It was a dream result for Audi Sport, when the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship was held in Bahrain.
The German brand announced 3 weeks ago, that this race would be their final one, and they gave themselves the perfect send off with a 1-2 victory with number 8 ahead of number 7.
Audi was leading from start to finish, but the positions changed several times between the cars. In the end it was Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval that grabbed the final Audi victory. Porsche #1 finished 3rd, so there was an opportunity to see Mark Webber on the podium one last time, in his final race.
It was Porsche #2 with Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani who took the title, even though they came in troubles already in the first hour. They made contact with the KCMG Porsche #78 that resulted in a puncture for the LMP1 car. They finished the race in 6th which was just enough to secure the championship.
Toyota Gazoo Racing had a very poor day at the office and only finished 4th and 5th, and were never really challenging Porsche or Audi at any stage.
Rebellion Racing #13 with Dominik Kraihamer, Alex Imperatori and Matteo Tuscher won among the privateers – both in the race and in the championship. Bykolles Racing Team #4 finished in 2nd in both the race and the championship.
G-Drive Racing #26 finished the season off with a victory in LMP2. A victory that Rene Rast, Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle had to fight hard for, since they started at the back after a rules breaking the qualifying, meaning they had to start dead-last due to a missing mesh in a brake duct. RGR Sport by Morand #43 finished 2nd while the champions in the category, Signatech Alpine #36 finished 3rd.
In GTE-Pro we saw Aston Martin Racing #95 with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen winning both the race and the championship for drivers. For a long time it looked like AMR #97 would win the race, but a lost wheel after a pitstop, meant that Jonny Adam had to drive a 3 wheeled car back to the pits. Instead it was AF Corse #51 and #71 who finished 2nd and 3rd and thereby took the constructors championship.
It was Danish victory in GTE-Am too with David Heinemeier-Hansson and Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing #88 won the race along with Patrick Long and local hero Khalid Al Qubaisi. They started far back in the field, but drove a steady ace and ended up being the winner ahead of KCMG #78 and the champions #83. Aston Martin Racing #98 was unlucky to retire with an engine failure from the lead of the race. That meant that Heinemeier-Hansson and Al Qubaise took second place in the championship. That was the 3rd championship trophy for Heinemeier-Hansson in 4 years in FIA WEC.
Now we just have to wait until the end of March, for the official test at Monza. There will be a lot new cars to look at, because the entire LMP2 field will have to run to the new rules. Furthermore there will be new teams on the grid, as well as some teams that we won’t see again. Of the changes that we know, Audi Sport are leaving LMP1, ESM Racing and Strakka Racing are leaving LMP2, while Rebellion Racing will leave LMP1 and instead compete in LMP2.