BACK-TO-BACK WEC WINS FOR G-DRIVE RACING IN SHANGHAI
7th November 2016
G-Drive Racing made it back-to-back LMP2 victories in the FIA World Endurance Championship with a dominant performance in the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday.
Alex Brundle, Roman Rusinov and Will Stevens showed superb pace and tactical awareness throughout the Chinese race to bring their #26 ORECA 05-Nissan to the chequered flag with an advantage of over a minute on their nearest rivals.
From fourth on the LMP2 grid, British racer Brundle made up a place at the start and then put the hammer down to make decisive passes on Alex Lynn (Manor) and Nicolas Lapierre (Signatech Alpine) for the class lead ahead of his first pitstop.
Rusinov took over the G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan just ahead of the two-hour mark, initially losing the advantage to the #30 car of Antonio Giovinazzi, but then re-claiming the top spot as the differing tyre strategies of the 2015 LMP2 champion and his rival played themselves out.
The Russian’s strong performance ensured that Will Stevens had an advantage of over 30 seconds when he climbed aboard the G-Drive Racing car at the three-and-a-half-hour mark.
Stevens stretched out even more of an advantage, lapping within fifteen hundredths of a second of the best LMP2 time of the day and crossing the line with a comfortable winning margin.
The Shanghai victory was the second in successive FIA WEC races for the JOTA Sport-run team and the third in four weekends that included them claiming the European Le Mans Series crown in Portugal last month.
G-Drive Racing remain third in the WEC LMP2 teams’ standings, but are now only 12 points behind the second-place squad (RGR Sport) with 26 points up for grabs at the season finale in Bahrain on November 19.
Rusinov is third in the drivers’ championship while Stevens and Brundle – both of whom have completed partial seasons in the #26 machine – climbed to fifth and seventh, either side of fellow G-Drive racer Rene Rast, who missed the Shanghai race to attend the birth of his son, Liam.
The final race of the season for G-Drive Racing will take place on November 19 at the 6 Hours of Bahrain.
“We had a really good start and I had the option to either push on and get ahead or conserve the tyres and stay behind. I knew we had the car that would let me run at the front so I got on with making the move. Because we were double-stinting the tyres, this affected the performance in the second stint, but overall it was the best strategy to choose and did gain the team some time. After that, Roman and Will both did a fantastic job and the team performed excellently in the pits all day long.”
“We had a great car and we worked hard during the weekend for this victory. I am really happy for the second time in a row and my teammates were very strong. The conditions were tough with lots of rubber on the track but we got the job done so thanks to everyone we get more maximum points today.”
“It was comfortable for us and we did a great strategy so well done to the team. It is nice to get a second win in as many races and show what we can do out there against some really tough competition.
Sam Hignett, Partner – JOTA Sport
“It has been a very good month for us with three wins and a title achieved. This is a big reflection on the team and how we operate. We executed a really well-thought out and intelligent race. All three drivers did a superb job and I am very proud of every team member.
“We were denied some victories earlier in the season with some really unfortunate luck. Now though we have some good momentum and the target will be to finish second in the Teams’ and Drivers’ race. We will be going all out in Bahrain to make sure we get another maximum points score.”
LMP2 Race Result – Shanghai
1 Brundle/Rusinov/Stevens G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan
2 Blomqvist/Gelael/Giovinazzi ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
3 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna RGR Sport Ligier JS P2-Nissan
4 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi Signatech Alpine A460-Nissan
5 Dalziel/Derani/Cumming ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
6 Aleshin/Mediani/Minassian SMP Racing BR01-Nissan
2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – After 8 Rounds
1 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi 183
2 Albuquerque/Senna/Gonzalez 148
3 Rusiov 137
4 Dalziel/Derani/Cumming 104
5 Stevens 92
6 Rast 86
11 Brundle 73
2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams – After 8 Rounds
1 Signatech Alpine 183
2 RGR Sport by Morand 151
3 G-Drive Racing 139
4 Extreme Speed Motorsports 104
5 Extreme Speed Motorsports 68
6 Strakka Racing 66