Audi finishes 1-2 as Webber lands Bahrain podium
Audi left the pinnacle of sports car racing with a quinella while Mark Webber retired from racing with a podium finish in the final round of the World Endurance Championship in Bahrain.
Amid a tumultuous finish, the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani collected the Driver’s Championship after finishing three laps down in sixth place.
In an emotion-drenched day, Audi ended its dominant 18-year run in the sport in a manner fitting of their 13 Le Mans 24-hour wins and two WEC manufacturer crowns.
The 6 Hour race saw respected Audi team boss Wolfgang Ullrich tearful before and after the chequered flag.
Audi dominated the finale from start to finish with the #8 R18 e-tron quattro of Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis winning from the #7 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer.
“It is with great pleasure that we, as a crew, we closed this door with a golden key for Audi,” said an emotional di Grassi.
“I feel upset that Audi and most of us will be leaving the WEC. What I am going to miss about the WEC is the people. It’s about the mechanics, the crew, the journalists. It is a sad moment for all of us.”
Webber jumped into the #1 919 Hybrid Porsche at the one-hour mark and soon drove it from fourth to third position, where it stayed for the majority of the race.
Porsche set up a fitting farewell for Webber, who now becomes an international ambassador for the German marque, by putting him behind the wheel for the final stint.
The #2 919 Porsche went into the event knowing it had to finish fifth or better to guarantee the drivers’ title, but things came unstuck early when a collision with a slower car punctured the left rear tyre and badly damaged the surrounding bodywork, forcing it into the pits.
Despite the misfortune, the car went on to finish sixth and that was enough to grab Porsche a second consecutive Drivers’ championship and bookend their Manufacturers’ title which they clinched in China two weeks ago.
“It has been a fantastic team effort,” said Lieb of the driver’s title.
“It has been up and down, but the reliability has been the key with the hard work in the garage.”
The win was another milestone for Australian engineer Jeromy Moore, who helped Webber’s team to the driver’s championship last year and the #2 Porsche to a Le Mans 24-hour victory in June.
Moore, who learnt his craft through more 10 years with Triple Eight Race Engineering’s V8 Supercar team in Brisbane, also played a valuable role in helping Porsche to their second consecutive Manufacturers’ title.x
The #6 Toyota of Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi needed to win the race to give themselves a shot at the drivers’ title, but they were never in the hunt and came in fifth.
VIDEO: Race highlights
RESULT: Bahrain 6 Hour
|1||8||Run||P1||Audi Sport Team Joest||DI GRASSI Lucas||Audi R18||M||201||1:47.413||1:41.511||191.9||7|
|2||7||Run||P1||Audi Sport Team Joest||FÄSSLER Marcel||Audi R18||M||201||16.419||1:44.550||1:42.634||189.8||6|
|3||1||Run||P1||Porsche Team||WEBBER Mark||Porsche 919 Hybrid||M||201||1:17.001||1:45.120||1:42.401||190.3||6|
|4||5||Run||P1||Toyota Gazoo Racing||BUEMI Sébastien||Toyota TS050 – Hybrid||M||200||1 Lap||1:46.054||1:42.867||189.4||6|
|5||6||Run||P1||Toyota Gazoo Racing||CONWAY Mike||Toyota TS050 – Hybrid||M||200||35.685||1:45.147||1:43.096||189.0||6|
|6||2||Run||P1||Porsche Team||LIEB Marc||Porsche 919 Hybrid||M||198||3 Laps||1:46.838||1:42.756||189.6||7|
|7||13||Run||P1||Rebellion Racing||IMPERATORI Alexandre||Rebellion R-One – AER||D||191||10 Laps||1:49.603||1:47.387||181.4||8|
|8||4||Run||P1||Bykolles Racing Team||TRUMMER Simon||CLM P1/01 – AER||D||187||14 Laps||1:51.001||1:48.975||178.8||8|
|9||26||Run||P2||G-Drive Racing||RAST René||Oreca 05 – Nissan||D||184||17 Laps||1:56.026||1:51.824||174.2||7|
|10||43||Run||P2||RGR Sport by Morand||ALBUQUERQUE Filipe||LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan||D||184||6.840||1:55.445||1:51.975||174.0||7|
|11||36||Run||P2||Signatech Alpine||LAPIERRE Nicolas||Alpine A460 – Nissan||D||183||18 Laps||1:57.103||1:51.768||174.3||7|
|12||31||Run||P2||Extreme Speed Motorsports||CUMMING Christopher||LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan||D||183||26.836||2:03.986||1:52.424||173.3||7|
|13||30||Run||P2||Extreme Speed Motorsports||VAN DER GARDE Giedo||LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan||D||183||1:09.164||1:54.439||1:52.287||173.5||7|
|14||35||Run||P2||Baxi DC Racing Alpine||CHATIN Paul Loup||Alpine A460 – Nissan||D||182||19 Laps||1:55.123||1:53.180||172.1||7|
|15||45||Run||P2||Manor||MERHI Roberto||Oreca 05 – Nissan||D||182||1:11.012||1:55.825||1:52.787||172.7||7|
|16||37||Run||P2||SMP Racing||PETROV Vitaly||BR01 – Nissan||D||179||22 Laps||1:59.739||1:54.098||170.8||7|
|17||27||Run||P2||SMP Racing||ALESHIN Mikhail||BR01 – Nissan||D||176||25 Laps||1:59.463||1:53.922||171.0||7|
|18||44||Run||P2||Manor||LYNN Alex||Oreca 05 – Nissan||D||175||26 Laps||1:54.600||1:52.336||173.4||7|
|19||95||Run||Pro||Aston Martin Racing||THIIM Nicki||Aston Martin Vantage V8||D||174||27 Laps||2:06.088||1:59.230||163.4||5|
|20||51||Run||Pro||AF Corse||CALADO James||Ferrari 488 GTE||M||174||12.695||2:01.413||1:58.995||163.7||5|
|21||71||Run||Pro||AF Corse||BIRD Sam||Ferrari 488 GTE||M||173||28 Laps||2:02.856||1:59.522||163.0||5|
|22||67||Run||Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||PRIAULX Andy||Ford GT||M||173||35.414||2:03.434||1:59.468||163.1||5|
|23||97||Run||Pro||Aston Martin Racing||ADAM Jonathan||Aston Martin Vantage V8||D||173||1:23.605||2:02.241||1:59.321||163.3||6|
|24||66||Run||Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||MÜCKE Stefan||Ford GT||M||172||29 Laps||2:02.255||1:59.615||162.9||6|
|25||77||Run||Pro||Dempsey – Proton Racing||LIETZ Richard||Porsche 911 RSR (2016)||M||172||33.448||2:05.477||2:00.360||161.9||5|
|26||88||Run||Am||Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing||LONG Patrick||Porsche 911 RSR||M||171||30 Laps||2:04.694||2:01.870||159.9||5|
|27||78||Run||Am||KCMG||HENZLER Wolf||Porsche 911 RSR||M||170||31 Laps||2:07.636||2:01.489||160.4||5|
|28||83||Run||Am||AF Corse||AGUAS Rui||Ferrari F458 Italia||M||169||32 Laps||2:14.424||2:01.844||159.9||5|
|29||86||Run||Am||Gulf Racing||BARKER Benjamin||Porsche 911 RSR||M||168||33 Laps||2:05.158||2:01.847||159.9||5|
|30||50||Run||Am||Larbre Competition||RAGUES Pierre||Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06||M||164||37 Laps||2:05.560||2:01.184||160.8||6|
|31||98||Run||Am||Aston Martin Racing||DALLA LANA Paul||Aston Martin Vantage V8||M||84||117 Laps||2:06.526||2:01.778||160.0||2|