Nico Hulkenberg's debut as a Porsche driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship might have netted sixth place, but required the Force India F1 pilot to play his part in a race-long recovery drive at Spa-Francorchamps.

Having started a fine second on the grid, a lap seven misunderstanding between co-driver Nick Tandy and one of the works Porsche 911 RSRs left the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid in need of a lengthy pit-stop for repairs even before Hulkenberg climbed aboard. The German finally got his chance after 32 laps, taking over the car in ninth position and putting in a double stint before Earl Bamber got into the cockpit at the end of lap 80 laps.

With Tandy returning for the final stint of the six-hour race, there was no further track time for Hulkenberg, but the LMP1 rookie was pleased to have played his part in a comeback from the rear of the field that eventually netted sixth place for the occasional entry.

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"I felt good in the car during the race," he reported, "I did a double stint with one set of tyres, which was tough on the rubber. Managing the traffic was a very interesting and enjoyable experience, although I had a few moments - sometimes the timing to overtake is perfect and sometimes it isn't!"

The Porsche team came up just short of claiming victory in the race, with the #18 sister car of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finishing second to the best of the Audis, and Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber completing the podium after a penalty and technical failure.