FIA WEC: Porsche Wins At Bahrain And Celebrates World Titles
Photo: Porsche

The FIA World Endurance Championship season finale took place at the Bahrain International Circuit. A recap of the first three hours can be found here. Here's the recap of the final three hours.

Fourth Hour

A full-course yellow period finished at the beginning of the fourth hour. Benoît Tréluyer of the No. 7 Audi Sport Team Joest entry had pitted during the full-course yellow and exited the pits just ahead of Marc Lieb of the No. 18 Porsche Team entry.

Once the track was back to green, Lieb overtook Tréluyer, though Tréluyer was able to come back on the same lap. Intense racing continued in the lead and about ten minutes later Lieb was able to overtake Tréluyer again and that time managed to retain the lead.

The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari was running in third place in the GTE-Pro class, though a loose wheel caused an additional stop and it fell to sixth place. That was a big blow to Ferrari's hopes of winning the GT manufacturers' title as they were only five points ahead of Porsche, whose two best cars were running first and fifth.

At about two hours, 25 minutes remaining, another full-course yellow was issued as Pierre Ragues in the No. 43 Team Sard Morand Morgan Evo hit the barriers at Turn 1. Many cars used the opportunity to pit without losing so much time, including the No. 18 Porsche and No. 7 Audi from race lead. As the No. 7 had pitted during the previous full-course yellow, it had a quicker refueling and could reduce the 10-second gap to the leading No. 18. However, once the race was back to green, Neel Jani at the wheel of the No. 18 Porsche could drive away from Tréluyer in the No. 7 Audi.

The No. 47 KCMG Oreca continued in LMP2 lead after the fourth hour and the No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey entry remained in GTE-Pro lead. The GTE-Am class had got a new leader during the fourth hour, the No. 77 Dempsey - Proton Racing Porsche.

Fifth Hour

20 minutes into the fifth hour, the LMP2 class had a lead change when Sam Bird of the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier overtook Richard Bradley of the No. 47 KCMG Oreca.

With platinum-rated Pedro Lamy at the wheel, the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing entry made it to GTE-Am lead while the No. 77 Dempsey - Proton Racing and No. 88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsches that were in 1-2 lead were running bronze-rated drivers.

With about one hour and 10 minutes of the race remaining, the No. 17 Porsche had to make another unscheduled pit stop from fifth place, and it was pushed into the garage. The car had a hybrid system failure that couldn't be fixed so it had to continue without hybrid power. It lost two more laps but remained still in fifth place, six laps ahead of the seventh place which would be enough for the drivers' title if the No. 7 Audi remained in second place.

Final Hour

The final hour saw no changes in the overall lead. Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb of the No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid took their first win of the season. Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, and Benoît Tréluyer of the No. 7 Audi finished second one minute, 25 seconds behind. Meanwhile, Mark Webber was able to nurse the No. 17 Porsche home in fifth place to win the World Endurance Drivers' Championship with Timo Bernhard, and Brendon Hartley. Retiring Alexander Wurz with Mike Conway and Stéphane Sarrazin claimed the third place for the No. 2 Toyota Racing entry.

No. 13 Rebellion Racing entry with Alexandre Imperatori, Dominik Kraihamer, and Mathéo Tuscher won the private LMP1 class by finishing 11th overall.

The No. 47 KCMG Oreca claimed back the LMP2 lead during the last round of pit stops. However, with just 15 minutes to go Sam Bird of the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan overtook KCMG's Nick Tandy and drove away to a class win in seventh place overall. No. 26 G-Drive Racing entry and its drivers Bird, Julien Canal, and Roman Rusinov also won the LMP2 teams' and drivers' FIA Endurance Trophies.

The No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR of Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet dominated GTE-Pro since the first hour and won the class. AF Corse's No. 51 Ferrari finished second in the class and No. 71 Ferrari sixth. That was enough for Richard Lietz of the fifth-placed No. 91 Porsche Team Manthey entry to win the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers as well as for the No. 91 team to win the GTE-Pro Endurance Trophy. Porsche also managed to turn a five-point deficit to Ferrari into a four-point win in the World Endurance Cup for GT manufacturers.

The No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, and Mathias Lauda won the GTE-Am class. The fifth-placed No. 72 SMP Racing entry and its drivers Aleksey Basov, Andrea Bertolini, and Victor Shaytar won the GTE-Am teams' and drivers' Endurance Trophies.