Mark Webber does the Nurburgring well, and the Nurburgring apparently likes him. The site of the Australian’s first Formula 1 Victory six years ago became the scene of his first WEC victory too, as the #17 Porsche capitalised on the mistake of their garage-mates to claim an important win.
While the #18 Porsche, which started from pole, enjoyed a great start to the race, a fuel sensor failure resulted in three separate five-second stop-and-go penalties for the team of Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas. It only took the first penalty for the Porsche of Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard to steam ahead, and after that they looked very much in control.
The real battle after that came down to the final podium spots, and it took a monumental final stint from Neel Jani to surge back from its penalties to overtake the two Audis of Team Joest in the final round of pit-stops, sealing a Porsche one-two and leaving third place to the #7 Audi of Benoit Treluyer, Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler.
It proved to be a near-perfect day for the Stuttgart stable, as Porsche also sealed a one-two victory in the LMGTE Pro class with their 911 RSR’s. Meanwhile, the Orca Nissan of KCMG romped home in the LMP2 class, and SMP Racing’s Ferrari 458 took the spoils in the LMGTE AM class. The battle for the WEC crown continues in three weeks when the championship lands at the Circuit of the Americas for another six-hour race.
In a weekend of veteran victories, Valentino Rossi performed his trademark wet-weather magic, storming home in damp conditions after the heavens opened earlier that morning. The result, combined with the fourth-place finish of The Doctor’s Yamaha teammate and main championship contender Jorge Lorenzo, turns the tide well in favour of the Italian.
Marc Marquez, who going into the race was third in the championship, had his title hopes effectively ended after crashing out with eight laps to go. The Spaniard now sits 77 points behind Rossi in the title race, and a miracle is needed for him to have any chance of mounting a challenge for the title.
In a great weekend for Ducati, the Italian bikes of Danilo Petrucci and Andrea Dovizioso brought it home to take second and third, compounding the problems of Lorenzo and Marquez, both of whom have notoriously struggled in the wet. The next round of the MotoGP championship heads to Rossi’s backyard at the Misano circuit, and you’d have to imagine he’s going to be carrying a big mental advantage over his championship rivals.
Next week, the Formula 1 World Championship lands at Monza for what may well be the last Italian GP, the World RallyCross championship hits France and all the news in between. But for now…
It’s the crash of the week!
This week, it goes to Jack Miller who started and ended his British MotoGP in spectacular fashion. After starting the race in 16thposition, he stormed through the field in a video game-esque fashion to be sitting fourth by the end of lap 3. By the end of lap 5, he was out – and so was his teammate.