Toyota has claimed its first 1-2 finish as this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship season got underway, although most eyes were focused on the sports car comeback of former F1 driver Mark Webber and the iconic Porsche brand.

The Australian and his co-drivers, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, guided the #20 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer to a third-placed finish at yesterday’s rain-shortened 6 Hours of Silverstone.

Victory was claimed by the #8 Toyota of Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Nicholas Lapierre, who had a one-lap margin over the sister #7 TS040 of polesitters Alexander Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima and Stéphane Sarrazin when the red flags were brought out with a little over 30 minutes to go after a sudden downpour.

A well-timed switch to intermediate tyres gave the #7 Toyota victory over its sister car

A well-timed switch to intermediate tyres gave the #7 Toyota victory over its sister car

Webber and his teammates’ Porsche took a fine third from sixth on the grid, two laps behind the winning Toyota. The sister #19 Porsche piloted by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas, failed to finish. The car suffered an hydraulics problem shortly after a lengthy pit stop to repair damaged suspension.

By far the biggest surprise came from reigning champions Audi, whose pair of R18 racers were in the wars. The team’s new boy, Lucas di Grassi, crashed the #1 car at Woodcote less than 25 laps into the race. André Lotterer spun the #2 Audi at Stowe, handing it over to co-driver Benoît Tréluyer, who finished off the job when he lost it at Copse and slapped the barrier.

The OAK G-Drive Racing Morgan Nissan of Olivier Pla, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal came out on top in the LMP2 class, thirteen laps down on the winning Toyota.

Seven laps further adrift was the winning GTE-Pro class winners, the Manthey Porsche 911 RSR driven by Marco Holzer, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki, which narrowly beat its sister car of Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Pilet and Nick Tandy.

The GTE-Am class victory went to the all-Danish line-up of Kristian Poulsen, Nicki Thiim and David Heinemeier Hansson, who piloted the #95 works Aston Martin Vantage. They led home the sister Vantage driven by Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Christoffer Nygaard.

The series’ next round is the 6 Heures de Spa-Francorchamps, which takes place in two weeks’ time.

2014 FIA WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone – Race Classification (167 laps):

Driver Team Result Class
1. Davidson / Lapierre / Buemi Toyota Racing TS040 Hybrid 5:22:42.296 LMP1-H
2. Wurz / Sarrazin / Nakajima Toyota Racing TS040 Hybrid + 1 lap LMP1-H
3. Bernhard / Webber / Hartley Porsche Team 919 Hybrid + 2 laps LMP1-H
4. Prost / Heidfeld / Beche Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota + 8 laps LMP1-L
5. Rusinov / Pla / Canal G-Drive Racing Morgan Nissan + 13 laps LMP2
6. Howson / Bradley / Matsuda KCMG ORECA Nissan + 15 laps LMP2
7. Holzer / Makowiecki / Lietz Manthey Porsche 911 RSR + 20 laps GTE P
8. Pilet / Bergmeister / Tandy Manthey Porsche 911 RSR + 20 laps GTE P
9. Turner / Mücke Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE + 20 laps GTE P
10. Bruni / Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 + 20 laps GTE P
11. Rigon / Calado AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 + 21 laps GTE P
12. Griffin / Parente Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 + 21 laps GTE P
13. Zlobin / Minassian / Mediani SMP Racing ORECA Nissan + 22 laps LMP2
14. MacDowall / O’Young / Rees Bamboo Aston Martin Vantage GTE + 23 laps GTE P
15. Poulsen / Hansson / Thiim Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE + 23 laps GTE A
16. Dalla Lana / Lamy / Nygaard Aston Martin Racing vantage GTE + 23 laps GTE A
17. Wyatt / Rugolo / Bird AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 + 24 laps GTE A
18. Ried / Bachler / Al Qubaisi Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR + 25 laps GTE A
19. Mowlem / Patterson / Collins Ram Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 + 26 laps GTE A
20. Companc / Cioci / Venturi AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 + 26 laps GTE A
Not Classified
DNF. Potolicchio / Roda / Ruberti 8Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 118 laps GTE A
DNF. Fässler / Lotterer / Tréluyer Audi Sport R18 e-tron Quattro 94 laps LMP1-H
DNF. Perrodo / Collard / Vaxivière Prospeed Competition Porsche 911 RSR 83 laps GTE A
DNF. Ladygin / Shaitar / Ladygin SMP Racing ORECA Nissan 65 laps LMP2
DNF. Dumas / Jani / Lieb Porsche Team 919 Hybrid 30 laps LMP1-H
DNF. Kraihamer / Belicchi / Leimer Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota 24 laps LMP1-L
DNF. Di Grassi / Duval / Kristensen Audi Sport R18 e-tron Quattro 24 laps LMP1-H

Images via FIA WTCC Media

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Geoff Burke

Journalist at MotorsportM8
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