Dramatic victory for Audi by elimination; Merhi takes to the podium

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The second race of the season in the WEC, it has been decided by pure elimination. The winner was the Audi driven by Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval, with both its own merit as demerit of his rivals, that he was stepping on the lead and they were falling. The strange podium completed the Porsche 2 Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb and a Rebellion, the Dominik Kraihamer, Mathéo Tuscher and Alexandre Imperatori. The ‘vlach’ of this chaotic race were left out of the fight one by one, all by various mechanical problems.

The first big twist of the script gave it to the Porsche 1 Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, when it lost all of its options after having two punctures in a row at the same side and with just 20 minutes of difference. He continued in the race, but more for honor and for testing of face-to-Le Mans, that by getting a good result. The current world champions have two races to forget in this start of the WEC, and only a victory in the mythical path of the Sarthe could make them regain their options bar.

The first position of the test inherited the Toyota 5 Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastian Buemi and Anthony Davidson, that starred in a spectacular fight with the Audi 8 in the heart of Eau Rouge.

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When it looked like Toyota was poised for his first victory since 2014, the mechanics sent him out. The white smoke began to come out of the engine of the TS050 left no room for doubt: she had to leave and leave, by the way, the japanese manufacturer settled in the Colony without representative, as the Toyota 6 Mike Conway, Stepháne Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi had already had to say goodbye to the race.

In a test with quite a few runway excursions and accidents, especially between the GT (such as the spectacular blow with back hood of the Aston Martin of Thim), at the end there was a scare seriously. Stefan Mücke lost control of his Ford GT when it came to the last hour of the race at Eau Rouge. This led to the departure of the safety car for a good while, and the pilot left only with the aching leg, but reasonably well given the virulence of the blow.

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The Audi 8 finished the race without telemetry, which gave a touch of the heroic to his victory. The brand with the four rings proved that, although for pure performance they are behind Porsche and Toyota can give them a scare in Le Mans, in reliability (especially in the hybrid) still remain a point above the rest.

And that is that the Audi 7 of the ‘big three’ (Marcel Fässler, Benoit Trélúyer and André Lotterer) was not his best day: after going over a good part of the race away from the podium, at the end, was wrong Fässler at the bend several riders and he ended up with very bad sensaciones.

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Heroic first podium for Merhi in the WEC

In LMP2 there was prominence English. Roberto Merhi, with its Manor, finished in third position in its category, in a race in which he was tasked with taking the output and make it reach to goal. The spaniard was not able to fight for victory in equal conditions than the rest because a Alpine hit him in the first corner and made him trompear. The own Merhi, in a break during a stint of one of his companions, asked for twitter to the FIA to investigate what happened.

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The performance of the Spanish driver was brutal, and this is why we gave the last two relays of the race. However, his drive cost him a penalty: he came out of the pits when there was a red light and we punished it with a ‘drive ‘ thorugh’. I was fighting for second position when he received the penalty, and there was hardly half an hour. But he did not give up and on the last lap, went over to Albuquerque to take third place.

The Manor 45 Mathew Rao, Richard Bradley and the Roberto Merhi did with their first podium in the WEC, and a good part of the merit must give it to the courage of the pilot Spanish. The victory went to the Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Stepháne Richelmi.

In the GT s, in the Pro category, there was more drama. The Ferrari of the AF Corse 51 James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni were the first to command a new doublet, but in the absence of eight minutes the goal had to leave for a break. The gesture of a Draught, crying in the pits, says it all. The victory went to the other Ferrari, driven by Sam Bird and Davide Rigon.

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In the Am there was also excitement until the last moments to see who was going to be the winner, that in the end it was for the Aston Martin of the veterans Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, the son of three-time Formula 1 world Niki Lauda.