Audi take emotional final win; Porsche team champions

The winning #8 Audi
The winning #8 Audi

Audi executed the perfect goodbye to endurance racing by dominating proceedings under the lights at the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain. The No.8 Audi R18 of Lucas Di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval took a memorable victory at the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain this evening, while Porsche drivers Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas took the World Endurance Drivers Championship.

In the final race for Audi Sport Team Joest, the No.8 led home the sister Audi R18 LMP1 car driven by three-time Le Mans winners – Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer.

Rounding out the podium was the No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard. Webber took the final stint to claim a podium position in his final professional motorsport race.

There were major celebrations in the No.2 Porsche pit as sixth position was good enough for Jani, Lieb and Dumas to add the FIA World Endurance Drivers title to their Le Mans win earlier this season.

In the LMP2 class there was a thrilling finale as the G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan driven by Rene Rast hunted down Filipe Albuquerque in the RGR Sport Ligier in final stages to take the third consecutive win for the Russian team.

LMGTE Pro saw Danish duo Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim take the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers in style after leading the majority of the race.

Ferrari took the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers after placing second and third with the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE entry of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado heading the Sam Bird and Davide Rigon sister car home.

In the LMGTE Am class there were smiles in the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari pit as Francois Perrodo, Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard took the crown with a third placed finish. The job was done for the trio at the halfway stage when their nearest challenger, the No.98 Aston Martin, retired with an engine issue.

No.88 Abu Dhabi Proton Porsche 911 RSR of Khaled Al Qubaisi, David Heinemeier-Hansson and Pat Long took their second class win of the year.

Audi Report

Saying goodbye with a bang: Audi achieved an impressive one-two victory in the last race of its Le Mans prototypes in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). After clinching pole position in qualifying, the Audi R18 diesel hybrid sports car went on to claim a lights-to-flag victory in the 6 Hours of Bahrain. In addition, Lucas di Grassi set the fastest race lap. As a result, Audi has clinched the vice-championship titles in the manufacturers' and drivers' classifications.

Audi Sport, its six campaigners and Audi Sport Team Joest gave their all once again in the season finale and came out the big winners. “Thank you to the whole squad for an impeccable performance. You couldn't wish for a sweeter farewell," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Our competitors and the FIA WEC gave us a very emotional finale with many nice gestures, and we are saying thank you with the best possible sporting result for so many years of tremendous racing: an unforgettable weekend!"

Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) took the lead from the start. Towards the end of the first third of the race, the sister car, number 7, of Marcel Fassler/Andre Lotterer/Benoît Treluyer (CH/D/F) clearly caught up, temporarily taking the lead, but subsequently dropped back again due to issues with a wheel gun during a tire change. Number 8 took the lead again and on lap 104 was the only top team to gamble on a pit stop during a full-course yellow. This move paid off and combined with setting good lap times, including the fastest race lap by Lucas di Grassi, number 8 eked out an advantage. Even an unscheduled stop on lap 149, during which the team had to remove rubber pickup from various body parts, did not ruin the trio's rhythm.

As a result, Grassi/Duval/Jarvis crossed the finish line after six hours with a 16-second advantage, achieving their second victory this season following the 6 Hours of Spa in May. In addition, they recaptured position two in the standings. Their teammates Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer completed the one-two, earning Audi its best result of the season. With that, Audi looks back on a sports car era with an impeccable track record. Since 1999, the LMP race cars with the four rings have won 107 of 187 races in America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) since 2012, Audi has stood for bests as well. On 16 occasions, the brand's sports cars were on pole position, winning 17 of 41 races. 23 fastest race laps complete this tally. No other manufacturer has been more successful in even just one of these categories. In addition, Audi clinched two drivers' and two manufacturers' world championship titles.

"Our intention had been to achieve the maximum today in Bahrain, and that's exactly what we did," said Stefan Dreyer, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. "A huge thank you goes to this top team, to Audi Sport Team Joest, to our drivers, and to all the people who made this possible behind the scenes in Neuburg, Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt. As emotional and touching this farewell may seem it is matched by the joy we feel about this top sporting performance with our one-two result and the two vice-championship titles. Sincere congratulations to everyone."

Porsche Report

2016 WEC drivers champions
2016 WEC drivers champions (L to R) Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb, Neel Jani

At the six-hour race in Bahrain the Porsche trio of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) secured the drivers' title in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The 2016 Le Mans winners finished sixth in the final round of the WEC. In the 2016 season, Dumas/Jani/Lieb have taken race wins in Silverstone and Le Mans.

Dumas/Jani/Lieb have shared a Porsche 919 Hybrid for the third consecutive season. From 2014 up until today they have set milestones, experienced highs and mastered lows. In 2014 they took the first three pole positions for the successful innovative Le Mans prototype. At the finale of the debut season, Brazil in 2014, they achieved the 919's maiden race victory to come third in the 2014 drivers' world championship. Again in 2015 the tally was three pole positions and one race win, as well as third place in the championship. Their race win in the breath-taking 2015 season finale in Bahrain enabled Porsche's sister crew to become the drivers' world champions.

Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, said: "This is a great season end for Porsche and a huge success for Romain Dumas, Mark Lieb and Neel Jani! My congratulations are from the depth of my heart. After these three were able to win Le Mans in June and the LMP1 team successfully defended the manufacturers' world championship in Shanghai, now taking the drivers' title as well is the icing on the cake of what was a demanding WEC season. After 2015, Porsche has now managed to take all the titles again. I'm very proud of the effort of every single person in the team. Respect!"

Toyota Report

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing experienced a disappointing end to the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season in the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

The #5 TS050 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima was the lead TOYOTA in fourth, just the third time this year that the team has missed out on the podium.

Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the #6 car began the race with an outside chance of the drivers' World Championship, but fifth place was not enough to overhaul the Porsche #2 crew of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.

The #6 crew finished the season a creditable third in the drivers' standings, 15 points behind the champions, with their #5 counterparts 8th following a series of misfortunes this year.

TOYOTA's finally tally from the nine-race season stands at one win, seven podium finishes and 229 points with the TS050 HYBRID, earning third position in the manufacturers' World Championship.

Toyotas run under the lights in Bahrain
Toyotas run under the lights in Bahrain

Today's race represented Audi's final appearance in the championship. The team marked the occasion by displaying messages on both TS050 HYBRIDs and presenting a commemorative banner to the Head of Audi Motorsport, Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.

When the race got under way, Kamui in the #6 fought hard with #7 Audi but could not stay ahead, instead he put pressure on from fifth with Sebastien just behind in the sister car.

The Porsche #2 suffered a puncture after almost one hour, elevating the #5 to fourth place, with the #6 now in fifth as the sun set and darkness took hold at the Bahrain International Circuit.

The order stayed that way through the first half of the race, as track temperatures dropped slightly in the darkness. But after the halfway point, the two TS050 HYBRIDs swapped position several times, both in the pits and on track.

The #1 Porsche remained out of reach in third place despite consistent efforts from all TOYOTA drivers as the end of the race approached.

When the chequered flag fell, Sebastien crossed the line in fourth place, a lap behind the winning Audi #8. Mike followed 38.685secs later to complete a frustrating weekend.

The team's focus will now switch to 2017 preparations, with an intense pre-season testing schedule to fine-tune an updated TS050 HYBRID in time for the opening race, at Silverstone on 16 April.

Those preparations begin already on Sunday with a two-car test session in Bahrain, which also sees promising LMP2 driver Pipo Derani test the TS050 HYBRID as part of the WEC's rookie driver initiative.

Ford Report

The Ford Chip Ganassi Racing team finished the 'Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain' in fourth and sixth positions today after a tough fight to the finish of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship. The team claimed the runner up spot in the team's championship despite a somewhat disappointing ending to what has been an incredible debut season for the Ford GT.

"Both Ford GTs ran faultlessly today," said WEC Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell. "The team and the drivers did a great job but coming here with 20 kilos of extra weight and nearly a 4% cut in power we were always going to struggle."

After back-to-back victories in the previous two races in Japan and China, the Ford GTs were hit with a Balance of Performance adjustment before Bahrain. Despite this they managed to qualify on the second and third rows of the grid for Saturday's season-closing race.

The #67 and #66 Ford GTs ran in fourth and sixth positions throughout most of the six-hour race. Andy Priaulx (GB) and Harry Tincknell (GB) made it into a podium position but were ultimately beaten by one of the Ferraris.

"It was a tough one for us today," said Priaulx. "I had a really difficult middle stint as I had a big fight with the Ferrari but I couldn't hold it back as they just had a lot more pace today than we expected. Ultimately I think we took the maximum out of this event, not making a single mistake and leaving nothing on the table. Today though we drove with a blunt sword as we were heavy and slow because of the BoP. I want to say that it has been a great season and I am delighted with where we are now and how far we have come since the start of the year. We're a solid unit now, a proper race team. I am very happy with the way we have all developed as a team and I have a lot of optimism for the future."

"It would have been nice to finish on the podium but in reality we knew it was going to be tough fight all the way," said Tincknell. "We took it to Ferrari for the majority of the race but in the last two stints they upped their level again and unfortunately we couldn't stay with them. I think I got the most out of the car and could be consistent, making no mistakes for three hours. It was long hard race and we were pushing 110% to try and overcome the performance adjustments but in reality it was never going to happen.

"Overall for the season I'm really happy we're runners up in the teams' championship with the #67 car," Tincknell continued. "We had a tough Le Mans, we all know that, but since then we have come out fighting and we were then kicked when we were down at Nurburgring with the fire when we were doing well but since then we have made great progress. To get the two wins on the bounce in the Asian part of the championship was awesome. We took the wins when they came and we took the rough parts as well when they came so overall we're happy. I think we'll look back at this season and remember those two wins very fondly."

Starting from sixth place after running a different strategy in qualifying, Stefan Mucke (GER) and Olivier Pla (FRA) had a mountain to climb during the Bahrain race.

"That wasn't the season end we wanted to have," said Mucke. "We knew with the BoP change that it would be a tough weekend for us and it was indeed a very tough race. We had to do an extra stop during the full course yellow due to a tire issue, which cost us a lot of time. Otherwise we could have been behind the #67 car. We tried as hard as we could but there just wasn't any more in our pocket and it's a shame. I have to say thanks to the team as they did a great job this year, becoming a winning team out of nothing. I am proud of the whole team and I really can't wait to start next season."

"Overall we were disappointed with today," said Pla. "My first stint was good but then there was a problem with my second set of tires so we need to understand what happened there as there was nothing we could do after that. We had a difficult start to the season in the #66 car but we started as a brand new team and we made progress with every race and test we did together. I really like this team and we have a strong team spirit now. Le Mans was a shame for us as we had the speed to really do something but it wasn't to be. The season really started for us at Fuji when we took pole position and the 1-2 finish. We were a little unlucky in Shanghai when we got a puncture but that's racing. I feel very happy to be working with these guys and I think next season will be good."


Pos No. State Cat Team Driver @ Finish Car Laps Gap Pits
1 8 Run P1 Audi Sport Team Joest DI GRASSI Lucas Audi R18 201 7
2 7 Run P1 Audi Sport Team Joest FASSLER Marcel Audi R18 201 16.419 6
3 1 Run P1 Porsche Team WEBBER Mark Porsche 919 Hybrid 201 1:17.001 6
4 5 Run P1 Toyota Gazoo Racing BUEMI Sebastien Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 200 1 Lap 6
5 6 Run P1 Toyota Gazoo Racing CONWAY Mike Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 200 35.685 6
6 2 Run P1 Porsche Team LIEB Marc Porsche 919 Hybrid 198 3 Laps 7
7 13 Run P1 Rebellion Racing IMPERATORI Alexandre Rebellion R-One – AER 191 10 Laps 8
8 4 Run P1 Bykolles Racing Team TRUMMER Simon CLM P1/01 – AER 187 14 Laps 8
9 26 Run P2 G-Drive Racing RAST Rene Oreca 05 – Nissan 184 17 Laps 7
10 43 Run P2 RGR Sport by Morand ALBUQUERQUE Filipe LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan 184 6.840 7
11 36 Run P2 Signatech Alpine LAPIERRE Nicolas Alpine A460 – Nissan 183 18 Laps 7
12 31 Run P2 Extreme Speed Motorsports CUMMING Christopher LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan 183 26.836 7
13 30 Run P2 Extreme Speed Motorsports VAN DER GARDE Giedo LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan 183 1:09.164 7
14 35 Run P2 Baxi DC Racing Alpine CHATIN Paul Loup Alpine A460 – Nissan 182 19 Laps 7
15 45 Run P2 Manor MERHI Roberto Oreca 05 – Nissan 182 1:11.012 7
16 37 Run P2 SMP Racing PETROV Vitaly BR01 – Nissan 179 22 Laps 7
17 27 Run P2 SMP Racing ALESHIN Mikhail BR01 – Nissan 176 25 Laps 7
18 44 Run P2 Manor LYNN Alex Oreca 05 – Nissan 175 26 Laps 7
19 95 Run Pro Aston Martin Racing THIIM Nicki Aston Martin Vantage V8 174 27 Laps 5
20 51 Run Pro AF Corse CALADO James Ferrari 488 GTE 174 12.695 5
21 71 Run Pro AF Corse BIRD Sam Ferrari 488 GTE 173 28 Laps 5
22 67 Run Pro Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK PRIAULX Andy Ford GT 173 35.414 5
23 97 Run Pro Aston Martin Racing ADAM Jonathan Aston Martin Vantage V8 173 1:23.605 6
24 66 Run Pro Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK MUCKE Stefan Ford GT 172 29 Laps 6
25 77 Run Pro Dempsey – Proton Racing LIETZ Richard Porsche 911 RSR (2016) 172 33.448 5
26 88 Run Am Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing LONG Patrick Porsche 911 RSR 171 30 Laps 5
27 78 Run Am KCMG HENZLER Wolf Porsche 911 RSR 170 31 Laps 5
28 83 Run Am AF Corse AGUAS Rui Ferrari F458 Italia 169 32 Laps 5
29 86 Run Am Gulf Racing BARKER Benjamin Porsche 911 RSR 168 33 Laps 5
30 50 Run Am Larbre Competition RAGUES Pierre Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 164 37 Laps 6
31 98 Run Am Aston Martin Racing DALLA LANA Paul Aston Martin Vantage V8 84 117 Laps 2

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