Porsche's protest against GTE Pro title-winning Ferrari rejected

The FIA World Endurance Championship has rejected Porsche’s protest against the #51 Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi that clinched the GTE Pro title with victory in Bahrain 8 Hours.

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Porsche had lodged a protest after the title-deciding round of the WEC season in Bahrain, where its driver Michael Christensen was pitched into a spin by the chasing Ferrari of Pier Guidi with less than 15 minutes to go in the race.

Pier Guidi was initially instructed to hand back the lead to Christensen, but the order was rescinded shortly afterwards – although this didn’t become public knowledge long after the race was over.

According to a WEC bulletin, Porsche argued that the incident between Christensen and Pier Guidi’s #51 Ferrari was not reported to the stewards, with the decisions taken solely by race direction.

However, according to the same document, the clash between the two drivers was in fact investigated by the stewards, who made the decisions in accordance with the race direction. 

This was enough grounds to throw out Porsche’s protest, meaning Ferrari does get to retain the manufacturers’ crown, while Pier Guidi and James Calado keep the drivers’ title – although race results continue to remain provisional at the time of writing.

Porsche is allowed to appeal stewards’ verdict as per WEC’s regulations.

The late-race clash effectively ended what had been a titanic battle between Porsche and Ferrari, with their leading cars swapping positions a number of times over the course of the race.

The German manufacturer held the advantage heading into the final stages of the contest, with Kevin Estre in the #92 Porsche he shares with Neel Jani and Christensen passing Calado for the lead in the sixth hour.

Pier Guidi later mounted a comeback in the #51 Ferrari on fresher tyres, but was only able to pass Christensen after their collision at the final corner – which followed Filipe Albuquerque lapping them in the #22 United Autosports LMP2 car.

Pier Guidi did slow down to let Christensen through as per the stewards’ original order, only for the Porsche driver to head to the pits for a splash and dash.

The Ferrari driver himself pitted for fuel on the following lap and went on to take the chequered flag by just over three seconds, having been told the sanction had been revoked.

This was the second time a protest had been lodged by a GTE Pro entrant this week after Ferrari contested the two Balance of Performance changes made for the season-closing Bahrain races.

Ferrari’s protest was also unsuccessful.

Full verdict

The Stewards, having received a protest from the Competitor named below have considered the matter, and have come to the decision below.

The protest of Competitor Porsche GT Team is based on the violation of Art. 2b, chap. V of Appendix L of the ISC specifying that an incident which consists in pushing a car must be reported to the Stewards.

The Competitor claims that this was not the case and that the contact between car 51 and car 92 was not reported to the Stewards and that the decisions were taken soly by the Race Director.

In fact all the decisions related to the incident between car 51 and 92 in T14 were reported to the Stewards by the Race Director, investigated and taken by the Stewards in accordance with the Race Director. It was reported verbally and with video evidence.

Consequently the provisions of Annex L, chap. V, art 2b have been respected and the Stewards will reject the protest.

With reference to Art. 13.10.1 of ISC no part of the deposit will be returned.

The Competitor is reminded of his right of Appeal under and in compliance with Art. 16.1.6 of 2021 WEC Sporting Regulations, Article 15 of the International Sporting Code, and Art. 9.1.1 of the FIA Judicial and Disciplinary Rule.

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