Porsche has claimed a dominant victory in Sunday’s Six Hours of Mexico, in another 1-2 finish for the German manufacturer and third consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship win for Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber.
Bernhard took the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid to a 7.141-second margin over the sister No. 1 entry, taken to the finish by reigning World Champion Neel Jani.
The trio controlled the race from the start, with Hartley stretching out to an early lead over teammate Nick Tandy, who lost time in the second hour due to a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.
The No. 2 Porsche also had some slight drama when one of the car’s FIA-mandated fuel flow sensors was replaced during a routine stop for Bamber, although only losing between 10-12 seconds.
Both cars came in for late-race splashes of fuel in the final 10 minutes, under threatening skies.
Bernhard, Hartley and Bamber’s win extended their lead in the World Drivers’ Championship over Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, which came home third.
Both of the Toyota TS050 Hybrids were again unable to match the pace of the Porsches, with the Japanese manufacturer’s two entries falling a lap behind.
The No. 7 Toyota, which ran third most of the race, came home fourth overall and in the LMP1 class.
Vaillante Rebellion claimed its first LMP2 victory in WEC competition, with Bruno Senna taking the class win, despite a late-race spin.
The Brazilian pedaled the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson to a 26.091-second margin over the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson of Nico Lapierre, who benefited by a spin by a hard-charging Ben Hanley in the closing stages.
Hanley, who took the class lead courtesy of a fuel-only stop with 90 minutes to go, lost the top spot to Senna following the final round of stops, which saw the Manor car take full service and fuel-only for the Rebellion entry.
Senna shared the class-winning Oreca with Nico Prost and Julien Canal.
Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Andre Negrao, in his first race in the No. 36 Alpine, were second, with Hanley, Jean-Eric Vergne and Matt Rao giving Manor its first class podium finish in more than a year in third.
Menezes had a spirited battle with Roman Rusinov in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca in the third hour, which saw the American drive off-course no fewer than four times in the span of one lap before being forced to relinquish the position to the Russian.
It was a race to forget for the LMP2 championship-leading No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, which suffered clutch issues in the second hour.
Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent came home 9th in class, losing half of its class lead to the race-winning Rebellion trio.
RESULTS: 6H Mexico