For the second consecutive year Porsche has taken everything in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC): victory in Le Mans, winning the manufacturers’ world championship in Shanghai and now again the drivers’ world championship at the finale in Bahrain. In the last of nine WEC rounds in 2016 Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) came third, having started second on the grid with their Porsche 919 Hybrid.
The new world champions, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) only came sixth after contact with another car early in the race. Audi’s dominant one-two race result was an impressive farewell from the WEC.
The six-hour race started at 16:00 hrs with ambient temperatures near 30 degrees Celsius. After the sun had set at 16:45 hrs the air cooled down to 24 degrees.
How the race went for car number 1:
Bernhard starts from second on the grid and lets Jani in the sister car pass him on the first lap. On lap 13 the number 7 Audi also overtakes him, Bernhard is fourth now. After 29 laps he hands over to Webber, who manages to improve to third by overtaking the number 5 Toyota on lap 43. Hartley jumps in after 59 laps, and after 89 laps Bernhard takes over until Hartley is back in the car after 120 laps. Bernhard once again jumps in after 150 laps, before finally, after 180 laps, Webber goes in to enjoy the final stint of his racing career. After a total of 201 laps he brings the 919 home in P3.
How the race went for car number 2:
Jani improves on lap one from third to second. On lap 15 he is overtaken by the number 7 Toyota. Jani is third now in front of the sister Porsche. After 28 laps he has his first pit stop and continues. One lap later he has contact with a GT car and has to stop again: the damaged tyre and rear bodywork is changed. Now the number 2 Porsche is one lap down. After 60 laps Dumas takes over, after 91 laps it is Lieb’s turn, after 122 laps Jani is back behind the wheel and after 153 laps it is Dumas again. Lieb climbs into the car for the final stint to cross the line some 20 minutes later after 198 laps and becomes a world champion.
Quotes after the race:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Today’s race has shown what characterises the Porsche Team. It was able to handle a difficult race under huge pressure. I can only say thank you to all six drivers, every single team member and the Porsche board members, who have supported this programme right from the beginning. Also today at the track they have personally shown that they absolutely support the project. Congratulations to Audi for a well deserved victory today, and thanks for the great competition – we will miss you.