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BERNHARD: Shanghai Debrief

Timo Bernhard files his latest Sportscar365 column following his fourth straight win…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

After the race in Fuji our situation coming to Shanghai had changed. Whilst we’d previously been hunting Audi, they were now chasing us for the championship.

Regardless of the points situation we were solely focussed on our preparation for the race.

2014 was my first time at the track in Shanghai and although we qualified well we had issues during the race but I very much enjoyed driving it so I was looking forward to returning.

The main feature of the circuit is turn one – it’s a very challenging corner that just seems to go on and on, you have to be careful how you take it but it can lead to close racing around it.

After the practice sessions we could see how much the 919 Hybrid had advanced since last year. The driveability and balance had improved and you could feel it in how the car handled.

I ran some long runs which showed how efficient we could run while Mark and Brendon did shorter quick runs which showed our pace.

Mark and Brendon were on duty for qualifying and they did a great job to put us on pole and in a good position in our battle with Audi who were close behind.

Brendon started the race on Sunday in the wet behind the safety car. Our sister car had an incident with Lotterer in the No. 7 Audi in the opening laps and dropped right to the back, but they made a great recovery and worked their way back up to the front.

I took over from Brendon after 52 laps and came out the pits near the number 8 Audi who was now leading the race.

The track was still wet and I had to familiarize myself with the conditions as I hadn’t done any running in the wet before. We were all so close on track and I enjoyed battling with the Audis and Neel.

Towards the end of my stint I was the faster car and changed positions with Neel in the sister car for first.

The track had dried a lot and it was time for slick intermediate tires and Mark took over the car. The Audis then changed to slicks and were lapping so much quicker, Mark came in for slicks and then bought the car home in first place with the sister car finishing second.

An incredible day for us and for Porsche to secure the Manufacturer’s Championship in only our second year.

It’s an incredible achievement for the team as everyone has worked so hard.

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