GT Race: World Endurance Championship WEC, Round 8, Shanghai/China
The title fight in the Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC remains gripping to the end: At the six-hour race on the Shanghai International Circuit on Sunday, Richard Lietz (Austria) and Frédéric Makowiecki (France) secured second place in the GTE-Pro class with the Porsche 911 RSR after a spectacular catch-up race. Clinching the eighth WEC podium result for the 510 hp racer from Weissach this season, they narrowed the gap in the GT Drivers World Championship to just two points before the final race in Bahrain on 18 November. For their teammates Michael Christensen (Denmark) and Kévin Estre (France), the race on the 5.541-kilometre Grand Prix circuit on the outskirts of the Chinese economic metropolis came to an early end: After holding the lead for almost the entire first third of the race, they had to park their 911 RSR after 2.15 minutes due to engine damage.
Driving the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki were very close to clinching their first world championship victory. After a difficult qualifying, which saw them take up the race from the seventh grid spot, they fought their way to the front with consistently fast lap times. After about an hour they were running in third place, and shortly after their team colleagues’ retirement while in the lead, Frédéric Makowiecki took the front spot.
For almost an hour, the Frenchman defended his position before relinquishing it to come into the pits. With approximately 90 minutes to the flag, Richard Lietz took over driving duties in the 911 RSR, moved into third place and, in a spectacular overtaking manoeuvre, snatched second place.
The final phase was definitely not for the faint-hearted. Over many laps, the Austrian delivered a gripping duel with the leading Ford, where he was practically glued to the bumper of the frontrunner. With 35 minutes to go, a critical incident thwarted his charge: A Toyota prototype hit the right side of the Porsche in the first corner. Because of this, Richard Lietz lost more than 15 seconds and ultimately the connection to the leader. With his damaged 911 RSR he still managed to salvage second place, only eleven seconds off the winning time.
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