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FIA WEC

Silverstone Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race WEC notebook from Silverstone…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

***Sunday’s FIA WEC season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone was decided six hours after the checkered flag, following the exclusion of the race-winning No. 7 Audi R18 of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler due to excessive wear on the car’s front skid block.

***Audi has appealed the ruling. However, there’s no word yet when a hearing will be scheduled. Given previous cases, the final outcome of this race may not be settled for weeks, and possibly even months.

***It marked the first post-race exclusion for the overall race-winning car in the 33-race history of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The win would have been Audi’s fourth Tourist Trophy victory in five years.

***The No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER was promoted to third as a result, giving the Anglo-Swiss squad its first WEC overall podium finish since the rain-shortened Fuji round in 2013. That was also the last time a LMP1 Privateer had finished inside the top-three overall.

***Defending World Champion Brendon Hartley has been reprimanded for his incident in the third hour of the race that took his race-leading Porsche 919 Hybrid and Michael Wainwright’s Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR out of the race in spectacular fashion. Stewards reiterated that LMP1 drivers are liable for the way they overtake slower cars, especially GTE entries.

***AF Corse scored a convincing 1-2 finish in GTE-Pro, giving the new Ferrari 488 GTE its first class victory. Even more remarkable, the second-place finishing No. 51 car of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado charged back from a three-minute in-race penalty due to making an engine change after qualifying.

***Bruni was forced to start from the rear of the 33-car grid due to the change, which was made as a precaution after electrical issues tied to the traction control resulted in the Italian driver not setting a time in qualifying.

***Ford Chip Ganassi Racing had a rather lackluster WEC debut of the Ford GT, with the pair of Multimatic-run entries finishing fourth and fifth in the GTE-Pro class. The No. 66 entry of Billy Johnson, Stefan Muecke and Olivier Pla ran third early but like the sister No. 67 Ford, faded significantly in the second half of the race.

“Considering it was the first race with a new car and a new team we had a clean run,” said Raj Nair, executive vice president and chief technical officer, Global Ford Product Development. “We’re very happy that the car ran well mechanically.

“We had a couple of issues; we were caught out on safety car timing and we lost radio with Olivier towards the end of the race, which had an impact on strategy.  This is a great start though and a good stepping stone to the Le Mans 24 Hours.”

***Manor had a challenging WEC debut with its two Oreca 05 Nissans. While the No. 45 car of Richard Bradley, Roberto Merhi and Matt Rao finished sixth in class, the sister No. 44 car retired with persistent powertrain issues. It was the only retirement in the LMP2 class.

***The WEC reported a weekend attendance of 52,000 spectators, which turned out despite the cold weather on Sunday and rain, sleet and slow seen on Saturday. It marked an increase over the 45,000 reported attendance at this event last year.

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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