It was a Ford 1-2 for the majority of the six hours at Silverstone
Toyota wins topsy-turvy 6 Hours of Silverstone
Sunday, 16 April 2017
By Stephen Kilbey / Images by FIA WEC, LAT
The TDS Racing trio of Vaxiviere and fellow Frenchmen Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perrodo may have earned "driver of the day" honors in their first LMP2 race as a trio. Bronze-graded Perrodo in particular impressed, setting times similar to the front-runners during his prototype debut to score a podium.
Just off the podium was the Signatech Alpine A470 of 2016 LMP2 champions Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre, joined by British driver Matt Rao. The car led the class convincingly for the opening half of the race, Lapierre and Menezes holding station up front until Rao’s first stint after the halfway mark. In changeable conditions the Briton couldn’t match the pace of those around him, and faded after the Safety Car went in.
Another team that will leave Silverstone disappointed is G-Drive Racing (pictured), which finished fifth after an issue with its door cost the Russian team valuable time in the pits. It left Alex Lynn, Romain Rusinov and Pierre Thiriet playing catch-up for the majority of the race after starting from pole.
It was GTE Pro which provided the fans with the best door-to-door action of the race. Three of the four manufacturers in the class raced for the win, and led at various points, but it was Ford which would come out on top.
The No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK GT of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Pipo Derani – the 2016 Rolex 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours winner on his debut for the team – took the win despite a persistent issue that forced the team to take an out-of-sync stop. Its passenger-side door kept flying open in the first half, and later at the very end of the race, but it didn’t prevent the trio from fighting back to the lead in the closing stages.
“I can’t believe it, we were out of the sequence,” exclaimed Tincknell after getting out of the car at the end. “When I got in we were at the back, last or second last, but didn’t give up and won. We struck lucky with the Safety Car, which gave us a shot.”
It was a Ford 1-2 for the majority of the six hours, but the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari, and No. 91 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR were in the mix at points; finishing second and third behind the winners. The No. 66 Ford, which had the cleaner run of the two Ganassi-entered cars but couldn’t match the pace of the top three at the end, came home fourth after holding a convincing 21-second lead in the fourth hour.
Behind, the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari was in the wars and finished fifth after a costly collision with the No. 13 Rebellion Oreca, while Aston Martin Racing’s Vantages were nowhere on pace, finishing sixth and seventh. The No. 92 Porsche meanwhile, was the only retirement in the race; the new car’s engine expired in fiery style just after the halfway mark.
GTE Am was just as unpredictable as Pro, with the result decided by a controversial ending.
Signaporean team Clearwater Racing eventually took the win on its WEC debut. Its Ferrari 488 GTE benefitted from a last-lap incident between the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Pedro Lamy and Spirit of Race Ferrari of Miguel Molina while battling for the first place.
The side-to-side collision between the Aston and Ferrari at Stowe allowed Matt Griffin to jump from third to the lead just a few corners from the flag and hand himself and teammates Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun a place on the top step of the podium.
This all came after Griffin had already muscled his way past Lamy in the final hour, running side-by-side down the old pit straight to take the a surprise lead before having to make a splash-and-dash with 15 minutes remaining, dropping him to third.
“On the last lap I was about half a second back [from the lead battling pair] and was planning where I might make a move,” said Griffin. “Then all hell broke loose and I just went for it through the middle full ‘Days of Thunder’ style.
“I came through to finish the lap and asked the guys how long was left to be told that it was the finish and we’d won.”
Lamy limped home second, while the Spirit of Race Ferrari retired, stranded in the gravel. The chaos promoted the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche to third.
The second round of the 2017 FIA WEC season is set to take place on May 6th in Belgium, with the traditional Le Mans 24 Hours "dress rehearsal" at Spa-Francorchamps.
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing: 2017 WEC Opener at Silverstone | FIA World Endurance | Ford Performance
04-16-2017 04:29 PM
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