Bahrain WEC: Toyota #7 wins race to claim title

The #7 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez won the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain, beating the sister #8 car by over a minute in the winner-takes-all decider.

The #8 Toyota was never in the hunt with the 0.54s performance penalty it was carrying under the LMP1 system of success handicaps. The gap between the two TS050 Hybrids would have been more than a lap but for a safety car period just after the halfway mark.

The neutralisation of the race all but wiped out a lead of just over a minute for the #7 Toyota.

Buemi briefly looked as though he might be able to mount a challenge after taking back the controls of the #8 early in the fifth hour, but dropped away from Conway during the second stint on a set of new Michelins.

Kobayashi and Nakajima took over their respective mounts for the run to the flag in the final race for the TS050 at the end of the LMP1 era, the margin between them standing at 1m04s when the chequered flag fell. 

Conway said: "I feel good. It's been a long season with all that's going on in the world. To clinch this title is a huge credit to my teammates – they made me look good. It was a tough race, but we did what we had to do."

LMP2: JOTA claims one-two finish United dramas

The JOTA Sport squad finished one-two in LMP2, the Oreca 07 entered under the Jackie Chan DC Racing banner coming out on top in a thrilling battle with the sister car run under the team's own flag.

Gabriel Aubry barged past Antonio Felix da Costa with 10 minutes of the race to run to seal victory, together with Will Stevens and Ho-Pin Tung, on what looks certain to be the Jackie Chan-branded entry's final WEC race.

Da Costa, who shared the JOTA entry with Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez, had sneaked ahead of the sister car at the final round of pits but couldn't pull away from Aubry. When the reigning Formula E champion was baulked by a GTE Am Ferrari, Aubry made his bold move at Turn 10 and then sealed the position into Turn 11.

The Racing Team Nederland Oreca shared by Nyck de Vries, Giedo van der Garde and Frits van Eerd took third place. United Autosports, which wrapped up the P2 title with Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson at the Le Mans 24 Hours in September, ended up nearly half a minute behind in fourth after being in hunt for the first five hours.

An undisclosed fuel glitch, which meant Paul di Resta was slow into the pits at the same stop that he took a five-second penalty garnered by Albuquerque for causing a collision, dropped them out of contention.

GTE: Porsche wins, Aston earns title

Porsche finished one-two in GTE Pro as Aston Martin duo Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen claimed the drivers' title to go with the manufacturers' crown that the British manufacturer sealed at Le Mans.

Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen took victory in the factory Porsche 911 RSR by 2.8s from the sister car of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz after leading for much of the duration. A distant third place went to the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of David Rigon and Miguel Molina, who ended up more than a minute behind the Porsches.

Thiim and Sorensen were in the hunt at the beginning of the race until losing time in a full-course yellow virtual safety car and then dropped out of contention with a brake issue that afflicted all four Vantage GTEs in the race. They eventually ended up two laps in arrears in fifth place, which was more than enough to give them the crown ahead of Maxime Martin, who finished fourth in the sister Aston with Richard Westbrook.

James Calado lost an outside chance of the title when his teammate in their AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, Daniel Serra, tagged a GTE Am and suffered a broken wheel.

The GTE Am title went to Emmanuel Collard, Nicklas Nielsen and Francois Perrodo, who overhauled an eight-point deficit to the drivers of the TF Sport Aston Martin. Second place behind the Project 1 Porsche of Jorg Bergmeister, Larry ten Voorde and Egidio Perfetti allowed them to leapfrog Jonny Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc in the final points.

The Aston drivers finished down in eighth after losing time to a change of front brakes at the start of the final hour.

Race results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Laps Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 263  
2 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 263  
3 37 China Ho-Pin Tung
France Gabriel Aubry
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 247 16 Laps
4 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 247 16 Laps
5 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07 LMP2 247 16 Laps
6 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Oreca 07 LMP2 247 16 Laps
7 36 France Thomas Laurent
Brazil Andre Negrao
France Pierre Ragues
Alpine A470 LMP2 246 17 Laps
8 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 235 28 Laps
9 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 235 28 Laps
10 71 Italy Davide Rigon
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 235 28 Laps
11 97 United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 234 29 Laps
12 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 233 30 Laps
13 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Netherlands Larry ten Voorde
Germany Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 232 31 Laps
14 83 France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 232 31 Laps
15 88 United Arab Emirates Khaled Al Qubaisi
Jaxon Evans
Marco Holzer
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 232 31 Laps
16 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 232 31 Laps
17 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Belgium Alessio Picariello
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 232 31 Laps
18 57 United States Ben Keating
Dylan Pereira
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 231 32 Laps
19 51 United Kingdom James Calado
Brazil Daniel Serra
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 231 32 Laps
20 77 Germany Christian Ried
Italy Riccardo Pera
Norway Dennis Olsen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 231 32 Laps
21 90 Turkey Salih Yoluc
Ireland Charles Eastwood
United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 231 32 Laps
22 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Portugal Pedro Lamy
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 231 32 Laps
23 62 United Kingdom Bonamy Grimes
Japan Kei Cozzolino
United Kingdom Colin Noble Jr.
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 231 32 Laps
24 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Andrea Belicchi
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Dallara P217 LMP2 231 32 Laps
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Toyota says #8 car can overcome handicap at Bahrain

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