WEC turning points: G-Drive misfortune hands RGR home win in 6H Mexico
G-Drive Racing looked to have the AT&T 6 Hours of Mexico under control until brake failure allowed RGR Sport to take a popular home victory.
As the promoter of the inaugural 6 Hours of Mexico, there was huge pressure on RGR Sport’s Ricardo Gonzalez to deliver in front of his 38,000 home fans in round five of the FIA World Endurance Championship, but they were made to wait until the final hour before he obliged.
Gonzalez and Filipe Albuquerque got their weekend off to the best possible start by qualifying on pole, ending the G-Drive team’s remarkable run of four pole positions from the first four races of 2016. Bruno Senna led the opening stint but was tracked all the way by René Rast and, when the cars emerged from the first round of pit stops after a Full Course Yellow, it was Roman Rusinov in the lead ahead of Gonzalez.
After gradually chipping away at Rusinov’s advantage, Gonzalez went for a move on lap 67, but the pair came to blows, with the frustrated Mexican coming off worst. RGR were briefly relegated to third after a well-timed Full Course Yellow cycled Signatech-Alpine into the mix, before the French team was penalised for a pit infringement and Filipe Albuquerque once again took up second.
When Rast chose the perfect moment to pit for slick tyres, having already pulled a gap on Albuquerque in the wet, it looked as though RGR’s chance of victory had gone. But fate would be on its side – a homologated braking component failed on the ORECA with just 25 minutes remaining, forcing Rast to pit for repairs.
Having already bid goodbye to title hopes when a gearbox problem cost the team victory at the Nürburgring, this was the latest episode in a catalogue of bad luck for G-Drive Racing although the home crowd didn’t especially mind as an emotional Gonzalez took to the top of the podium for the second time in 2016. As he lapped up the adulation of the fans, it was a reminder that sometimes, fairy tales do come true.