Triple win and one-make GT podium for Dunlop at World Endurance Championship
Some of the closest World Endurance Championship racing of the season was witnessed at the 6 Hours of Mexico, as Dunlop supplied the tyres to the winners of all three classes in which the brand was present. In addition all three steps on a GT class podium were claimed by Dunlop drivers for the first time since the WEC was formed in 2012.
In LMP2, the #31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca dominated, leading all but a handful of laps on its way to a first victory. The Canal/Prost/Senna squad had qualified third and Senna took only two laps to make it from the second row of the grid to the lead. The battle behind for second was fierce. CEFC Manor TRS Racing’s #24 Oreca, a race leader for 28 laps, fought with the Signatech Alpine Matmut for the remaining steps on the podium. Pit-stop strategies during brief full course yellow periods and the threat of rain left spectators and rivals guessing on outcomes to the end. Ultimately the Signatech team crossed the line in second place followed by the Manor car just five seconds later. Championship leaders #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing suffered from a clutch issue and finished ninth, holding their lead in the standings but with a reduced margin of 23 points to the #31 Vaillante Rebellion.
In the GTE Pro class, the reigning champions, Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen, drove their Vantage to its first win of the season following a race-long battle with a Ferrari, winning by nine seconds. A double podium was a distinct possibility given the pace shown, but a brake problem for the Le Mans winning #97 sister car forced retirement.
The first ever all-Dunlop podium in a World Endurance Championship GT class came with Dempsey Proton Racing taking their second win of the season in the Porsche 911 RSR, continuing their record of standing on the podium at every event so far this year. The #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage took second place – they have also featured on every podium in 2017 – while the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR took its first podium finish of the year with third place. The Dempsey Proton Racing team now leads the championship with the Aston Martin squad just nine points behind in third.
The next round of the FIA World Endurance Championship is the 6 Hours of COTA in Texas, USA, with the race starting at 12:00 local time on 16 September.
Paul Bryant, event leader, Dunlop Motorsport, said: “It was a great race with great results for our teams. To take a win in all three classes and to have a full GT podium for the first time in WEC is fantastic. The rain that threatened only appeared shortly after the race and kept everyone guessing, but the conditions led to LMP2 teams opting for the soft option while the GT cars chose both soft and medium tyres for the race.
“The championships are getting to be very interesting with the LMP2 gap closing and taking the lead in GTE Am. With only two weeks until the next round we don’t have too long to wait to see what happens next.”