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Porsche, Dempsey lead winners in wet, wild FIA WEC 6 Hours of Fuji


Porsche Team has claimed its fourth straight win in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and third straight for the trio of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley in the No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid in Sunday’s rain-affected 6 Hours of Fuji.

The No. 17 car took the lead from the erstwhile dominant No. 18 car, driven by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, in the final half hour following a team decision.

It had been an entertaining bout throughout the LMP1 field for the majority of the race, with the Audi R18 e-tron quattros showing well early in wetter conditions before the track came back over the second half of the race and the Porsches regained the momentum.

Other class winners though took the spotlight after some fascinating drives.

In GTE-Am, Patrick Dempsey finally got on the board with his first career international sports car victory, following a dynamic drive from he, Marco Seefried and Patrick Long in the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911.

Dempsey started and turned the car over to Seefried, with the German moving ahead following a stellar middle stint in changing conditions. Long, then Dempsey again, brought it home to the finish to end SMP Racing’s run of wins in the class.

LMP2 saw G-Drive Racing’s trio of Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal win in the No. 26 Ligier JS P2 Nissan, although subject to a bit of controversy following several instances of contact between the No. 26 car and the sister No. 28 car, with KCMG’s Oreca 05 Nissan driven by Matt Howson, Richard Bradley and Nick Tandy.

Contact occurred between Gustavo Yacaman’s No. 28 car and Bradley’s No. 47 Oreca in the final 10 minutes, with the stewards analyzing the data to determine any potential post-race penalties.

GTE-Pro saw a less eventful race and wins from Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander, sharing the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia.

The WEC resumes in Shanghai in three weeks time.

Follow @TonyDiZinno