Toyota and G-Drive win in Bahrain, Oak Racing takes LMP2 championship.
Toyota Racing took its first racing victory of the 2013 FIA WEC season at the close of the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the No.8 TS030 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin winning a race of attrition which saw set-backs for both the hybrid-powered LMP1 manufacturers, Toyota and Audi.
The British-Swiss-French line up took victory by 1m10s over the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler but both teams suffered mixed fortunes during the race, two-thirds of which was run in darkness at the magnificent Bahrain International Circuit.
An engine issue caused the retirement of the pole-winning No.7 TS030 Hybrid of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima just before the end of the second hour, while a drivetrain problem caused the unusual sight of an Audi retirement for the World Drivers’ Champions, Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish. Despite being unclassified for this 8th and final round of the 2013 FIA WEC season, the trio had secured enough points in Shanghai to be assured of the title.
Despite the LMP1 Privateer title being wrapped up some time ago by the uncontested Rebellion Racing, the Swiss team’s last race with the Lola-Toyota ended in spectacular fashion with an engine fire just before the clock hit 90 minutes gone. Nicolas Prost sensibly pulled off next to a fire marshal’s post to enable the flames to be extinguished quickly, but the incident forced the team into retirement.
In LMP2 G-Drive Racing’s No.26 ORECA 03 Nissan won its fourth race of the season in the hands of Roman Rusinov, Mike Conway and John Martin, but second in class for the No.24 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan of Olivier Pla, Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson was enough to give the French team the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams.
Fourth behind the No.41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN Nissan of Bjorn Wirdheim and accomplished FIA WEC newcomers Wolfgang Reip and Jon Lancaster was the No.35 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan. That result was all that was needed to give Martin Plowman, Bertrand Baguette and Ricardo Gonzalez the LMP2 Drivers championship title, and ensure that OAK Racing also took second place in the Team’s points’ battle.
A cascade of fireworks was released as the chequered flag flew for the final race of the 2013 season, and we now look forward with even greater anticipation to the start of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship on Sunday 20th April at Silverstone in the UK. See you there!