Porsche edges out Toyota for WEC Shanghai pole

© Porsche

Porsche will start Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship round in Shanghai, China from pole position after defending champions Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber edged out Toyota’s no. 5 crew in qualifying on Saturday afternoon.

Webber and Hartley combined for a two-lap average of 1:44.462 at the Shanghai International Circuit, beating Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima by just 0.06 seconds come the checkered flag.

Porsche was forced to send Hartley out for a second run late on after his first flying lap was scratched for a track limits violation, only for the New Zealander to do enough with his final effort to give the German marque pole.

Webber and Hartley will be joined in the Porsche 919 Hybrid by Timo Bernhard on Sunday, in what will be the no. 1 crew’s penultimate race together before Webber’s retirement at the end of the season.

In what is also its second-to-last race in the WEC, Audi qualified strongly as title contenders Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis charged to third on the grid, 0.148 seconds off the pole time. The sister R18 will start fifth behind the no. 6 Toyota, while the championship-leading Porsche no. 2 crew could only qualify sixth.

LMP2 saw Manor pick up its first class pole position in the WEC as Matt Rao and Alex Lynn posted a two-lap average of 1:54.225, giving them P1 by 0.157 seconds ahead of the no. 36 Signatech Alpine Nissan.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing swept to a one-two finish in GTE Pro with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell setting the pace in the no. 67 Ford GT. The no. 66 shared by Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla slotted into P2, with Aston Martin’s no. 95 Vantage finishing third.

Ferrari was left hamstrung by an overnight Balance of Performance tweak that saw the boost pressure on its 488 GTEs reduced, making P4 something of an achievement for James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni in the no. 51 entry.

Aston Martin Racing’s no. 98 car took its third straight pole in GTE Am as Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy finished three-tenths clear of the field despite having an early lap disallowed for exceeding track limits. The no. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia will start second in class.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.