Mark Webber and his Porsche team-mates Brendon Hartley and Timo Berhard scooped a podium finish at the 6-Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium on Saturday, round two of the 2015 World Endurance Championship.
Fastest in qualifying, Webber’s Porsche 919-Hybrid led at the start of the race, but dropped down the order following a stop-go penalty that was handed by organisers after the car missed a chicane at the end of a lap, while Hartley was at the wheel.
A strong recovery drive followed, but the car was further slowed by a mechanical problem with a damper. The Porsche was able to resume the race, and was just one lap short of the top two at the fall of the chequered flag.
Aston Clinton’s Webber said afterwards: “We again managed to show in qualifying that we have great pace. The car was very strong and we were able to lead at the start.
“Sadly we lost some time, and then encountered a mechanical issue and that prevented us from challenging for victory. But we have shown in two races we have the capability to win, and Le Mans is next. That is the next race and is the big focus for us as a team.”
Porsche looked set for victory in round two of the 2015 FIA WEC with their number 18 919-Hybrid driven by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas looking strong throughout, and ahead for much of the race.
However, excellent teamwork and the use of a triple stint of tyres for driver Benoit Treluyer ensured that Audi Sport were able to capitalise near the end and finish triumphant with their number seven diesel-powered Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer secured their second win of the 2015 campaign, having already tasted the victory champagne at Silverstone last month.
All eight of the leading LMP1-specification prototypes reached the finish, with Audi claiming fourth and seventh with further e-tron quattro cars. The third Porsche, driven by Nick Tandy, Nico Hulkenberg and Earl Bamber was sixth, with the Toyota cars fifth and eighth.
The FIA World Endurance Championship continues with the Le Mans 24-Hours next month, but prior to that, all the teams and drivers competing in the race will be at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe for the event’s Pre-Test on Sunday, May 31.