***With their dominant win in Sunday’s Six Hours of Mexico, Porsche’s Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber have extended their lead in the Drivers’ World Championship to 41 points over the Toyota Gazoo Racing trio of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.
***Bernhard, who along with Hartley become the most successful LMP1 driver pairing in the WEC, is keeping a realistic view of their championship prospects. “There’s still four more races to go and there’s 100 points to get,” he said. “The championship is far from over and for sure the competition from Toyota will keep pushing. It’s far from over.”
***The only issue for the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid in the race was a faulty fuel flow sensor, which was replaced during a routine stop in the third hour. Bamber said it cost them between 10-12 seconds at the most.
***The No. 1 Porsche, which challenged Hartley early, faded in the second hour after Andre Lotterer was forced to serve a drive-through penalty for a pit lane speeding infringement from Nick Tandy. The Englishman lost the car’s best time in Free Practice 3 due to the same issue. “I had to press the pit speed button three times on the way onto pit entry,” Tandy said. “In the end it wouldn’t have changed the result.”
***Toyota was again unable to challenge, with Davidson saying their third place run was the “maximum we could do” given their struggles. “We clearly didn’t have the same grip level as them through the tight stuff,” he said. “I personally struggled with the balance of the car.”
***The Japanese manufacturer now trails Porsche by 56.5 points in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, with four races to go, making their title charge an unlikely prospect unless Porsche hits trouble.
***Bruno Senna credits his impressive opening stint for helping deliver Vaillante Rebellion’s first LMP2 class victory. The Brazilian bridged out a 30 plus-second gap over Nico Lapierre, in a strategic move. “I knew we were waiting for the rain, so I was going to single-stint and qualify every lap I could,” he said. “We managed to open up a gap much bigger than I would have expected. That really gave us the race.”
***It marked back-to-back LMP2 class wins in Mexico for Senna, who claimed victory with RGR Sport last year. “I have 100 percent wins and 100 percent spins,” he joked, in reference to having suffered late-race spins in both races.
***Senna and Julien Canal have reduced their 46-point deficit in the LMP2 title race to just 23 points, thanks to clutch issues for the class championship-leading No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson of Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent, who finished 9th in class in their first non-podium result of the season.
***A fourth place finish in GTE-Pro for Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell sees the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing pairing maintain an eight-point lead in the GT Drivers’ World Championship. Having entered Mexico in a dead heat with Ford, Ferrari, meanwhile, takes over the lead of the GT Manufacturers’ World Championship, nine points ahead of the Blue Oval.
***The biggest incident in the race came in the third hour when the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of James Calado and Olivier Pla’s No. 66 Ford GT made contact, resulting in a left-rear puncture for the Ferrari and suspension damage for Pla, who lost three laps in the garage undergoing repairs.
***Pla also had to serve two drive-through penalties, one for rejoining in an unsafe manor and causing a collision and another for crossing the pit lane entry. The No. 66 Ford finished 7th in class, and like the eventual second place class-finishing No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari, was handed a 10-second time penalty for not reducing to the 80 km/h Full Course Yellow speed within the required time.
***The No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra was the only retirement in the race, after suffering brake issues in the opening hour. The car completed only 83 laps.
***Dunlop scored class wins in LMP2, GTE-Pro and GTE-Am, including a sweep of the GTE-Am class podium, the first time the tire manufacturer has achieved such a feat since the launch of the WEC in 2012.
***Alpine has yet to decide on its future in the WEC, with the French manufacturer weighing options in LMP1 and LMP2, or potentially not returning at all next year. “We must take the time to study the options before making a decision,” Alpine Deputy General Manager Bernard Ollivier told Endurance-Info. “We suggested the basic principle of DPi but we have not been heard.”
***Fernando Alonso made some intriguing remarks following Sunday’s F1 Italian Grand Prix, hinting again towards a future in sports car racing. “I’ll keep looking at what options are there for next year. Maybe, I think in the next coming weeks [there will be] some news will be out for McLaren. Some news that we saw yesterday for LMP1 category for the WEC. Some news also for IndyCar with Andretti keeping Honda as a supplier… Many news are coming in the next weeks and hopefully all of them will be useful for me to make a decision.”