WEC 2016 - Audi bows out of endurance racing with one-two glory in Bahrain to affirm its status as a motor racing legend
• Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb (N°2 Porsche 919 Hybrid) clinch the 2016 FIA WEC Drivers’ title.
Audi Sport’s domination of the 6 Hours of Bahrain began with Friday’s qualifying which saw the N°8 R18 of Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis earn pole position. The N°8 car then pushed home its advantage to lead Saturday’s race at the start, chased initially by the two Porsches before the N°7 sister Audi (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) successfully eased into second place. After that, the two R18s pulled clear of the pack and enjoyed their own duel around 50 laps into the clash. Jarvis momentarily succumbed to Lotterer’s pressure, but di Grassi recovered top spot shortly afterwards after the N°8 car’s next refuelling halt. The two Ingolstadt prototypes went on to secure a resounding one-two finish, pursued over the finish line by the N°1 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) and the two Toyota TS050-Hybrids.
Audi is leaving endurance racing after 18 years in the sport which will turn over a fresh page in 2017. After its successful time at Le Mans from 1999 to 2005, Audi revolutionised racing by campaigning the first diesel Prototype 10 years ago. As it lay down the foundations of its own legend, Michelin was at its sides to stay apace with the ensuing evolution of the cars. We are very proud of the everything we achieved together. We shared an extremely intense sporting, technological and human adventure with Audi which will be remembered for the unique expertise it injected into the discipline. In the name of Groupe Michelin, I would like to thank Audi, Doctor Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi Sport Team Joest and all the drivers who appeared in its colours. Hopefully, we will be back working with them very soon in order to continue enhancing mobility for the future together.
Sixth place after an early collision while overtaking an LM GTE car was enough for this year’s Le Mans victors Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb (N°2 Porsche 919 Hybrid) to add the 2016 FIA WEC Drivers’ crown to their season’s record.
A big ‘bravo’, too, to Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb who have added another world title to the records of both Porsche and Michelin this year after the FIA WEC Manufacturers’ crown was wrapped up in China.
The 6 Hours of Bahrain also saw Ferrari make sure of the LM GTE Pro class’s Manufacturers’ title ahead of Aston Martin by finishing second and third on Saturday.
I would like to congratulate our three LM GTE Pro partners as well,” concluded Pascal Couasnon. “Ferrari fully deserved the Manufacturers’ title, Ford produced a resounding success at Le Mans and Porsche presented its exciting new 911 RSR for 2017 in the paddock at Sakhir International circuit this weekend.
Last but not least, the Italian outfit AF Corse collected the FIA LM GTE Am Trophy thanks to the outstanding 2016 campaign of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas in the N°83 Ferrari F458 Italia.
The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship will resume next March with the pre-season Prologue at Monza, Italy.