The N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid/Michelin of Conway/Kobayashi/Lopez and the N°8 sister car of Buemi/Alonso/Nakajima collected another one-two finish for the Japanese make in the FIA WEC as torrential rain greeted teams to Shanghai, China. Michelin scored its 50th LM GTE Pro class victory in the championship with the N°95 Aston Martin (Sorensen/Thiim).
Just hours after wrapping up the FIA World Rally Championship Manufacturers’ title in Australia with Michelin, Toyota Gazoo Racing/Michelin celebrated more one-two glory in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the 6 Hours of Shanghai. The race was marred by extremely wet conditions which prompted two red-flag interruptions and seven safety-car appearances.
In a repeat of last month’s trip to Fuji, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose-Maria Lopez (N°7) were first past the flag to claim their second victory in a row, 1.419 seconds clear of team-mates Buemi/Alonso/Nakajima.
Third place went to SMP Racing’s N°11 BR1/Michelin (Aleshin/Petrov/Button) after a ferocious late scrap with the N°1 Rebellion/Michelin. It was the Russian team’s first podium finish of the season if you don’t include the third place it inherited at Silverstone after Toyota’s disqualification. The N°1 and N°3 Rebellions rounded out the afternoon’s top five.
In LM GTE Pro, the pole-winning N°66 Ford GT/Michelin was eliminated from the fight by a collision. As in Japan, the Aston Martin Vantages proved competitive in the wet, aided by their Michelin rain tyres. In addition to ending up seventh overall, Marco Sorensen and Nicky Thiim (N°95 Aston Martin) revelled in the weather to earn Michelin’s 50
The race’s final half-hour saw the N°91 (2
Porsche/Michelin locked out the LM GTE Am podium with Ried/Andlauer/Campbell (N°77), Bergmeister/Lindsey/Perfetti (N°56) and Al Qbaisy/Pera/Cairoli (N°88).
Despite the treacherous conditions, Michelin also topped the LM P2 order for some time with the N°31 Oreca of Gonzalez/Maldonado/Davidson. The DragonSpeed crew had to settle for second place at the chequered flag, however, behind Jackie Chan Racing’s similar N°38 prototype. The Michelin-equipped N°50 Larbre Compétition car finished in the class’s top six.
The next round of the 2018/2019 FIA World Endurance Championship will take teams to Sebring, Florida, USA, on March 13-15, 2019.