WEC, Sakhir: Toyota take dominant 1-2 in Bahrain

Aston Martin taking dramatic LMGTE Pro victory

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By Olivier Ferret

15 December 2019 - 00:13
WEC, Sakhir: Toyota take dominant (...)

The no7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez took their second victory of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship with a dominant win at the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain. The no7 Toyota finished over a lap ahead of their teammates Brendon Hartley, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi and three laps ahead of the third placed no1 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson.

Victory in the LMGTE Pro class went to Aston Martin Racing with the no95 Vantage of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen finishing ahead of the no71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina after an epic eight hour long battle between the three manufacturers for the win in Bahrain. Aston Martin took the last podium position when the no97 Vantage of Max Martin and Alex Lynn finished ahead of the no51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado.

It was a debut WEC win for United Autosports, with Paul Di Resta, Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque finishing the 8 Hours of Bahrain over 20 seconds ahead of the 4 Hours of Shanghai winning no38 JOTA Oreca-Gibson of Anthony Davidson, Roberto Gonzalez and Antonio Da Costa.

It was all smiles in the Team Project 1 garage as Ben Keating, Larry Ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen took the LMGTE Am win from pole position, with Ten Voorde and
Bleekemolen claiming the first WEC class win for a Dutch driver. The no57 Porsche 911 RSR finished 37 seconds ahead of the no98 Aston Martin Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn, with the no86 Gulf Racing Porsche taking third.

Quotes:

- Mike Conway – No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS 050 HYBRID LMP1

“We thought that the Rebellion would have the pace today and the Ginetta’s as well but once the incident happened in turns one and two and the cars parted I just got my head down and pulled away.

“I managed to pull quite a nice gap after those first two stints and I was surprised really. It looked like Rebellion were going to come back at some point as they were catching a little bit but then after about hour three it seemed like they were not going to hinder us too much.

“We pushed as hard as we could and it was a great job by my teammates who all did a great job today.”

- Marco Sorensen – No.95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR LMGTE Pro

“It was all about managing the tyres today. I wouldn’t say it was fun in the car but it was interesting to see how different the opposition were using the tyres and where you could push and where you couldn’t push.

“There was not one stint where you were not fighting with other cars. Our boys did an amazing job regarding pit stops because I think it was almost every time we came in to the pits with some of the other cars on track we jumped them.

“Strategy was on point it was on the limit all the time, but In the end, everything worked out to our favour so pretty happy.”

- Paul Di Resta – No.22 United Autosports Oreca-Gibson LMP2

“We’ve had a car at most races that could have won a race. This was one race where we wanted to energise our championship with it being a bit longer and more points on offer we put ourselves in a good position yesterday [with pole position].

“We managed to control the race but we had a few hiccups in the pits but at the same time I think everyone gets that in the race. It was just nice to finally get it done before we go in to a break now but hopefully momentum is on our side and we can continue this progress when we get to COTA in a few months.”

- Ben Keating – No.57 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am

“We did not expect this for sure but with the additional points for the longer race this was an important race for us. We keep getting a little bit better and it was an interesting race and we had the whole strategy worked out to where we would get my two hours and twenty minutes done but then that would put us with having to do a stop with fifteen minutes of the race to go and we didn’t get any Full Course Yellows in the first couple of hours that we expected to get.

“So this changed our strategy and I ended up doing a triple stint at the beginning and my pace was good. It was nice to be out front and not to be fighting a bunch of the other GTE Am drivers and that enabled us to eliminate a stop and we were the only ones in class to do the race on seven stops.”

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