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Spa Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from WEC 6H Spa…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

***Saturday’s WEC Six Hours of Spa saw, for the first time in recent history, all of the LMP1 hybrids hitting trouble at one point, with the race-winning No. 8 Audi R18 coming away the least unscathed, having made only one trip to the garage for a rear-deck change and battling telemetry issues.

***The No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid spent nearly one-third of the race in the garage undergoing a front axle ERS change following a series of left-front punctures but managed to finish 26th overall and score crucial manufacturer points.

***Porsche’s No. 2 entry, remarkably, drove nearly the entire race without hybrid power after a systems issue developed in the opening laps. Despite Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas having intermittent hybrid power, they managed to finish 2nd overall and extend their championship lead.

***Both Toyotas dropped out with engine failure, although the No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid completed the final lap entirely on hybrid power to be classified for crucial manufacturer points. Sebastien Buemi’s car then died on the cool-down lap.

***This left Rebellion Racing scoring its second consecutive overall podium finish and the drivers of its No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER: Matheo Tuscher, Dominik Kraihamer and Alexandre Imperatori sitting second in the Drivers’ World Championship heading into next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

***Spa winners Loic Duval, Lucas Di Grassi and Olvier Jarvis are third in the title race, 18 points behind the leading Porsche trio.

***The No. 5 Toyota, however, received a four-lap post-race penalty due to Kazuki Nakajima not meeting the minimum drive time in the race. The decision is subject to appeal from Toyota.

***Additionally, the No. 43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier JS P2 Nissan received a post-race penalty of 23 seconds. The penalty does not change its fourth place class finish in LMP2.

***The victory marked Di Grassi’s first with Audi and in the WEC after 20 starts. Jarvis also earned his maiden WEC victory but it was his second with the LMP1 squad, after taking top honors in the 2013 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

***Porsche holds a 13-point lead over Toyota in the Manufacturers’ World Championship, with Audi in third, a further two points back.

***Three teams are within a single point of each other in the LMP2 title race, with RGR Sport by Morand leading over the No. 31 Tequila Patron ESM crew and Spa class-winning Signatech Alpine squad, who are both tied for second.

***The precise cause of Stefan Muecke’s heavy accident at Eau Rouge, which destroyed his No. 66 Ford GT, was caused by a cut left-rear tire, according to Ford.

***It will be a busy few weeks for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing, as given the severity of the accident, the UK-based team will likely have to build up a new car. They also have a test at Monza planned for later this month, prior to its four-car assault on Le Mans.

***Ford’s U.S.-based crew kicks off a two-day test at the newly resurfaced Watkins Glen on Monday, which will see some of its engineering staff, as well as IMSA team manager Mike O’Gara fly directly to New York from Spa. The team will take part in a pre-Le Mans test at Road America later this month prior to its two cars being air-freighted to France.

***Despite popular belief, open-top LMP2 cars will be allowed to compete next year under the grandfathering rules, according to ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil. Beaumesnil, however, said all current open/closed top LMP2 cars will unlikely have adjustments in performance, which would put them at a disadvantage.

***The new-for-2017 LMP2 regulations call for an increase of up to 150 horsepower over current WEC/ELMS power levels. One LMP2 constructor told Sportscar365 they expect new-spec LMP2 cars to be lapping under 3:30 at Le Mans next year.

***Dempsey Proton Racing, AF Corse and Risi Competizione have all yet to finalize its third drivers for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in GTE-Pro. Wolf Henzler, who was announced in Proton’s GTE-Pro entry for the race, is expected to remain in his season-long KCMG car for the French endurance classic.

***The WEC reported a race day attendance of 56,000 spectators on Saturday. The number is up from the 54,000 fans that turned up for the entire weekend at Spa last year.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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