Published on November 3rd, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Tough time for Gazoo Racing at Shanghai
Both TS040 HYBRIDs finished in the top six, with the #2 of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway earning fifth place. Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima were sixth in the #1. But it was a disappointing race for the 2014 World Champions, marked by incidents and bad luck, which prevented the TS040 HYBRIDs repeating the fighting performance shown in similar conditions last time out at Fuji.
Persistent rain throughout the morning meant the first 12 minutes of the race ran behind the safety car and, following some position-swapping on the first racing lap, Anthony established the #1 in fifth, ahead of Mike in the sister car. That changed around the 90-minute mark when a slow puncture forced Anthony to pit, just a few laps into his second stint. That put the #2, now with Alex behind the wheel, in fifth, just ahead of Kazuki in the #1.
Heavier rain made the track treacherous and this took its toll on many participants. At the restart following another full-course yellow in the second hour, the two TS040 HYBRIDs swapped positions when Alex spun. However, that was only a temporary switch as Kazuki spun on the last corner at the two-hour mark, losing more than a lap whilst he was dragged out of the gravel, although he only lost one place and emerged in sixth.
Into the second half of the race, the track began to dry so the #1 took a chance at its next scheduled stop by becoming the first car to switch to hybrid intermediate tyres, although conditions initially were too slippery and Sébastien lost time. As the race entered its final third, Alex brought the #2 into the pits for hybrid intermediates and Stéphane, who celebrates his 40th birthday tomorrow, resumed in fifth.
With the track now drying, the lap times fell and as the last hour approached, Stéphane switched to slick tyres. Sébastien was pushing hard a lap behind in sixth, with his lap times close to those of the leaders in cool, slightly damp conditions. Ultimately the #2 had a sufficient gap and Stéphane took the flag in fifth. Sébastien brought the #1 home sixth, with the two TS040 HYBRIDs respectively four and five laps behind the winning #17 Porsche.