Porsche managed to defend their manufacturer championship title at the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Franchorchamp, in Belgium despite all technical problems. Despite a problem with the hybrid system, the trio of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finished second with their Porsche 919 Hybrid and extended their lead in the drivers’ championship.
Under much warmer conditions than expected with track temperatures up to 50 degrees celsius, 56.000 spectators watched that nerve-wracking motorsport spectacle with excitement. The car 1 with Timo Bernhardt, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber started from the pole position and took the lead until various technical problems showed up. However, after two punctures the car spent more than one-and-a-half hours of the six-hour race in the garage. Brendon Hartley rejoined the race after that but the chances of a placement were already destroyed. In the end, it came 5th in the LMP1 category for hybrid cars.
Also car number 2 had technical problems. After almost six laps Mark Lieb reported a problem with the hybrid system. Car number 2 could not use the full electric power for the remaining race distance. Despite the reduced power Dumas/Jani/Lieb were driving in the fifth hour in third position because Audi and Toyota had problems with one car each. Shortly before the end of the race the leading Toyota had technical issues and Porsche managed to finished the race in position 2.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “The opening round at Silverstone wasn’t easy but here in Spa it was even more difficult, although we were starting from the front row with both cars. Having achieved a second place finish despite the technical problems early in the race on the number 2 car proves again: giving up is never an option in endurance racing. Car number 1 was very unlucky in the race. In the world of theatre-people they say a bad dress rehearsal is a happy omen for the premiere. This is how we consider our race day in Spa now with regards to Le Mans. We will not leave a stone unturned and painstaking prepare for the 24 Hours.”