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Motorsport, WEC


WEC 2014 – Silverstone – First blood to Toyota

23 Apr , 2014  

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Grid - carwitter

Arguably the most anticipated series on the 2014 calendar got underway this Easter as the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) roared (or whispered if you’re in the P1 classes) in to Silverstone.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Grid Race Start - carwitter

All eyes would be on Porsche, with fans and media alike keen to see how they would compare to the all conquering Audi squad. However it was first blood to the Toyota team as the combined times of Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima saw the Japanese marquee claim pole for the opener.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Mark Webber Porsche LMP1 - carwitter

In the P2 class the spoils fell to the Oak-Morgan Nissan squad ahead of the 3 similarly powered Orecas, in a class that would boast just 4 entries following the withdrawal of Strakka and Millennium from the opening rounds.

In the GT classes Ferrari were first with the AF Course machines of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Villander taking pole in the Pro category, with the GT Am pole going to a similar machine which also managed to qualify ahead of the works Aston Martins who, by their standards had quite a miserable qualifying.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Porsche LMP1 - carwitter

Sunday, however is when the points are awarded and, with plenty of action up and down the order due to the changeable weather the fans braving the cold and wet did not leave disappointed.

One team that did leave Northamptonshire looking to forget about the Easter weekend was the reigning champions Audi. 2 DNFs both as a result of running off track is not the way to start a serious title defence.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Audi R18 LMP1 - carwitter

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Toyota Side - carwitter

With the Ingolstadt marquee packing up it was left to Toyota to fight it out with the “returnees” however it was the Japanese squad who claimed a 1-2 victory with Anthony Davidson, Nicholas Lapierre, and Sebastian Buemi, taking the honours from the pole winning Wurz, Nakajima, Stephanne Sarrizain car by one lap and, a further lap ahead of the remaining Porsche of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brenden Hartley after a heavy rainstorm half an hour from the scheduled finish brought about a red flag.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Mark Webber - carwitter

The P2 battle went the way of the Oak-Morgan Nissan ahead of the Orecas but was decided in part by way of pit lane offences, the 2nd in class KCMG entry first was a stop / go penalty due to speeding in the pit lane, the second saw the team docked a lap as a result of an unsafe release of the car at another service.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Oak Morgan Nissan - carwitter

The Oak (driven by Olivier Pla, Romain Rustinov and Julien Canal) was not without problems of its own suffering from headlight issues which required the front of their bodywork to be changed.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - GT Class Action - carwitter

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Porsche 911 RSR - carwitter

The action in the GT classes was a bit of an upturn from qualifying as Porsche took the fight to the Ferraris to lead home a 1-2 in class with Frederic Makowiecki, Marco Holzer and Richard Lietz leading home Patrick Pilet, Jorg Bergmeister and Nick Tandy, Pilet pitted just prior to the safety cars final intervention prior to the red flag dropping him behind Makowiecki who was due to pit, but unable to as it was closed when the safety car deployed.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Aston Martin - carwitter

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Aston Martin Duo - carwitter

Aston Martin took the GTE AM class again finishing in a 1-2 formation the Kurt Thiim, Kristian Poulsen, David Heinemeier car taking the honours.

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Toyota Front - carwitter

On the back of this victory some people are now touting Toyota as favourites for the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. I think it’s a little early myself, Audi are not daft but not unbeatable and Porsche have proved that they arent just making up the numbers.

We look forward now to Spa in early May and with just one thought, what if Peugeot were still competing?

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Lap 1 LMP1 Field - carwitter

WEC 2014 Silverstone - GT Porsche Ferrari - carwitter

WEC 2014 Silverstone - Porsche LMP1 Race Truck - carwitter

WEC 2014 Silverstone -Toyota Action - carwitter
© – All pictures copyright Glen Smith & Adam Tudor-Lane

 

By
BTCC Correspondent


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