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Porsche Falters After Tandy Contact with Two Hours to Go

A crash between Nick Tandy and a GTE backmarker leave Porsche’s hopes of a swansong victory hanging by a thread…

Porsche’s hopes of signing off from the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship took a heavy blow when its leading No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid collided with a GTE-Am car with two hours remaining in Bahrain.

After trailing the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid by around 30 seconds before the fourth round of pit stops, Porsche looked to roll the dice and give Tandy track position by doing a fuel-only stop, triple-stinting the Briton in a bid to move ahead of Toyota.

After the lead Toyota was given a full service with Kazuki Nakajima handing the car over to Anthony Davidson, Tandy was able to move into the lead with a buffer of around two seconds.

Davidson closed up quickly on fresher tires, but struggled to make a move stick, sitting directly behind Tandy as the pair drew close to lap the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

Tandy attempted to pass the Porsche heading into Turn 1, only for the two cars to make contact, leaving both with damage.

Davidson was able to dodge the drama and slip through to stay in the lead, while Tandy was forced to limp back to the pits with damage to the front-end of his car.

“In the end we had some contact with another car at Turn 1. He was out really wide and I just assumed he was giving me the space,” Tandy explained.

“But clearly there was a misunderstanding and we made contact on the apex, and we both ended up with punctures. It set us back.

“We knew we had to do everything possible to take the fight to Toyota today. It’s a tough one to take.”

Porsche brought the car back to the pits and was able to quickly replace the punctured front-right tire, with Andre Lotterer taking over and losing no more time than in a regular full-service stop.

Nevertheless, with Lotterer now one lap down on Davidson at the front and the sister No. 2 Porsche over a minute back from Davidson, the German marque’s hopes of a swansong victory in LMP1 look to be fading.

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

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