It was a bittersweet end to Porsche’s return season in the World Endurance Championship’s top tier category. The German marque finally broke through to claim its first outright win at the season-ending 6 Hours of São Paulo, but there were concerns for former F1 driver Mark Webber, who was involved in a massive accident in the latter stages of the race.
Driving the team’s #20 919 Hybrid LMP1 a year on from farewelling his Grand Prix career at the same venue, Webber collided with the #90 GT Ferrari 458 Italia being driven by Matteo Cressoni on the approach to the start/finish straight.
The Australian – who helped the entry claim pole position and a front-row lockout at the Brazilian circuit – was sent spearing backwards into the pit entry barriers, which split his Porsche in two and triggered a fire at the rear of its survival cell, where Webber was trapped.
Marshals were quickly on the scene to douse the fire and extract the former Red Bull Racing driver, who was stretchered away for check-ups at the circuit’s Medical Centre. He was confirmed to be awake and alert, waving his hands and giving a ‘thumb up’ to the crowd as they loaded him into the ambulance. Cressoni was other uninjured, although winded in the accident.
The initial cause of the accident is not yet known, with the only available replay we have at the moment showing the aftermath of the accident:
Nonetheless, Porsche’s sister #14 entry driven by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb managed to survive the race unscathed, with the Webber-Cressoni accident triggering a 25-minute Safety Car period that took the race to the chequered flag.
Second place went to the #8 Toyota piloted by newly-crowned WEC champions Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi, while the podium was completed by the #1 Audi of Lucas di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Tom Kristensen, who announced his retirement from racing.
Image via XPB Images