Porsche Takes WEC Finale, Toyota Seals Title

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Toyota sealed the FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Toyota Photo)
Toyota sealed the FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Toyota Photo)
Toyota sealed the FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday in Sao Paulo, Brazil. (Toyota Photo)

SAO PAULO, Brazil – Porsche celebrated its first endurance prototype win since 1989 when they claimed victory during Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Sao Paulo at Autódromo José Carlos Pace.

Meanwhile, Toyota Racing secured both the Manufacturers and the Drivers championships.

One entry from each of the three major manufacturers finished on the final podium of the season to bring the 2014 FIA WEC season to a close.  Neel Jani in the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid took the checkered flag ahead of Anthony Davidson’s Toyota TS 040 Hybrid after a ferocious race long duel. His teammates Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas also drove impeccable stints to ensure that Porsche ended their debut year in the FIA WEC on a massive high.

The race ended under caution after a serious accident between Mark Webber’s pole winning No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid and the No. 90 8 Star Ferrari 458 Italia of Matteo Cressoni. Cressoni was checked by the medical staff at the side of the track and cleared, while Webber, who was awake and alert, was taken to the circuit medical center for further examination.

The second place earned by the No. 8 Toyota Racing duo of Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson clinched the 2014 FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ title for the Japanese manufacturer. This was despite contact with the No. 75 Prospeed Porsche which sent Buemi in to a spin during the second hour.

At the final stop the No. 8 Toyota Racing crew elected to take fresh tires and Davidson re-entered the circuit 17-seconds behind Jani. Davidson was making steady in-roads in to the lead when the Webber/Cressoni accident took place and ended any charge for a fifth race victory of the season. The finish secured Davidson and Buemi the Drivers championship.

Tom Kristensen, co-driving the No. 1 Audi with Lucas Di Grassi and Loic Duval, finished his final race in third place.

The No. 27 SMP Racing crew took the LMP2 team title and Sergey Zlobin was crowned Drivers’ champion. However, it was a tough race for the No. 27 SMP Racing Oreca-Nissan as they lost many laps in the pits with a variety of problems. The Russian teams’ fortitude shone through these issues though as Maurizio Mediani and Nicolas Minassian ensured that Zlobin became the first Russian to claim an endurance world title in an LMP car.

KCMG took its third victory of the 2014 season with a clear LMP2 class win in Brazil. Richard Bradley, Matt Howson and Alexander Imperatori led the race early on and then survived a brush with the Armco midway through the race. The Hong Kong entered team had a clear run to the checkered flag when the No. 37 SMP Racing Oreca-Nissan lost drive and was forced to stop on the circuit, triggering the second and final full course yellow of the race.

There was devastation for the G-Drive Racing team as they saw their title hopes end just in to the second hour when Olivier Pla suffered a suspected mechanical problem under braking for the first corner. The resultant accident caused the first of the two full course yellow periods of the race. Pla emerged unhurt from the accident.

The No. 13 Rebellion R-One Toyota partnership of Andrea Belicchi, Dominik Kraihamer and Fabio Leimer took a second win of the season in the LMP1-L class.

Aston Martin Racing dominated the LMGTE categories Sunday in Sao Paulo. Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke captured the LMGTE Pro category, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamay and Christoffer Nygaard were the winners in the LMGTE Am category.