With a crowd of 53,200 strong at the Fuji Speedway, the 6 Hours of Fuji was an absolutely gripping race from start to finish. After a spine chilling rendition of the national anthem, the #8 Audi controlled the start beautifully and lead into the first corner.
With the LMP1 Hybrid Audi #8 setting fastest lap after fastest lap, the same could not be said for the sister car #7 which, 25 minutes in, suffered a hybrid issue which was deemed by Dr Ulrich as ‘not repairable’. The men and women from Team Joest set about removing part of the front axel to enable the car to run and some 80 minutes later the #7 returned to the track to collect as many Championship points as possible. However, the car was later withdrawn after officials deemed it not ‘legal’ and would therefore not be awarded any points.
But it was the #6 Toyota Gazoo Racing of Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway that took the all important chequered flag with a mere 1.439 seconds separating them from the #8 Audi Sport Team Joest of Loic Duval, Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis. And 15 seconds behind them taking the final podium position was the Porsche Team of current champions Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendan Hartley. It was a first win for the Toyota TS 050 HYBRID designed car and saw the drivers move to second in the championship.
The LMP1 2016 title was wrapped up today as Rebellion Racing won the privateer class.
In the first completely ‘green’ WEC race since Spa 2015, LMP2 was just as electrifying as the LMP1 Hybrid battle. An immense duel between the G-Drive Racing Oreca of Will Stevens and Bruno Senna’s RGR Sport Ligier saw the pair swapping positions, with officials deciding at one stage that Stevens should relinquish the position to the RGR, only for Stevens to take the position back again with 5 minutes to go and give the team their first class victory this season. The #36 Signatech Alpine finish third.
LMTGE Pro saw the Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK take their maiden win with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell finishing 15 seconds ahead of the sister car making it a 1-2 for the Ford GTs. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Bruni and Calado completed the podium.
Dominating the LMGTE Am field was the Aston Martin Racing #98 of Paul Dalla Lana, Mathias Lauda and Pedro Lamy with a 2 lap lead over the Perrodo, Collard and Aguas AF Corse Ferrari. KCMG #78 Porsche 911 RSR claimed the third spot.
Oh Shanghai you are most definitely in for a treat!
6th November is the all important date for your diary!
All photos courtesy of fiawec.com