Double podium for Aston Martin after LMGTE Pro thriller in Bahrain
Bahrain International Circuit saw enthralling on-track battles in the GTE categories for round 4 of FIA WEC – the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain.
The LMGTE Pro class provided nose-to-tail race action between Aston Martin Racing and AF Corse Ferrari as both crews swapped position on numerous occasions throughout the eight-hour race. Aston Martin were the overall victors, however, as the No.95 Vantage V8 AMR of Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim finished 13.798s ahead of the No.71 Ferrari 488 GTE EVO driven by Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina.
During the race’s closing stages, a stop and go penalty for Ferrari proved monumental as Aston Martin were able to capitalise on its rival’s time penalty to reach the chequered flag first. The win marked Thiim and Sørensen’s second victory together in Bahrain and Thiim’s fourth in the Kingdom.
The No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage driven by Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn crossed the line third in LMGTE Pro, making it a double podium for the British-based team. Meanwhile, the No. 51 AF Corse car driven by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi claimed fourth – the crew forced to give a position back to the No. 97 crew following an earlier incident.
Meanwhile, Porsche had a difficult race with the No. 91 and No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR – 19 cars were both more than two laps down on the winning crews following lengthy pit stops during the race following damper and puncture issues.
Aston Martin’s dominance in Bahrain sees the marque catapulted to the top of the overall standings – nine points ahead of Porsche with 142 points.
No. 57 Team Project 1 storm to LMGTE victory
Team Project 1’s No.57 Porsche 911 RSR driven by its trio of drivers Ben Keating, Larry ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen stormed to a dominant victory in the LMGTE Am category.
America’s Keating led the charge after a phenomenal stint behind the wheel, ably supported by ten Voorde and Bleekemolen in the race’s final hours which fell to darkness. Keating’s three hour marathon at the start of the race undoubtedly assisted in the team pitting only seven times – unlike its competitors who averaged eight or nine.
Runner-up in LMGTE Am was the No.98 crew of Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn after the trio put in a stellar effort to bring the Aston Martin Vantage V8 37.327s behind the winning crew. A further 22.942s behind was the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR – the team fighting back from a spin and a drive through penalty to secure the final spot on the podium.
AF Corse Ferrari secured fourth and fifth with its pair of Ferrari 488 GTE EVO cars, the No. 83 crew finishing 20.275s ahead of the No. 54 sister car. Rounding out the top six was the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing car while its sister No. 88 car was forced to retire mid-race following an off-track excursion at Turn 14.
Seventh place was awarded to the No. 78 MR Racing Ferrari 488 GTE EVO ahead of Red River Sport and the No. 56 Team Project 1 entry.
Round 2 and 3 winners TF Sport were forced to retire in the final hour of the race, the British team taking a 71-minute pit stop earlier in the race as the Aston Martin Vantage AMR suffered both gearbox and fuel-related issues.
To view race results, click HERE.
To view the latest driver and championship standings, click HERE.