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Shanghai Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from last weekend’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Shanghai…

Photo: DPPI/Michelin

***Porsche locked up both LMP1 World Championships on Sunday for the third consecutive year. All three of its manufacturers’ titles were clinched in Shanghai, in the penultimate rounds of each season dating back to 2015.

***The No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of newly crowned Drivers’ World Champions Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber remarkably completed the race on only three sets of Michelin tires, after Bamber flat-spotted a set in qualifying. Teams were limited to four sets, plus two joker tires, for qualifying and the race, as has been the case for all six-hour races this year.

***A throttle sensor issue resulted in an 1 minute-plus delay for the No. 1 Porsche of Nick Tandy in the opening hour, when the car nearly ground to a halt on track. “Full throttle was OK but coming off throttle, we were sometimes getting more power than requested through the corner and the middle of the corner,” Tandy said. “It took a while to figure out what exactly was happening. We managed to reset some things and get the car going again.”

***Tandy and co-drivers Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer have still yet to win a race this year, with next weekend’s season finale in Bahrain to be Lotterer’s final chance to claim what would be a first, and only victory in a Porsche 919 Hybrid.

***Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl admitted they were no match for Toyota, likely due to the cooler temperatures on Sunday, which saw a high of 62 degrees Fahrenheit. “Whenever it gets a bit colder, I think Toyota has an advantage. When the temperatures go up, I think we have the edge. It was a bit like this also today,” he said.

***Jose Maria Lopez took responsibility for the late-race accident with Richard Lietz’s No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR, which sent the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid into the garage from the lead and gave Porsche enough points to lock up the LMP1 Manufacturers’ World Championship.

***It marked the second incident of the race for the Argentinean, who spun after contact with the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson of Nico Mueller in the opening hour. Lopez received a ten-second post-race time penalty for the contact with the Porsche.

***Lietz, who was running second in GTE-Pro at the time, likely lost out on the class win as a result of the contact, as the Austrian was forced to take right-side tires on his final stop due to a suspected slow puncture. He finished 11 seconds behind the class-winning No. 67 Ford GT of Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx.

***Tincknell said it was their plan to take four tires on the final stop, despite the late-race drama for Lietz, which gave the No. 67 Ford a larger cushion. “Having driven those tires in the end, that was definitely the correct call,” he told Sportscar365. “I was really struggling, especially with traction, when he was behind me.”

***Contact with the No. 24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing Oreca of Ben Hanley and Mueller’s G-Drive entry ultimately denied the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car a podium finish in LMP2, dropping them to second in the title race. Both the Manor and G-Drive cars received penalties for the separate incidents with Ho-Pin Tung.

***Tung and co-drivers Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent now trail the Vaillante Rebellion’s Bruno Senna and Julien Canal by four points.

***The GTE-Pro title race, however, is the tightest heading into Bahrain, with the AF Corse duo of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi leading by just two points over Porsche’s Lietz and Fred Makowiecki and Shanghai class winners Tincknell and Priaulx rebounding to third, 7.5 points behind.

***With a seven-point spread between first and second place points, the Ferrari or Porsche pairing can claim the inaugural GT Drivers’s World Championship by winning the race, or Ford’s Tincknell and Priaulx scoring pole and winning, no matter where their rival finish.

***Ferrari clinched the GT Manufacturers’ World Championship on Sunday, courtesy of the retirement from the No. 92 Porsche, which dropped out with engine failure in the third hour. It marked the Prancing Horse’s fifth manufacturer’s title in the six years of the WEC.

***Aston Martin Racing scored its 50th victory as a team, dating back to its inception in 2014. As a result, Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana Mathias Lauda have bridged out to a ten-point lead in GTE-Am, over Dempsey Proton Racing’s Matteo Cairoli, Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst.

***There was drama for eventual race winner Anthony Davidson while under the race’s one-and-only Full Course Yellow, when a bee found its way into the cockpit while during a pit stop. “I could see a big bee inside the cockpit, just walking around. What do you do? Luckily we were under Full Course Yellow. So I opened the door quickly around Turn 1 and the pressure just sucked it straight out.”

***Outgoing Ford Performance Global Director Dave Pericak, as well as his replacement in a newly created motorsports-only position, Mark Rushbrook, were on site this weekend. Rushbrook takes his new position on Dec. 1, with Pericak having been promoted to a new major role in product development for Ford North America.

***Jackie Chan made a surprise appearance on Sunday, with the Hollywood actor and martial arts star, who co-owns the Jackie Chan DC Racing team, serving as Grand Marshal for the second consecutive year in the event.

***The Six Hours of Shanghai saw a reported weekend attendance of 58,000 spectators. 

***Head pit lane official Alain Tannier took part in his final regular WEC race last weekend (pictured below). Tannier, known to the paddock as “The Sheriff”, plans to still work the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as well as Asian Le Mans Series races this winter.

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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