Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi secured the 2014 drivers championship, one race before the end of the season.
Toyota Racing won the Six Hours of Bahrain for its fifth victory of the FIA World Endurance Championship season as Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi secured the drivers’ title with a race to spare.
The #7 TS040 HYBRID of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway won its first race of the season with a fine performance, earning Toyota Racing’s fifth victory of the 2014 season. Davidson and Buemi finished 11th after losing time due to a technical issue but nevertheless become the 2014 drivers’ World Champions, holding an unassailable lead in the standings with only one race remaining.
That marks Toyota’s first drivers’ World Championship crown since Didier Auriol won the World Rally Championship in 1994.
Today’s result also strengthens Toyota’s hold on the manufacturers’ World Championship, extending the lead over Audi to 40 points with a maximum of 44 points available in the final race, in Sao Paulo on 30 November.
There was drama throughout the race, starting on the opening lap when Wurz and Buemi swapped positions with their rivals having started from fourth and second respectively. Despite losing ground at the first turn, the TS040 HYBRIDs soon asserted themselves and within seven laps the #8 had taken the lead thanks to some decisive driving from Buemi, while Wurz was in similar fighting mood as he moved into third. A brief full course yellow after 30 minutes gave both cars the chance to pit early for new tyres and more fuel. With the rest of the field circulating slowly, time lost in the pits was minimised and Buemi resumed in third with Wurz fourth.
Both soon moved up a place and, close to the one-hour mark, took over at the head of the field, running one-two and setting similarly competitive lap times to pull clear. After 90 minutes both cars pitted on the same lap, with just nine seconds separating them. Conway took the wheel of the #7 while Buemi handed over to Davidson, who resumed in the lead. That did not last however, with the #8 needing an unscheduled pit stop to change the alternator.
Attrition filled race
That elevated Conway in the #7 to the lead, while Davidson resumed 30 minutes later in 26th, 17 laps behind. A further short stop to confirm the new alternator was functioning correctly soon followed before Davidson continued with a mission to finish the race and wrap up the drivers’ World Championship.
The target for the #7 was different and Conway continued to stretch the lead, which stood at close to a minute when Sarrazin took over soon after half distance. Buemi returned to the wheel of the #8 and made steady progress, setting the fastest lap of the race early in his second stint as Sarrazin safely guided the #7 into the final hour before handing over to Wurz.
The #8 was rapidly rising up the order and lay 13th with 50 minutes remaining when Davidson took the wheel for his final stint. Both cars ran almost nose to tail during the final minutes, with Wurz leading them over the line to win in the #7 by 50.460secs, as Anthony took the flag to make it a double celebration for Toyota Racing.