Toyota Racing delivered another perfect result in Shanghai. It was a second successive one-two finish that extended the team’s lead in the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi followed up their win in Fuji to post their fourth victory of the season in the No8 car, taking their shared lead in the drivers’ title chase to 42 points.
The 1,000hp four-wheel drive Toyota TS040 Hybrid was again in a class of its own, with Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima securing second place in the No7 machine. The result gives Toyota a 29-point advantage in the manufacturers’ world championship with two races remaining.
The six-hour race proved a trouble-free contest for both cars, with smooth pit stops contributing to the impressive result. By the time Buemi and Davidson made their final driver change, they held a one-lap lead over the entire field, apart from their second-placed team-mates. Davidson and Nakajima were able to bring the cars home for the team’s third one-two finish of the season.
Audi had no chance of repeating last year’s victory on the Shanghai track. Qualifying had indicated that the R18 e-tron quattro was unable to show its full potential in the tight turns and long straights. However this setup a thrilling battle with the number 14 Porsche for a podium position. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer were running in fifth place for a long time. However, a fifth pit stop that was made earlier than scheduled for tactical reasons gave the 2012 World Champions an advantage over the sister car and they achieved fourth place. As a result, the driver trio improved from third to second place in the drivers’ standings. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen completed Audi’s team result in China in fifth place, with Audi outperforming the number 20 Porsche in the process.
Reflecting on the team’s success, Davidson said: “The whole team did a great job with the right strategy and solid pit stops. Everyone kept calm and focused on getting the result. We showed we had the fastest car in Fuji and we’ve done that again here in Shanghai. We didn’t want to take too many risks, particularly in traffic so it was a relatively quiet race for me; Seb did all the spectacular work at the start. To get such a result at this stage of the season is huge for us and now we aim to continue like this in the final two races.”
Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “It was a tough and thrilling race. We fought an intense battle with our sister car and with Porsche. But we weren’t as good as our competitors. We’d have liked to have been in contention for a top result but the outcome today was the best we were able to achieve. Now we’ve got to prepare for the coming races.”
1 Buemi/Davidson (Toyota), 188 laps in 6h 01m 15.319s
2 Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) + 1m 12.564s
3 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) – 1 lap
4 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
5 Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
6 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) – 2 laps
7 Beche/Heidfeld/Prost (Rebellion-Toyota) – 8 laps
8 Belicchi/Kraihamer/Leimer (Rebellion-Toyota) – 8 laps
9 Canal/Pla/Rusinov (Ligier-Nissan) – 11 laps
10 Dalziel/Gonzalez/Sharp (HPD-Honda) – 14 laps