This last FIA World Endurance Championship round of 2019, the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, was marked (*) by a one-two for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, the first win in the FIA WEC for the United Autosports team in the LMP2 class, a victory for Aston Martin in LMGTE Pro and for Team Project 1's Porsche in LMGTE Am.
The outcome in the LMP1 class was heavily influenced by a dust-up in the first meters of the race and a spin-out for Team LNT's #5 Ginetta (Team LNT's two non-hybrid Ginetta G-60-LT-P1 prototypes were both forced to retire). More or less directly affected by the incident the #1 Rebellion pole-sitter and the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid fell back in the classification, handing the lead to the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid. Though the Success Handicap foster competition on the track in the LMP1 class, competitors must also be reliable, consistent in the pacing of the driver line-ups, employ perfect strategy and execute flawless pit stops to be contenders for victory.
The #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid's win was all the sweeter given it was not a sure thing going into the race: "We were not happy with the set-up of the car after the free practice and qualifying session, even after adopting the set-up of our sister car, which functioned perfectly,'' admitted Mike Conway. He, along with Kamui Kobayashi and José María López, are in the lead of the provisional championship classification after five rounds.
After starting from pole position in LMP2, the #22 ORECA 07 fielded by United Autosports won the class.
The battle in LMGTE Pro was particularly heated between Aston Martin and Ferrari. The Porsches were quickly eliminated as contenders for victory following a flat tyre and suspension troubles for the new 911s. In the end, it all came down to pit stops. After the final refuelling, the #71 Ferrari incurred a penalty leaving pit lane, paving the way for the #95 Aston Martin.
Team Project 1 won the LMGTE Am class thankks to Keating-Ten Voorde-Bleekemolen.
Click for the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain provisional classification.
Tomorrow is the Rookie Test with five hours of track time, also at the Bahrain circuit.
The next round of Season 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship is in Austin, Texas on 23 February.
(*) ahead of the official race classification publication
PHOTO (Copyright 2019 - Tim Hearn/AdrenalMedia.com): The Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain ended in a fireworks show to mark the last round of the year for Season 8 of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The next race is the fifth round in Austin, Texas in February.