Porsche Closes On Title After Another Swap
Autosport|September 21,2017

Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy were the moral victors, but had to hand the lead over to their team-mates. Again.

Gary Watkins

Porsche was kept honest by Toyota in Austin. But not quite honest enough to prevent the German manufacturer being able to invoke team orders once again to reverse the positions of its two 919 Hybrids during the closing moments of last weekend’s US round of the World Endurance Championship.

That meant Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber swept through to take a fourth consecutive WEC victory as they continued their seemingly inexorable advance to the drivers’ title. This time, though, they were definitely in the shadow of team-mates Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy. There was no doubt who the moral winners were at the Circuit of the Americas.

Porsche realigned the cars’ order out on the track this time, not in the pits as at the Nurburgring in July. The #1 Porsche actually had to move over twice for the sister car. First, Tandy yielded to Bamber after he emerged from the pits following the penultimate round of stops with the #2 car right on his tail.

A shorter stop when the two Porsches came in for a final long splash put Tandy back ahead. While the threat from the best of the Toyotas was still real – although very much fading – he pushed on into a 10-second lead before backing off and moving aside for his team-mate with eight minutes to go.

It was pretty much plain sailing for the drivers of the #1 car before those fateful calls came from the pitwall. The biggest dramas came when Lotterer got involved in a dramatic scrap with Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID during the second hour as he battled his way past on fresher rubber, and then again when he was tagged by Kamui Kobayashi, who was a lap down in the same car, later in the race.

“Congratulations to the #1 car – they drove a great race and would have deserved victory,” said Bamber. “And Toyota kept us on our toes too.”

Jani reckoned he had a blast out on track in Austin, even if he and his team-mates were always expecting a radio message sometime late in the race. “We knew that would be the policy,” he said. “Hopefully they can sew up the championship quickly, so we can race for the final minutes as well as the rest of the six hours. It was a fun race, because we really were fighting.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM AUTOSPORTView All

The Shock Of The New

If the spectacle of Lewis Hamilton carving his way to the world title seems familiar, much is changing off-track in the new Liberty era.

4 mins read
Autosport
October 26,2017

Dovizioso's Wet Win Keeps Thrilling Title Race Alive

JUST WHEN IT SEEMED MARC MARQUEZ was on the brink of securing MotoGP title number four, Andrea Dovizioso scored a sixth race win of the season to ensure that this most unpredictable of championship campaigns goes down to the last race.

4 mins read
Autosport
November 02,2017

Where Now For The Williams Revival?

Williams leaped to near the front of the field the last time F1’s regulations changed in 2014, but has slowly slipped back since then. The team needs to repeat the trick

9 mins read
Autosport
February 23,2017

Renault's Real First Year Back

After 2016’s ‘year zero’, this will be the season where Renault finally starts working its way towards the front. But there’s a long way to go.

7 mins read
Autosport
February 23,2017

Buemi Completes Hat-trick With His Best Win

Three wins from three rounds, and the championship leader appears stronger than ever. But his rivals look set to make his life much harder.

7 mins read
Autosport
February 23,2017

Porsche Closes On Title After Another Swap

Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy were the moral victors, but had to hand the lead over to their team-mates. Again.

6 mins read
Autosport
September 21,2017

Turkington's Missed Chance As Sutton Digs Deep

An unexpected twist of fortunes ensured points leader Sutton held his advantage.

7 mins read
Autosport
September 21,2017

Frijns And Leonard Defy Finale Chaos

THE BLANCPAIN SPRINT CUP FINALE WAS so frenetic and dramatic that two unexpected title contenders – of the 13 drivers who entered the weekend with a shot at the championship – didn’t even realise they were fighting for the crown when the crucial pass was made.

2 mins read
Autosport
September 21,2017

Prodrive Pair Peerless

TWO NEW NAMES WERE ADDED TO THE list of Supercars race winners at Sandown, as Cam Waters and Richie Stanaway combined to take their maiden main game victories.

2 mins read
Autosport
September 21,2017

Nigel Roebuck

The good and the bad of Bernie

10+ mins read
Autosport
February 02,2017