Nov 19

WEC: Audi take emotional final win; Porsche’s Dumas, Jani and Lieb crowned World Champions (updated, +photos)

Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain – The Le Mans winners are the new World Champions

The Le Mans winners are the new World Champions The final round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship was an emotional one at the Bahrain International Circuit, with champions crowned, farewells to firm friends, and drama along the way.  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).

Flagworld photo album

The final round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship was an emotional one at the Bahrain International Circuit, with champions crowned, farewells to firm friends, and drama along the way.  Below are the key headlines:

  • Lucas Di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis take second win of season to end Audi endurance era on an unforgettable high
  • Marcel Fässler, Benoit Tréluyer and André Lotterer complete perfect send-off for German manufacturer with dominant 1-2
  • No.2 Porsche 919 Hybrid trio of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani take FIA World Endurance Drivers’ title after sixth place finish, despite contact with KCMG Porsche in second hour

The complete article here on fiawec.com


source: fiawec.com


The Le Mans winners are the new World Champions

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!”

Quotes from the World Champions:
Romain Dumas (38): “For sure it cannot get better than ending the season as a world champion. This is what you dream of at the beginning of the year. I think a lot of this success comes from great teammates and a great team with excellent engineers. Everybody works hard. Even if we didn’t always have the results we wanted, we still did a good job. We were constantly there, and this is also important in endurance racing.”

Neel Jani (32): “Le Mans and the world title – this was really an incredible year that I will never forget. There is nothing better than winning both in one season. After Le Mans, we struggled a bit, but at the end we did it. And that is everything that counts.”

Marc Lieb (36): “It was a difficult year. After our win in Silverstone and our dramatic victory in Le Mans – which was vital for our championship hopes – we experienced a lot of bad luck. We didn’t manage any more wins, but instead had to settle for collecting points as best as we possibly could. That’s why it is especially sweet to walk away with the title. Again Porsche has won virtually everything this year: the Le Mans 24 hours, the Manufacturers’ Championship and the drivers’ title. It is a good feeling that we were able to contribute to these successes. As a Stuttgart native that makes me especially proud. To do it with Porsche is a dream that has come true today.”

The World Champions at a glance:
Romain Dumas…
… can never get enough. A full season in the FIA World Endurance Championship as a Porsche works driver, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is simply not enough for the Frenchman. In between he fights his way through the Dakar Rally, tackles rounds of the World or European Rally Championship. In 2014 and again in 2016 he clinched the overall win at the famous Pikes Peak hill climb in Colorado (USA) in a prototype. “I blow all the money I make as a works driver on my private events,” admitted the man from Alès in the south of the French Cevennes.

What else could he have become but a racing driver? He grew up with Porsche. His father drove a Porsche in the European Hill Climb championships. “When I was a little boy, my father sat me in a Porsche 962 Le Mans racing car. He closed the door and I thought: Wow, is this an aeroplane?” Like father, like son: Romain and his partner Elysia welcomed little Gabin to their family on 09.11.2013 and Romain’s passion is being passed on to his little son. In one of Romain’s photos, the youngster stands on the driver’s seat of a 911 race car clutching the steering wheel.

Romain Dumas has clocked up eight overall wins at 24-hour races, the latest one being this year’s Le Mans success with the Porsche 919 Hybrid. In 2010 he won Le Mans in an Audi together with Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller. He has won four 24-hour races at the Nürburgring-Nordschleife and two at the Spa circuit with Porsche. Now he is world champion for the first time.

Romain calls Le Mans his second home. He won a young talent competition here at the age of 16 – and stayed on. He went to school in Le Mans, made new friends, found sponsors and passed his driving test. Every year since then he has been collecting his racing licence from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the organiser of the 24-hour race. Le Mans is always different, always dramatic. This is where the Mediterranean character meets the Atlantic low pressure trough. It tends to rain heavily and persistently at the 24-hour race. Dumas knows every inch of it. 2016 was his 16th time there. “Le Mans is always going to be the greatest,” he said. “Yes, you have to be fast. But you also have to be a team player, careful with the car, and you need the best team. If just one of these aspects is missing, it’s not going to work.”

Neel Jani…
… believes in karma. He is convinced that in 2016 he got back what he had given before. The Swiss driver with Indian roots lives up to the image of what a race car driver used to be – more bon vivant than robot, more casual than driven. At least that’s what he’s like outside the cockpit.

Heading out on weekends in a Porsche has always been his passion. “I have wonderful childhood memories,” said Jani. “On Sundays my sister Reena and I would climb onto the back seat of my father’s 911 RS 2.7 and he would take us out for a drive. These trips were real highlights for us. Unfortunately later we had to sell the car, because my racing was so expensive.”

Neel Jani moved from Formula Renault, GP2 and the A1GP series to Formula One. In 2004 he tested for Red Bull Racing for the first time and in 2006 he was the third driver in the sister team, Scuderia Toro Rosso. He took part in testing and raced in the American Champ Car series as well as the A1GP series. In 2008 he was a guest starter in the Porsche Supercup. “Unfortunately I did not get to finish the race,” he recalled, “but I got to drive a 911 GT3 RS for a fortnight beforehand. That was quite something for me as a 24-year-old. The car has so much power and the steering is so precise – an impressive performance.” He likes precision and calculation. The question as to what he would have done for a living if he hadn’t become a racing driver yields an unexpected answer: “An accountant. I like numbers.”

In 2009 he started in Le Mans for the first time and since then has done so every year – including 2013 with Rebellion in the LMP1 class. In 2011 he won the Le Mans Series with the Swiss team, and in 2012 he narrowly missed the Le Mans podium when he came in fourth. In 2012 and 2013 he took victory in the ten-hour race in Road Atlanta, better known as “Petit Le Mans”. Since June 2013 he has been a Porsche works driver. “It was an outstanding opportunity, being involved in the LMP1 programme from the very start,” he said. “The level of technology and drivers in the WEC is world class, and when I think Porsche, I think racing cars. Everything fits together.”

Does he miss Formula One? “Not at all, because things always work out as they should. I’m happy to have good memories.” He married the most beautiful of those: Lauren from Indianapolis. Obviously, good karma can lead to good things even if you are only involved in practice on a Friday during a Grand Prix weekend and have the rest of the time off.

Marc Lieb…
… is the driver trio’s insistent analyst. At the age of 20 the Stuttgart native won the Porsche Junior driver selection. Since then he has been celebrating Porsche successes around the world, including six overall wins in 24-hour races: four times on the Nürburgring, once in Spa, in 2016 in Le Mans. That day in June, a life’s dream came true for him. Since 2003 he has been racing in Le Mans and has enjoyed a string of GT class victories. Since the 2014 season he has competed in the top category LMP1 with Porsche. Now he is a world champion.

Marc’s family name translates as ‘endearing’ and this is how he comes across. Racing at exotic locations around the globe has never changed his down-to-earth attitude. He wants to pass on to his two sons what he has experienced. With his father, a qualified car mechanic at Porsche, they would travel to go-kart tracks in their VW van. Later father and son would get the last milliseconds out of battered single-seater racers. A more modern car was simply not an option, and neither was any major damage to the car. He learned to take care of the material. But he still had to be fast. Can there be a better training for an endurance driver?

After being selected as a Porsche Junior, he promptly won the Carrera Cup Germany and was promoted to works driver. But Marc Lieb wanted more strings to his bow. He enrolled at the Esslingen technical college to study automotive engineering. After seven semesters and a thesis on differential locks, he earned his degree as an automotive engineer. While he was studying, he won international GT2 titles and took victories on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife. He married, and the first of his two sons was born. Marc Lieb’s life seems to be a string of contradictions. The colourful and glamorous world of racing in the USA on the one hand and the return to his young family back home on the other. His passionate, competitive spirit as a driver versus sober analysis as an engineer. The combination of theoretical knowledge and practical vehicle control release a fascinating potential for the sports car manufacturer Porsche.

After graduating, he worked part-time in the Porsche Performance Department. Two of the vehicles he has been involved with are the 911 GT3 R Hybrid and the 918 Spyder. In 2013 he set a track record on the Nürburgring-Nordschleife with the super sports car – under seven minutes in a production-spec vehicle. Also the LMP1 programme fascinates him from both, the racing and the engineering perspective: “The speed of development is amazing, the young engineers are passionate. Whenever we drivers question something, they’ll come up with a solution.”



Podium finish and title win for Porsche in a highly emotional finale

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.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Le Mans winners, manufacturers’ and drivers’ champions – for the second consecutive year we have achieved all our goals. That is an immense joy for us as the Porsche Team. I congratulate our three world champions Marc, Neel and Romain as well as the crew of car number 2. This car has been the only one of all LMP1 entries that hasn’t spent a single second inside the box with technical problems during the 2016 races. We are now looking forward to the celebrations. And, after a short pause for a rest, we will start flat out with the preparations for 2017.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 1
Timo Bernhard (35, Germany): “My start wasn’t too bad. Neel came on the inside and, of course, I left him room to overtake. We were about the same speed and neither of us was quick enough to catch the Audi, but clearly we beat Toyota. For us it was very important to hand over the car to Mark at the end and enable him to do the last laps, and we wanted to be together with him on the podium for one last time. This was a very emotional day, too much to put it into words.”

Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand): “My first stint after Timo and Mark had been driving went pretty cleanly. I had Kazuki Nakajima behind me and it was a bit tricky with the traffic, but it came out okay. Regarding the Audi, we were hoping to get closer when it was getting cooler, but it didn’t work out today. They deserved the victory in their last race. And for Mark and us it worked out, as we got onto the podium in his last race. We did our maximum today, and it is really very sad to see him go.”

Mark Webber (40, Australia): “I was the second and the last driver in the car today, and pretty happy with both stints. Early in the race I had a nice little fight with the number 5 Toyota. I managed to get passed him and tried to pull away, but we didn’t have enough pace to fight the Audi. Then for the final stint it was pretty emotional putting my helmet on for the last time. I enjoyed the last stint and I got the chance to bring the car to the chequered flag for the top three finish, and this was the maximum we could get today. It has been such an incredible three years for me with Porsche, together with Timo and Brendon and the whole team. Nothing is forever, I’m stopping at a good time and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again soon.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 2
Romain Dumas (38, France): “For us the chance for a podium was over after one hour into the race. After Neel had contact with another car our 919 felt strange. We had a little oversteer everywhere. But, because of the championship situation, we didn’t have to push. For us it was important to finish the race reliably and avoid any mistakes – I’m relieved it worked out.”

Neel Jani (32, Switzerland): “It was a promising race start. It was also hard work, because I frequently got into traffic in the worst places, but the strategy and the first pit stop went very well. Then when I was on my out lap a GT car just hit me, which caused damage to a rear tyre and bodywork. After the repairs the car wasn’t great anymore and we had no chance to close the huge gap to the front. All we could do was hope the number 6 Toyota would not win and make sure that we would not take any risks on track.”

Marc Lieb (36, Ludwigsburg): “For me it went pretty smoothly, and I was just carrying the car round the track. Since the hit when Neel was driving early in the race, the steering wheel wasn’t straight anymore. Our 919 wasn’t in the best shape in the end, but we rolled it home, and we just made it.”


source: porsche.de


Alpine grabs a podium in the land of a thousand and one nights!

  • Having already secured the LMP2 category world title, the no.36 Signatech-Alpine ended the 6 Hours of Bahrain in third place.
  • This was seventh podium in nine races for Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Stéphane Richelmi!
  • In the no.35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine, Paul-Loup Chatin, Ho-Pin Tung and David Cheng delivered a solid performance. They finished the race in sixth position.

Tomorrow, a rookie test day will be held ahead of the official FIA World Endurance Championship prize-giving ceremony.

Right from the word go, the Signatech-Alpine showed in qualifying that it was going to be on the pace this weekend. Following the demotion of the no.26 G-Drive, Gustavo Menezes and Stéphane Richelmi secured the no.36 crew’s second pole position of the season, whilst Paul-Loup Chatin and David Cheng finished seventh in the LMP2 class in the no.35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine.

The 6 Hours of Bahrain got underway on Saturday at 4pm local time, just as sunlight was beginning to fade. When the lights went out, Gustavo Menezes raced away in front. The Californian moved several lengths clear with an authoritative start, before then keeping his rivals at bay throughout his double stint.

With Paul-Loup Chatin behind the wheel, the early stages of the Baxi DC Racing Alpine’s race were equally solid. The Frenchman moved up to sixth place before handing over to Ho-Pin Tung, just as Nicolas Lapierre took over from Gustavo Menezes in the no.36 car.

On his first stint, the Frenchman noted a drop-off in performance. However, thanks to the driver’s talent, the no.36 Signatech-Alpine held onto the lead until the halfway stage of the race.

Meanwhile, Ho-Pin Tung produced a stunning performance in the no.35 car. During his triple stint, the Chinese driver fought up to second place. He then handed over to David Cheng, whilst Stéphane Richelmi took over from Nicolas Lapierre.

Like his team-mate, Stéphane suffered from a lack of grip with his tyres. The Monegasque limited the time lost as much as possible but he dropped back to fourth place.

For the final hour, Nicolas Lapierre resumed driving duties. He produced a superb effort on fresh rubber to sneak into the podium places with twelve minutes to go!

Similarly, Paul-Loup Chatin was handed the task of finishing the race after David Cheng’s double stint. He brought home the Baxi DC Racing Alpine in sixth place.

Bernard Ollivier, Alpine Deputy Managing Director: “The race reflects our season to some extent, where in the first half we controlled the situation perfectly, with a successful strategy, then we had an issue which forced us to go on the defensive. We saw that the whole team managed to take a step back, react and then go after the podium spot. That goes to show that you have to know both how to win races and pick up points in the minor places, which always count at the end of the season.”

Philippe Sinault, Signatech-Alpine Team Principal: “For the moment, we don’t know why we had difficulties after Gustavo Menezes’ double stint. All of a sudden, Nicolas Lapierre began complaining about the car, with a lot of understeer and vibration at the rear. It could be a problem on the car or as a result of the drop in temperature. And yet, we were very fast in similarly cool conditions in free practice. We had said we would finish the season on a high and that’s what we have done. The no.36 spent more laps in the lead than any other car and we fought hard to secure a place on the podium. We can’t be disappointed after such a great season. The Baxi DC Racing Alpine had a very good race, varying between second and sixth position. Ho-Pin and Paul-Loup were close to the quickest drivers and David enjoyed his best race of the year. He has made a big step forward recently.”

Paul-Loup Chatin: “I think we had found pretty much the ideal set-up for this race. We didn’t have as much tyre degradation as the no.36 and that allowed us to be aggressive. I enjoyed driving the car, especially during the final stint. But another car ran into me with five laps to go and I thought it was better to ease off and avoid running the risk off any further trouble. David and Ho-Pin both drove very well and it’s encouraging to finish in sixth place.”

Ho-Pin Tung: “We had a very good rhythm today, an improvement on the last two races. Our strategy was bold, because I did a triple stint. Obviously, we had to manage the tyres as a result, but everything went well since I was able to get up to second place! We’ve had our fair share of highs and lows this season, especially at Le Mans when mechanical issues ruined our hopes of a podium. But I’m pleased to finish the season on this positive note.”

David Cheng: “Generally speaking, I think we did a good job during what was a difficult race. As it has been all season, the standard was very high. It was extremely close right to the end and finishing in sixth place is a good way to round off the year. As the season has gone on, we have picked up a lot of experience and gone faster and faster. Overall, I’m happy with how things have gone.”

Gustavo Menezes: “To be honest, I’m a bit disappointed. After starting from pole position, my two stints were perfect and I managed to build up an eight-second lead. We thought that Nicolas was going to move clear, but he suddenly started losing a lot of time… We shouldn’t lose sight, however, of what a fabulous season we’ve had: we have won a lot of races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and we are world champions! It’s been an incredible first season for me in Endurance racing.”

Nicolas Lapierre: “During my first stint, I felt a huge drop-off in performance and we can’t really explain it as yet. We will analyse what happened, but it’s a bit frustrating to finish the season like this. Things were going really well and we thought we had a good chance of winning, but it wasn’t to be. That’s racing for you! It’s nonetheless our seventh podium of the season.”

Stéphane Richelmi: “It really wasn’t easy for me! I had two new tyres and two tyres that had already been used in qualifying, and I had to manage with them during both of my stints. I tried to keep a good rhythm whilst looking after my tyres, but it became more difficult as the race went on. We changed the strategy so that Nicolas was able to finish on fresh tyres and we managed to grab a podium spot. The main thing is the overall result, with our win at Le Mans and the LMP2 title.”

1. G-Drive Racing no.26 184 laps
2. RGR Sport by Morand no.43 +6.840
3. Signatech-Alpine no.36 +1 lap
4. Extreme Speed Motorsports no.31 + 1 lap
5. Extreme Speed Motorsports no.30 + 1 lap
6. Baxi DC Racing Alpine no.35 +2 laps
7. Manor no.45 +2 laps
6. SMP Racing no.37 +5 laps
7. SMP Racing no.27 +8 laps
9. Manor no.44 +9 laps

1. Signatech-Alpine no.36 199 pts
2. RGR Sport by Morand no.43 169 pts
3. G-Drive Racing no.26 165 pts
4. Extreme Speed Motorsports no.31 116 pts
5. Extreme Speed Motorsports no.30 78 pts
6. SMP Racing no.37 71 pts
7. Strakka Racing no.42 66 pts
8. SMP Racing no.27 62 pts
9. Baxi DC Racing Alpine no.35 42 pts
10. Manor no.44 28 pts


source: alpinecars.com


Sensational last-to-first victory in Bahrain for G-Drive Racing

G-Drive Racing ended the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship with an incredible LMP2 class victory at the season finale, the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Saturday (19 November).

The three-man line-up of Rene Rast, Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle started from the rear of the 31-car grid, but turned in the performance of the season to snatch a dramatic victory late in the race in their #26 ORECA 05-Nissan.

The win was the third straight WEC victory for G-Drive Racing, who are run operationally by the British JOTA Sport organisation, and the fourth in as many races including their title-winning success at the European Le Mans Series finale at Estoril in October.

The pace of the trio was evident during practice and qualifying and a fifth pole position of the year – the highest number of any LMP2 team in 2016 was duly secured by Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov.

While an minor post-qualifying technical issue forced Rast to start from the tail of the field, the German overtook 11 cars on the opening lap and had moved into the LMP2 top five by the end of his opening double-stint.

Excellent stints from Rusinov and Brundle brought the orange ORECA into contention for victory, despite an ill-timed full-course caution period contriving to lose Brundle – who had stopped under green-flag conditions a few minutes earlier – over 20 seconds to his key rivals.

Rast, who missed the previous WEC event in China to attend the birth of his son Liam, took over for the final 90 minutes of the race in fourth place and immediately set about closing in on those ahead of him.

Despite falling more than a minute off the lead following contact with a slower GTE Corvette, Rast never gave up and found himself on the tail of Filipe Albuquerque’s #43 RGR Sport machine with 20 minutes remaining.

Having gone wheel-to-wheel with the #43 car earlier in the race, Rast did not hesitate in slicing down the inside of his rival cleanly into Turn 1 with just a quarter of an hour left and pulling away to victory by seven seconds.

The result secured third place in the LMP2 Teams’ Championship – just five points away from second spot – and ensured Rusinov clinched the same position in the drivers’ standings.

Rast and Brundle, neither of whom have completed the full season with G-Drive, ended the season fifth and sixth. Briton Will Stevens, who deputised for Rast in the victorious Japanese and Chinese races, was confirmed in seventh place.

David Clark, Team Director
“What a great team effort today, especially from Alex (Brundle) who did a brilliant middle stint. I think it was this stint that gave us the track position which enabled Rene to attack at the end and get the lead from the RGR Sport car.

“The team showed great fortitude after the qualifying disappointment and one thing I know is that no-one on the team ever gives up. We showed real grit and determination to come from the back and it was a highly satisfying way to see the season out with three straight wins in the WEC and of course the ELMS title which we claimed last month.”
Roman Rusinov
“This was a really strong race victory for us. I like this track very much and it is one we can attack well with the car we developed through the week in the practice sessions.

“Starting from the back of the grid was a real challenge of course but we met the challenge and defeated it. I am very proud of our achievement today. A third win feels great and we have proved that we can be fast and consistent at a variety of tracks.”
Alex Brundle
“It was a tough race and it tested everyone in the team to the maximum but we showed our mettle and that we can do it from the back. It was a bit of an epic and a race in which we showed some really strong characteristics.

“The team were excellent in the pit stops and we never faltered at all. We have enjoyed three strong races where we have shown our strengths in strategy, fighting for positions and getting faster and faster as weekend’s ware on. I am delighted the team have ended the year in this fashion and it has been very satisfying to be part of these three wins.”
Rene Rast
“It is a great achievement to go from the back of the grid to winning the class. The start was not so easy even though I made some nice progress. Roman and Alex did some great work in the middle phase and then I was able to really attack at the end and overtake Filipe in to Turn One. I knew had to be decisive and I was. It feels great to get a win this season after we were so close earlier in the year. Thanks to the team and my teammates for a really enjoyable season.”

LMP2 Race Result – 6 Hours of Bahrain
1 Brundle/Rast/Rusinov                     G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan
2 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna         RGR Sport Ligier JS P2-Nissan
3 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi                Signatech Alpine A460-Nissan
4 Cumming/Dalziel/Derani                   ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
5 Dillmann/Gelael/van der Garde        ESM Ligier JS P2-Nissan
6 Chatin/Cheng/Tung                       Baxi DC Racing Alpine A460-Nissan

2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers – Final Standings

1 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi                    199
2 Albuquerque/Senna/Gonzalez                166
3 Rusinov                                                   162
4 Cumming/Dalziel/Derani                         116
5 Rast                                                         111
6 Brundle                                                      98

2016 FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams – Final Standings

1 Signatech Alpine                                          199
2 RGR Sport by Morand                                 169
3 G-Drive Racing                                             164
4 Extreme Speed Motorsports                         116
5 Extreme Speed Motorsports                           78
6 SMP Racing                                                    69
8 SMP Racing                                                    60


source: JOTA Sport, etra-promotion.com


Frustrating finale for Conway in Bahrain

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

Conway and his teammates, Stéphane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi, began the race with an outside chance of claiming the drivers’ World Championship but a fifth-place finish was not enough to overhaul the Porsche #2 crew of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.

This result meant that the #6 TOYOTA crew finished the season a creditable third in the drivers’ standings, 15 points behind the eventual champions.

Conway and his team started Saturday’s race from the third row after having their fastest lap in qualifying deleted for exceeding track limits. The 33-year old driver was disappointed yet respectful of the steward’s decision.

“I had a really good lap and I got the maximum out of the car. It’s just a pity it got deleted; I thought it was okay but I respect the decision. I felt we had a chance to get on the front row but that’s life. We have good race pace so we can still get a strong result; we will keep pushing flat-out.”

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 Sébastien just behind in the sister car.

The Porsche #2 suffered a puncture after almost one hour, elevating the #6 car to 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, Mike followed 38.685secs later to complete a frustrating weekend.

“It was a tough day really. We thought it would be very close and we would be able to fight but Audi were so strong, it was impressive. Congratulations also to the Porsche #2 guys. Towards the end of the race it got really difficult with so much rubber stuck in the front of the car; I lost a lot of front grip. The team has plenty to be proud of this season so we will look back on the positives.”

This weekend’s race represented Audi’s final appearance in the championship. The Toyota 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.

Toyota Team President, Toshio Sato shared in the team’s disappointment but also offered his congratulations to Audi on their performance and to Porsche on their winning season.

“We were hoping for more from this race. We gave everything to stand on the podium again but our speed was not enough compared to Audi’s exceptional performance. Not only was this the final race of a tough season but today we also said goodbye to a great competitor. We will miss competing as three manufacturers in LMP1. Congratulations to Audi for bringing their WEC era to an end with a deserved victory, and congratulations also to the Porsche #2 drivers on becoming World Champions. We will now focus on 2017, when we will come back stronger and ready to fight at the front.”

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.


source: markblundellpartners.com


Late Drama Prevents Pierre And Larbre Competition From Podium Finish In Bahrain

Pierre Ragues and the Larbre Competition team were among the GTE-Am pacesetters in the 6 Hours of Bahrain today but an incident in the closing 75 minutes of the race prevented an almost certain podium finish.

Pierre was once again joined by Ricky Taylor and Romain Brandela in the #50 Corvette C7.R, and the trio were on competitive form all weekend. From the opening free practice session on Thursday, they established themselves as favourites for the podium – if not for the GTE-Am victory.

Bahrain’s 5.471km layout, adorned with impressive trackside lighting, allows for a special day-into-night format, meaning practice was crucial to find the best car set-up across both hot and cooler track conditions. The stunning sunsets that are typical of the Bahrain 6 Hours offered an appropriate backdrop for the final race of the FIA WEC season.

Completing 72 laps on Thursday, Pierre was quickly up to speed and Larbre ended the day second in class. They continued that pace on Friday morning with 23 laps in third practice. Ricky and Romain were on qualifying duties. The average of their respective best lap times was good enough for third on the grid, setting them up nicely for the race.

Ricky took to the cockpit for the start of Saturday’s race, and he got a fantastic start to lead GTE-Am on the opening lap. It was a fitting start on the occasion of team boss Jack Leconte’s birthday! Ricky extended his lead in the opening hour before handing over to Romain. With tricky traffic and close battles, the team dropped a few positions as the race intensified.

Pierre started his opening stint with four hours to go and was immediately on the leading pace. Gaining on the top-three, Pierre closed the gap and pulled out his trademark fighting spirit to claim third before handing back over to Ricky. A Full Course Yellow was not ideally timed and the team lost a lap.

Still firmly in the fight for the podium with two hours to go, he took third with a sublime pass ahead of Romain’s next stint. Emerging in fourth place, the charge resumed but with 1h15 remaining, an LMP2 car made contact, causing damage that forced him to pit. The team worked exceptionally quickly to identify the problem as a broken tow link, losing just nine minutes in the pits. Romain returned to the track in order to complete his mandatory time in the car. He soon handed back to Pierre, who was straight back on the pace, and continued to show the team’s full potential until the chequered flag, finishing the race fifth in class.

Pierre commented: “It’s disappointing that we haven’t been able to finish this season on the GTE-Am podium, where we definitely belonged today. The pace of the car was strong, the work of our team was perfect and all us drivers performed at our best. My personal stints were very fast and I was happy to be among the quickest in GTE-Am. We could have finished on the podium today, and we were even in the fight to win in the early stages. It just wasn’t to be. These things happen in endurance racing, and we have to remain positive at what we have achieved this season. We’ve taken podiums and shown ourselves to be real contenders in GTE-Am in every round. That makes me very proud, particularly in my first season in the category. I cannot thank the team enough, every single member, for their support. My partners Group Auto, Sparco and Ellip6 have been there every step of the way. I’m sorry we couldn’t give Jack a better birthday present, but we take many happy memories away from this season. Personally, I am now determined to look ahead to next season, to get my plans confirmed and – I sincerely hope – to be back in this incredible World Endurance Championship.”


source: pierreragues.com


Podium also in Bahrain for Joel Camathias: 2nd in WEC season-closer

The FIA WEC’s season of Joel Camathias has ended with another great result: the Swiss driver, together with team mates Christian Ried and Wolf Henzler on their Porsche 911 RSR of team KCMG, have conquered second in the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the ninth and last round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship.

The Lugano-born and his team mates have collected their fifth consecutive podium (the sixth, if we take into consideration the second position conquered on the track at the Nürburgring, but lost in the post-race verifications), ensuring the fifth position in the final standings of the very closely-fought LMGT-Am category.

In the Gulf race too, the KCMG Porsche has always been among the front runner, nearly missing victory, which eventually escaped when a full yellow course caught the car while in the pits.

Joel Camathias:

“We wrapped up the season on a high, with another podium finish and another great performance of the entire team and of the three drivers. It has really been a lively and exciting race that summarizes well the entire season. This time we really were close to winning, fighting until the end with our sister 911. What decided the race is a situation typical of long-distance races and out of our control: a full yellow course, which occurred when we were pitting and resulted in losing a lot of time. We weren’t lucky, but second is still a great result and we can only be happy of how the season went. The WEC has been again a terrific experience for me, and I hope I can repeat it in 2017.”


source: joelcamathias.com