Aston Martin seals the deal for FIA GT titles with Porsche wins in Bahrain
The LMGTE categories provided plenty of drama and action throughout the 8 Hours of Bahrain and ultimately all three GT manufacturers took home victory laurels in this final round of the 2019-20 FIA World Endurance Championship.
The No.92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of outgoing GT Champions Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen had a dominant run to victory in the always closely-contested class, finishing just 2.8 seconds ahead of the sister Porsche GT Team No.91 entry to make it a 1-2 for the German manufacturer.
It was Porsche’s first GTE Pro victory in Bahrain since 2015 and the win takes it past the milestone of 50 victories in the WEC. The result also means that Porsche finishes second in the FIA GTE Manufacturers championship.
Third in class went to the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, the duo upholding Ferrari honour after the title-contending No.51 Ferrari of James Calado and Daniel Serra – subbing for an absent Alessandro Pier Guidi – struck misfortune. Just after the halfway point in the race Serra had contact with a GTE Am car and the resulting puncture caused left rear damage. Although the repairs were rapidly carried out, they were 4 laps behind and went on to finish a lonely 6th in class.
Despite a tough race thanks to an ill-timed Full Course Yellow and overheating brakes which necessitated a disc and pad change after 4 hours, 5th place in the GTE Pro class was enough for Aston Martin Racing’s jubilant Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen to secure the FIA GTE World Endurance Drivers Championship.
It’s a first full FIA World Championship title for the Danish duo but the second time they have taken the title for the category – the first being the FIA World Endurance Cup in 2016. Aston Martin Racing sealed the FIA GT Manufacturers Championship following victory in Le Mans in September.
The No.97 Aston Martin entry of Maxime Martin and Richard Westbrook – the latter standing in for Alex Lynn for this round – finished a lap ahead of the Dane Train, and the 4th place saw Belgian Martin take 2nd in the Drivers’ final classifications. This entry also suffered overheating brakes and also had to pit for new brakes.
Although AF Corse Ferrari had a tough time in the Pro category, it all came good for them in GTE Am after an exciting race which saw multiple different names at the top.
Second place for the No.83 488 GTE EVO of Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Nicklas Nielsen and a less than perfect race for points leader TF Sport saw them take the 27 points on offer for the 8-hour race and wrap up the FIA World Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am. It is Perrodo and Collard’s second title and a first for Nielsen in the WEC.
The GTE AM trophy goes to @Project1_93 with an outstanding effort by Egidio Perfetti, @LarrytenVoorde and @matteo_cairoli. One more to display in the cabinet. BRAVO!#WEC #8HBahrain pic.twitter.com/eYkfvY9nJV— WEC (@FIAWEC) November 14, 2020
Claiming a final win for the outgoing Porsche 911 RSR was the No.56 Team Project 1 of Egidio Perfetti, Larry ten Voorde and Jörg Bergmeister, the tall German making his first WEC appearance this year in place of Matteo Cairoli. It was Perfetti’s third win of the year and ten Voorde’s second, his last coming a year ago in Bahrain.
Third in class was the No.88 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche of Emirati Khaled Al Qubaisi, Jaxon Evans and Marco Holzer.
Pre-race title pretenders, the No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam, were also hampered by the same braking issues as the Pro entries and lost too much time. They finished just one laps behind but back in 8th place in the well-populated category.
The majority of the race was held under Bahrain International Circuit’s impressive floodlights, finished at 10 pm local time.
Thank you to all competitors for a great Season 8 which has been stretched out over 15 months due to the global pandemic and which has required determination, commitment and a great many PCR tests to see it through to the finish!
See you all in March 2021 for the start of Season 9.
Race results can be found HERE
Championship results can be found HERE