WEC: Porsche Wins Driver’s Championship In Finale
Porsche claimed a podium finish and clinched victory in the 2016 FIA WEC driver’s championship at the season finale in Bahrain. The six-hour race proved a highly emotional one, witnessing the departure of Audi from the series and the retirement of Porsche Works driver, Mark Webber.
The final World Endurance Championship (WEC) race of 2016 got off to a good start for Porsche as Timo Bernhard took the first stint in the No1 919 Hybrid, from second on the grid he followed Neel Jani in the No2 car in the very early stages. Both Porsches were overtaken after just a handful of laps by the No7 Toyota, so now sat third (No2) and fourth (No1). At the first scheduled stops Webber took to the helm of the No1 car later improving to third spot, but it was drama for the No2 car that gained the most attention.
On lap 29, just one tour after its pit stop, the championship contending No2 car made contact with a 911 GT car suffering damage as a result, forcing it to pit with a locked left rear wheel. The team changed the heavily damaged wheel and tyre, and the car’s rear bodywork. It eventually emerged from the pit lane one lap down.
For the No1 car it was largely a case of making scheduled stops and cycling through the usual driver changes; Brendon Hartley jumped in the car after 59 laps, after 89 laps Bernhard took over until Hartley got back in after 120 laps. Bernhard once again took over after 150 laps, before finally, after 180 laps, Webber stepped in to enjoy the final stint of his professional racing career. It was much the same story for the No2 car; with Romain Dumas taking over after 60 laps, Marc Lieb after 91 laps, Jani slotting back in after 122 laps and Dumas after 153 laps. Lieb climbed into the car for the final stint.
After a total of 201 laps Webber brought the No1 919 home in P3, behind a dominant Audi one-two, Lieb crossed the line in P6 some three laps down on the leading prototype car, but it was enough to secure the 2016 driver’s world championship crown for the No2 squad. Andreas Seidl, Team Principal, said: “Le Mans winners, manufacturers’ and drivers’ champions – for the second consecutive year we have achieved all our goals. That is an immense joy for us as the Porsche Team. I congratulate our three world champions.”
The retiring Webber, commented: “It has been such an incredible three years for me with Porsche, together with Timo and Brendon and the whole team. Nothing is forever, I’m stopping at a good time and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again soon.”
New World Champion, Marc Lieb, said: “It was a difficult year. After our win in Silverstone and our dramatic victory in Le Mans – which was vital for our championship hopes – we experienced a lot of bad luck. We didn’t manage any more wins, but instead had to settle for collecting points as best as we possibly could. That’s why it is especially sweet to walk away with the title. Again Porsche has won virtually everything this year: the Le Mans 24 hours, the Manufacturers’ Championship and the drivers’ title. It is a good feeling that we were able to contribute to these successes. As a Stuttgart native that makes me especially proud. To do it with Porsche is a dream that has come true today.”
Porsche ends the 2016 season as manufacturer title victors, and it has secured the driver’s World Championship. The WEC series returns on 16th April 2017 at Silverstone.
Race result 6 Hours Bahrain:
|1.||Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis||Audi R18||201 laps|
|2.||Fässler /Tréluyer/Lotterer||Audi R18||201 laps|
|3.||Bernhard/Hartley/Webber||Porsche 919 Hybrid||201 laps|
|6.||Dumas/Jani/Lieb||Porsche 919 Hybrid||198 laps|
Final Drivers’ World Championship after nine out of nine rounds:
|2.||Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis||Audi R18||147.5 points|
Final Constructors’ World Championship: