Audi Bows Out with a Win as #2 Porsche Claims WEC Title


Audi dominated the 6 Hours of Bahrain to take an emotional final win as an LMP1 manufacturer.

The German marque will cease its prototype racing activities at the end of 2016 after 18 years of success.

Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis finished 16.419 seconds ahead of the sister R18 driven by Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer having led from the start.

Meanwhile, Porsche drivers Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani clinched their first world championship with a quiet run to sixth.

At the end of the race there was an outpouring of emotion within the Audi garage and throughout the pit-lane, as the WEC community bade farewell to a golden era in motorsport history.

Audi led the race from start from finish, with Duval streaking into a big lead during his opening stint.

As Duval built his gap at the head of the field, Fassler moved up to second with a pair of overtakes on the two Porsches.

Audi’s strategy diverged at the start of the fourth hour during the only full course yellow of the race. Di Grassi, having taken over from Duval, elected to pit under the slow period for a splash of fuel.

The #8 crew eventually assumed the net lead of the race when Duval overtook Treluyer during the fifth hour, following a superb middle stint from Di Grassi who set the fastest time of the race on lap 106.

That set the order up until the finish, with Di Grassi taking hold of the final leg to the chequered flag.

Porsche’s #1 car driven by Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard took an equally significant third place result as Webber marked the end of his stellar professional racing career.

The 919 Hybrid never had the pace to match the Audis, and ultimately finished 1 minute 17 seconds adrift.

Fourth and fifth went to the #5 and #6 Toyota TS050s, which struggled to challenge the rival LMP1 manufacturers beyond the opening stint.

A lonely sixth place finish for the #2 Porsche driven by Dumas, Lieb and Jani was enough to claim the world drivers’ championship despite losing a lap to a puncture in the first hour following contact with a GT car.

In LMP1 privateer, Rebellion Racing delivered the final class victory for the R-One chassis, with Dominik Kraihamer, Matheo Tuscher and Alex Imperatori finishing 10 laps down on the overall winner.

Audi rounded off its remarkable prototype story in typical fashion (Credit: Craig Robertson/Speed Chills)

LMP2 saw G-Drive Racing take an emphatic victory from the back of the grid after its pole position time was deleted post-qualifying.

Rene Rast made the crucial overtake on RGR Sport’s Filipe Albuquerque with 14 minutes to go, giving the Jota-run squad its third consecutive victory.

Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle put together clean stints during the middle of the race to set Rast up for the final push against the Mexican RGR squad.

Completing the class podium was the championship-winning Signatech Alpine which started from pole.

Aston Martin duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen dominated the GTE-Pro field to secure the marque’s first-ever WEC title.

The all-Danish Vantage finished 12.695s ahead of James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni in the best placed AF Corse Ferrari 488.

Bruni stole ahead of both Astons at the start, but Thiim and Darren Turner managed to get past before the close of the opening hour.

Turner and team-mate Jonny Adam recovered to finish fifth after the right-front wheel became dislodged in a frantic couple of minutes for the team during the third hour, which also saw Paul Dalla Lana retire the #98 Am effort with engine failure.

Third and fourth in the Pro category were the #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Sam Bird/Davide Rigon and the #67 Ford GT of Andy Priaulx/Harry Tincknell.

GTE-Am went the way of the Abu Dhabi Proton squad, which took victory by over a lap with its Porsche 911 RSR.

The class title – achieved for the second year in a row by Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas in their AF Corse Ferrari 458 – was confirmed when Dalla Lana retired his Aston Martin at the halfway mark.