Nürburgring held the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship after the 24 Hours of Le Mans and while things weren't exactly as unpredictable as it was in France, Porsche took again the win with the No. 2 car driven by Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber,
Toyota suffered all the hits possible at Le Mans, and this extended a bit to Nürburgring as the No. 8 Toyota had a fuel pump problem and didn't go past the formation lap.
The early stages of the race saw the Porsches playing catch with the No. 7 Toyota, putting the rest of the field in the eye of the storm while other classes were having their own battles. LMGTE-Pro was specially close in the lead spots with Aston Martin and Porsche having an epic clash. Eventually backmarker presence slowed down the No. 95 Aston Martin, and when Marco Sorensen left space, Fred Makowiecki in the No. 91 Porsche jumped to the class lead and disappeared in front.
Pit stop moments were roughly the same for the top-3 LMP1 field, so pitwork time would change something, and it did so by putting the No. 1 Porsche ahead of the No. 2, although not affecting the No. 7 Toyota's lead. No one expected though that the No. 2 Porsche with Brendon Hartley would take a good charge and pass the sister Porsche and the lead car in about ten minutes. Eventually the No. 1 overtook the Toyota too for second place, although José Maria Lopez was trying his best to counter that. Second round of stops had the Toyota kept at bay while the Porsches were racing as close as possible.
While the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca was dominating the LMP2 class for a long time, hell was breaking loose for second place in class as the sister No. 37 car was holding its way against No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion and the No. 36 Signatech Alpine. The other Pro-Am class of the race was having its moment of hype as Mathias Lauda in the No. 98 Aston Martin was in the LMGTE-Am lead with the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche and the No. 61 Clearwater Ferrari a few meters behind. The Rebellion/Alpine charge was becoming harder and harder, and no driver can hold two cars on attack at the same time, so the No. 31 and the No. 36 passed on each side of the No. 37.
Posche was consolidating their lead more and more, but with 2 hours to go the No. 2 car almost had a big moment as Roberto Merhi spun the No. 24 Manor Oreca a few meters in front, forcing immediate evasive action to avoid a hit. Also one of the big moments of the final part was with 1 hour and a half to go, as Daniel Serra in the No. 97 Aston Martin managed to hold both Chip Ganassi Fords for three laps in the fight for the fifth position in LMGTE-Pro, ending with a rub that took a chunk of the No. 97's rear diffuser and the loss of positions.
In the final hour, Porsche had established the 1-2 in LMP1 as the No. 7 Toyota was a minute behind, so it was only a matter of managing equipment and bring both cars home as the No. 2 car crossed the finish line and saw the checkered flag first. Jackie Chan DC Racing kept the winning streak in LMP2 with the No. 38 Oreca in dominant form, and so did the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari in LMGTE-Pro after epic position climbing. The LMGTE-Am class was won by the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, with stunning drives of Marvin Dienst and Matteo Cairoli.
The next race will be the 6 Hours of Mexico on September 1st, with Toyota having a huge deal of work to do as the No. 2 Porsche trio leads the standings with 108 points against 78 of the No. 8 Toyota crew.
PHOTOS: FIA WEC