WEC Hypercar podium lockout for Porsche in the Qatar 1812km

WEC Hypercar podium lockout for Porsche in the Qatar 1812km

Kévin Estre took the chequered flag in the Qatar 1812km to secure Porsche 963's maiden FIA World Endurance Championship victory, with the German manufacturer completing a 1-2-3 as second-placed Peugeot faltered in the closing stages of the 10-hour season-opening race


Porsche Penske Motorsport trio of Estre and team-mates André Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor celebrated victory after leading for the majority of the race, however Estre survived a late scare in the closing stages of the race. A contact with the #67 Akkodis ASP Lexus RC F damaged the sidepod (along with the luminescent number panel and leader lights module), on his 963, triggering repairs with just 15 minutes of the race remaining.


#93 Peugeot 9X8 of Nico Muller, Jean-Éric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen was enjoying a strong run and was well-placed to take second place (what would have been the French manufacturer’s best-ever Hypercar class result) until a late issue for Vergne caused the car to stop as it began the final lap. The Frenchman's car eventually went on to limp over the finish line to take points for seventh place.


While the top two positions remained largely static in the final quarter of the race, the #12 Hertz Team JOTA (Will Stevens, Callum Ilott, Norman Nato) and the #5 Porsche Penske entry (Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Frederic Makowiecki) were in contention for the final step of the podium.


After Vergne’s problems, the #12 car took second position, while Campbell brought the second Porsche Penske Motorsport machine home in third place to make it an all-Porsche podium.


The sole Cadillac Racing entry completed an epic fightback from the early race contacts and a penalty to end up fourth with Sebastien Bourdais, Alex Lynn and Earl Bamber sharing the driving duties. #83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P, making its debut with Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye went on to finish fifth.


Manthey PureRxcing scored a brilliantly judged victory with the #92 Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Aliaksandr Malykhin, Joel Sturm and Klaus Bachler following a race-long battle with the #27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage of Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas.


In an intense finish, the #92 entry took the chequered flag just 4.9s ahead of its closest opponents to clinch WEC’s maiden victory for a Lithuanian-flagged team. At the same time, Porsche became the first manufacturer to win in every GT class that has been part of WEC since the series’ inception in 2012.


#46 WRT BMW M4 GT3 entry of Valentino Rossi, Maxime Martin and Ahmad Al Harthy rounded out the podium.

For round two of the season, WEC moves to Europe for its first-ever race at Imola Circuit scheduled for 21 April.

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