on to victory by a 16s margin. Rebellion Racing’s No.12 Lola Toyota was fourth overall at the finish.
In LMP2 G-Drive Racing ORECA 03 Nissan took its third win of the season ahead of the No.24 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan of Pla-Brundle-Heinemeier-Hansson, the class providing a close battle throughout. John Martin, Mike Conway and Roman Rusinov dominated the class despite a delay caused by bodywork damage sustained in the middle of the race. In third place was the No.35 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan of Baguette-Gonzalez-Plowman, this result being good enough to retain their lead in the Drivers and Teams’ Championship points tables over their No.24 OAK Racing team mates.
Erstwhile class points challenger, the No.49 Pecom Racing ORECA 03 Nissan suffered from electrical woes which saw it delayed in the pits for a long time before eventually retiring from the race. The only other retirement from the class was the No.31 Lotus which was due to accident damage after a clash with a slower GTE car.
(Text: FIA WEC / Image: Audi)