Porsche wins World Endurance Championship drivers’ title
Webber, Hartley and Bernhard clinched the World Endurance Championship drivers’ title in a nail biting season finale in Bahrain.
The number 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard finished fifth overall at the 6 Hours of Bahrain, it followed reliability issues with their car which saw them pitting for repairs just half an hour into the race. After that the trio drove flat out to catch the very back of the pack, eventually crossing the line in fifth place with the trouble stricken Prototype which limped to the flag.
Crucially fifth place alone would not have been enough for the number 17 squad to snatch the championship crown from the best placed Audi trio of Lotterer, Tréluyer and Fässler, so it was down to the sister Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb to pass the Audi crew on the road, taking the lead and therefore the required championship points away from them. The victory for the number 18 919 Hybrid marked the long awaited first race win this season for Dumas, Jani and Lieb. Neel Jani said: “For us three this race win was overdue. We have been in P1 so often, but didn’t get the victory laurels for various reasons. It was a great relief to finally get it today.”
In 16 races Webber, Hartley and Bernhard have achieved six pole positions and four race wins together, the trio have now won the first Drivers’ World Championship title in each of their careers. Mark Webber said: “It’s the first World Championship for me – this feels beautiful. That’s not an easy thing to achieve, so to have won this title is very special. But to win it wearing a Porsche suit is even more special to me.”
In the end there were just five championship points separating Bernhard, Hartley and Webber from Lotterer, Tréluyer and Fässler in the final standings. It is 29 years since Derek Bell last won the championship for Porsche, and it comes in a year that has seen the team also claim the World Endurance Championship title for Manufacturers ahead of Audi and Toyota, quite an achievement for Porsche in only its second year of competition in the series.
The Porsche 911 RSR driven by Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet also scored its fourth GTE-Pro class win of the season, netting Porsche a further WEC championship in the shape of the GTE-Pro Cup for GT Manufacturers, beating Ferrari and Aston Martin. The Porsche Manthey squad secured the Trophy for GTE-Pro Teams, and Porsche works driver Richard Lietz convincingly defended his title in the Cup for Drivers.
Watch Porsche clinching a total of four WEC titles at Bahrain International Circuit: