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WEC: Porsche hat-trick in Qatar, cruel fate for Peugeot on the penultimate lap

The official Porsche-Penske team won the first round of the WEC world endurance automobile championship season contested on Saturday in Qatar with the crew made up of Kevin Estre, André Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor, the German manufacturer monopolizing the podium.

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WEC: Porsche hat-trick in Qatar, cruel fate for Peugeot on the penultimate lap

The official Porsche-Penske team won the first round of the WEC world endurance automobile championship season contested on Saturday in Qatar with the crew made up of Kevin Estre, André Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor, the German manufacturer monopolizing the podium.

2nd place went to the Porsche from the private Jota team, ahead of the other car from the German manufacturer's official team which started in pole position.

The Peugeot of Jean-Éric Vergne, Mikkel Jensen and Nico Müller, which was fighting for 2nd place, had to slow down on the penultimate lap and only finished 7th. “It's incredible, on the last lap we ran out of fuel, probably because of a problem during the last refueling. We need to analyze what happened. It’s hard, we deserved second place today,” commented a disappointed Nico Müller, who was close to signing the team’s best result in the WEC since the manufacturer’s return to the discipline.

The Lion Clan will tackle the second round of the World Championship in Imola on April 21 with a new version of the 9X8. A car on which Peugeot Sport has great hopes because its predecessor suffered too much from a lack of performance last season.

“The team had a very good collective race for the last outing of the Peugeot 9X8 version 2023. We demonstrated the potential of the car, the team really put in a great performance, we were in the game. Unfortunately, there was a fuel filling problem during the last pit stop that we still have to figure out and Jean-Eric had to finish with the electric motor. We are going to take away the positives from this race and we are already looking forward to being at Imola with the 2024 version of the car,” commented Jean-Marc Finot, the team boss.

The first Toyota, the reigning champion manufacturer, is only 6th while the French brand Alpine, which was arriving in the Hypercar category, ranks its first car in 9th place.

The next round is scheduled in Italy with the 6 Hours of Imola on April 21. In total, the WEC championship this year has 8 events including the 24 Hours of Le Mans which will take place on June 15 and 16.

. Ranking of the 1812 km of Qatar

1. Porsche Penske Motorsport N.6 (Kevin Estre-FRA, André Lotterer-GER, Laurens Vanthoor-BEL), the 335 laps in 9:55:51.926

2. Porsche Jota N.12 (Will Stevens-GBR, Callum Ilott-GBR, Norman Nato-FRA) at 33,297

3. Porsche Penske Motorsport N.5 (Matt Campbell-USA, Michael Christensen-DAN, Frédéric Makowiecki-FRA) at 34,396

4. Cadillac N.2 (Earl Bamber-NZL, Alex Lynn-GBR, Sébastien Bourdais-FRA) one lap

5. Ferrari AF Corse (Robert Kubica-POL, Robert Shwartzman-ISR, Yifei Ye-CHN) à un tour

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