Hartley, Bamber and Bernhard Win WEC and secure Manufacturers Title for Porsche
It could have been more emphatic on the day but, in respect to the season, it was never really in any doubt.
Porsche needed one of their cars to take second in Shanghai to take the championship but, five hours into the race, it was looking as though Toyota had done enough to make them wait.
Controlling the race in a 1 – 2 formation until this point, the lead Toyota, #7 with Pechito at the wheel, made contact with the #91 Porsche GT car, resulting in a lengthy pitstop and an eventual fourth place finish. This brought a full stop to the 2017 Championship, as the #2 Porsche got right to where they needed to be to take the crown and the sister Porsche rounded off the podium places, for additional cause to celebrate.
The #8 car of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima took Toyota’s fourth win of the year and with one race to go, they will be aiming for the win in Bahrain to take the consolation prize of most wins during the season.
The second placed finish for the #2 Porsche meant that Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley comfortably took the drivers’ championship in Shanghai too, rounding off a spectacular season that also seen them claim an unlikely victory at the most unpredictable Le Mans in recent memory. Not to mention the fact that Hartley is the first person to win a title in the premier sports car series whilst being a driver in the premier single seat series – not bad at all!
All this means that the pressure is off for the final race of the season, a race that will see Porsche conclude their participation in the World Endurance Championship, going out very much on a high.
The championship is still very much alive in the LMP2 class though, with the #31 Rebellion of Bruno Senna, Nico Prost and Julien Canal taking the win.
With the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing managing only fourth after a somewhat mottled outing, the lead of the championship has transferred to the Rebellion squad and there are just four points in it!
The #36 Alpine Racing of Nicholas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Gustavo Menezes came home in second place with the Nelson Piquet Jnr, Mathais Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson taking third in the sister Rebellion making it a double podium for the Swiss outfit.
In the GTE class, another title was wrapped up as Ferrari’s third place for James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi and sixth place for Sam Bird and Davide Rigon earned them the manufacturer’s championship. But it was win number two of the season for #67 Ford of Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx.
There was an entertaining, race long spat between the winning Ford and the #91 Porsche of Frederic Makowiecki who found themselves fighting for the victory as the #92 car had to retire with engine problems. With the lead changing hands around the halfway point, it was hotly contested thereafter and it wasn’t until the closing stages that the pressure on the eventual winners subsided, with an 11 second gap forming by the flag.
After a disappointing race in the Pro class for Aston Martin, the #98 car driven by Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda took their third victory of the season in the Am class, giving them a 10 point lead in the Championship over the #77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche. This also gave AMR their 50th win in the Championship.
Here are the highlights and full classification from the race
The final race of the season will run under the lights in Bahrain on the 18th of November.