Porsche continued its dominance in the FIA World Endurance Championship, although with some late-race drama in Saturday’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas.
The No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard scored their second consecutive victory, following trouble for the then-leading sister entry of Romain Dumas.
Dumas appeared to be en route to their first win of the season until his No. 18 car was wheeled to the garage with electrical issues with 33 minutes remaining.
It handed the top spot to Hartley, who cruised to a 1 minute and 6-second win over the No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, following a late charge from fourth to second in the final hour.
Hartley’s Porsche controlled the first half of the day-to-night race, despite Webber overshooting his pit box in the third hour, which cost them nearly 20 seconds.
However, a one-minute stop-and-hold penalty for a pit infringement in the following hour gave the lead to the No. 18 car car until its late dramas.
The runner-up finish for Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler saw the Audi trio maintain their lead in the Drivers’ World Championship, while the No. 8 Audi, which gave way to title-leading entry, completed the podium in third.
Kazuki Nakajima drove the No. 1 Toyota TS040 Hybrid to fourth, after a drama-filled day that included an off for Anthony Davidson and penalty for dangerous driving at pit exit.
It wasn’t nearly as bad for the No. 2 Toyota, however, which retired just after nightfall following a crash by Mike Conway.
Dumas, meanwhile, returned to the track with less than 10 minutes to take the checkered flag, and crucial championship points for he and co-drivers Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.
Troubles for both of the Rebellion R-One AERs meant that the ByKolles CLM P1/01 AER collected its second consecutive class victory in LMP1 Privateer.
Pierre Kaffer and Simon Trummer took the Austrian entry to an 8th place overall finish.
G-Drive Racing scored its second class victory of the season, following a race-long battle with KCMG in LMP2.
Sam Bird pedaled the No. 26 Ligier JS P2 Nissan to a 1 minute and 21-second win over the No. 47 Oreca 05 Nissan driven by Nicolas Lapierre, who was forced to serve a stop-and-go penalty in the closing minutes.
The pit infringement penalty didn’t matter, though, as Bird held the lead through the final hour, claiming he and co-drivers Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal’s first class victory since the Silverstone season-opener.
Lapierre, Richard Bradley and Matt Howson finished second, having charged to the lead in the opening hour after starting from the rear of the 31-car field.
The No. 28 G-Drive entry of Gustavo Yacaman, Pipo Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez completed the class podium in third.
A last-lap pass by Ryan Dalziel gave Tequila Patron ESM a fourth place class result on home soil, after battling brake issues with its No. 30 Ligier JS P2 Honda.
RESULTS: Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas