WEC: Fight for LMP2 title takes dramatic swing in first hour at Sao Paulo

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The first hour of the World Endurance Championship’s season finale at Sao Paulo, Brazil ended with a major incident that may have decided the LMP2 title.

G-Drive Racing held the lead over Sergey Zlobin of SMP Racing going into today’s six-hour event, but just before the race crossed over one hour’s time, the No. 26 G-Drive Ligier/Nissan of Olivier Pla went straight on into the tire barriers at Turn 1.

Pla was OK after the incident.

As a result, it’s now up to Zlobin to finish this race and claim the crown for himself. His No. 27 SMP Oreca/Nissan sits third in class behind the leading No. 47 KCMG Oreca and the sister No. 37 SMP Oreca in second.

Meanwhile, up front, the No. 20 Porsche 919 Hybrid (pictured) continues to pace the field from pole position. Timo Bernhard ran a solid opening stint before handing over the car to Mark Webber, who has plenty of experience with the Interlagos tracks from his not-too-distant days in Formula One.

The No. 14 Porsche and No. 8 Toyota put on a tough fight for second place during their opening stints with Marc Lieb in the 14 and Sebastien Buemi in the 8.

But Buemi managed to beat back multiple attacks from Lieb, and as of now, the TS040 Hybrid (now with Anthony Davidson in the car) still holds second over the 14 car (with Neel Jani driving).

Farther back, the No. 1 Audi (Loic Duval) sits fourth, the No. 7 Toyota (Mike Conway) is in fifth, and the No. 2 Audi (Marcel Fassler) has climbed back to sixth after its starting driver, Benoit Treluyer, suffered a slow start due to a power issue and subsequent reboot.

In GTE-Pro, the No. 99 Aston Martin (Darryl O’Young) and No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari (Davide Rigon) are in a hot battle for the class lead with the No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR running third behind them. GTE-Am is being paced by another AF Corse entry, the No. 81 Ferrari.