Ferrari and Aston Martin drivers take World Championship titles in Bahrain
The 6 Hours of Bahrain, the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, delivered drama, excitement, great racing and – more crucially – World Championship titles for Ferrari and Aston Martin.
Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander in the AF Corse No.51 Ferrari won an intense LMGTE Pro battle through the hours of darkness and, in doing so, claimed the World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers. It is the Italian’s second World GT title but his first with his Finnish team mate, and Vilander's third consecutive victory in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The pair have been formidable competitors this year and used skill, strategy and sheer determination to secure four victories from the seven races held so far this season.
The Ferrari drivers’ victory today was not an easy one by any means and they were pushed hard throughout the six hours by the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke who came through to finish second, just 1.8 seconds behind. The British-German duo, on fresher tyres than the Ferrari, pushed them all the way to the line to take their third podium finish of the season – one of which was victory at COTA in September. However, the critical factor in the Ferrari’s victory was its ability to complete the race on one fewer fuel stop than its rivals – five as opposed to its rivals’ six.
Third across the line in the LMGTE Pro class was the No.71 AF Corse entry of Davide Rigon and James Calado and this result was crucial in helping AF Corse to clinch the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro Teams. However, with the two Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSRs finishing fourth and fifth in class, the points accrued by the manufacturer meant that the difference between Ferrari and Porsche is now 25 points and, with 26 available at the final round in Sao Paulo, there is still a chance this can be claimed by the German marque.
While Aston Martin Racing just missed out in the Pro category, it celebrated double Championship success in the Am class. David Heinemeier Hansson and Kristian Poulsen, re-joined by Nicki Thiim for this round, scored their fourth class victory of the season to seal both the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am Drivers and the title for LMGTE Teams.
The title chase turned in the Danish-crewed car’s favour at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with the double points awarded, but the No.95 ‘Dane Train’ has been consistently fast and reliable all season. It survived a brush with a competitor just before the end of the fourth hour, but otherwise had an untroubled run from flag to flag. Although Aston Martin Racing had already secured the Teams’ Trophy, they didn’t know until this weekend which of their Am cars it would go to, and the No.95 crew has great cause to celebrate.
Taking second place in the LMGTE Am class was the No.81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Michele Rugolo, Stephen Wyatt and Andrea Bertolini – the trio’s first podium of the season. Unfortunately there was to be no podium success in either class for Saudi Arabia’s Abdulaziz Al Faisal (No.99 Aston Martin Vantage V9 in LMGTE Pro) or Emirati driver Khaled Al Qubaisi (No.88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR) although the latter finished just off the podium in fourth place in the Am category.
The final round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship will take place in two weeks at the Interlagos circuit in Sao Paulo, Brazil on Sunday 30th November. The final four championship titles across the four classes will be settled then, and the FIA WEC Prize Giving will take place in Brazil the day after the race.
Race Facts (last 90 minutes)
21:08:06 Buemi and Davidson provisionally win WEC drivers championship - manufacturers title will be decided in Brazil
21:06:47 Stephane Sarrazin wins a week after winning a European Rally Championship event
21:05:41 195 laps completed by the winners
21:05:11 Fastest lap for Toyota #8 of Buemi with 1:45.989
21:04:23 In GTE Am #95 Aston wins from #81 Ferrari and #98 Aston
21:03:27 In GTE Pro Ferrari #51 wins from #97 Aston and #71 Ferrari
21:02:34 In P2 #47 Oreca wins from #37 Oreca and #35 Morgan
21:01:47 Rebellion #13 wins from #12 Rebellion in LMP1-L
21:01:08 Toyota #7 wins (for first time this season) from #14 and #20 Porsches
20:57:30 2 laps to go
20:56:38 In GTE Pro #51 leads by 4.5 secs from #97 Aston
20:54:15 Porsche #91 has minor off
20:53:45 Oreca #27 retired
20:53:06 Audi #1 into pits
20:51:07 Oreca #27 has gearbox issue
20:46:51 Oil on circuit from #27 Oreca
20:45:53 Oreca #27 into pits
20:44:19 Oreca #27 smoking badly
20:41:30 P2 leader #47 Oreca into pits
20:40:53 Porsche #14 retakes 2nd place from #20
20:39:30 Porsche #20 retakes 2nd from #14 Porsche
20:38:44 Stop and go for #27 Oreca for causing collision with #1 Audi
20:37:26 Porsche #14 into pits
20:31:40 P2 3rd place car #37 into pits
20:26:24 Team manager of #27 Oreca called to race control
20:22:20 Oreca #27 into pits
20:19:46 Oreca #27 also had contact with team mate #37 Oreca
20:18:46 Oreca #27 hit by #1 Audi
20:17:31 Webber in #20 Porsche drops to 3rd place
20:16:15 Aston #97 stops #51 Ferrari retakes lead
20:15:14 Porsche #20 into pits Toyota #7 retakes lead
20:14:35 2:00.003 fastest GTE lap for #51 Ferrari
20:11:09 Delayed #8 Toyota into pits Davidson takes over
20:10:33 Audi #2 into pits
20:10:02 GTE Am leader #95 into pits
20:06:36 Ferrari #51 into pits from lead of GTE Pro Vilander takes over
20:05:44 Porsche #20 takes lead
20:04:42 Leading Toyota #7 into pits Wurz takes over
20:04:01 Much delayed Toyota #8 has made it back to 13th - 18 laps behind leader
20:02:56 After 5 hours #95 Aston leads GTE Am from #98 Aston and #81 Ferrari
20:01:42 After 5 hours #51 Ferrari leads from #97 Aston and #71 Ferrari
20:00:50 After 5 hours in P2 #47 Oreca leads from #27 Oreca and #35 Morgan
19:59:54 Audi #1 stops Duval stays in
19:59:27 After 5 hours #7 Toyota leads by 49 seconds from #20 Porsche and #14 Porsche
19:56:39 Oreca #47 has problem getting away but retains lead by 59 seconds
19:53:25 P2 leader #47 Oreca into pits
19:48:35 Porsche #14 drops to 3rd behind #20 Porsche
19:46:11 Porsche #14 into pits
19:42:04 Ferrari #90 drops to 5th in GTE Am after penalty
19:36:32 Stop and go for #90 Ferrari for incident with #95 Aston
Photo: BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT (SAKHIR, BAHRAIN), 6 HOURS OF BAHRAIN, SATURDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2014, RACE. 1) The No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia took the chequered flag 1.8 seconds ahead of the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage V8; 2) The LMGTE Am podium with l-r AF Corse's Andrea Bertolini, Stephen Wyatt and Michele Rugolo, Aston Martin Racing's David Heinemeier Hansson, Nicki Thiim, Kristian Poulsen, Christoffer Nygaard, Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy.