Four titles for Porsche

(The Philippine Star) - November 25, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – In the last race of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain, the team of Bernhard, Hartley and Webber won the drivers’ title in the LMP1 class. In the GTE classes, Porsche also won three championship titles.

Porsche has concluded the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain by taking the sixth consecutive race win and the second title this year. For Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber, fifth place in the six-hour race was enough to win the drivers’ world championship. Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani(CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) took their long awaited first race win this season with the second Porsche 919 Hybrid. The eighth and final WEC round was a thriller, and this also applied to the drivers’ championship battle.

Given the great season Porsche had had so far with the Le Mans victory and the early win of the manufacturers’ title, it looked possible to win the drivers’ title in Bahrain. But half an hour into the race the number 17 car had to come into the pits for a long repair stop. After that the trio had to go flat out to catch up from the very back of the pack, and eventually they finished fifth. It was the sister car that took the lead and the crucial points away from the Audi.

After 83 race laps – 79 for his car – Timo came in for fuel and tires and remains in the car. At the end of lap 114, Brendon handed over to Webber, who continued in fifth. He pitted for fuel and fresh tires after 144 laps. After race lap 158, Mark was called in for another unscheduled pit stop. He rejoined the race without losing a position. After 183 laps he had his final splash and dash, before he crossed the line in fifth—and became world champion.

Romain Dumas stayed second behind the leading sister car for the first nine laps. On lap ten he is overtaken by the number 8 Audi. When the Porsche teammates have their long repair stop, Romain moves back into P2 and takes the lead when the Audi refuels. After 29 laps Romain comes in for fuel and tires, and stays in the car. After 59 laps he hands the car over to Marc Lieb, who gets fresh rubber again after 89 laps.

At a restart after a full course yellow on lap 100, Marc manages to outpace the number 7 Audi but drops back again. The following thrilling duel ends with Lieb taking the lead. On lap 119 the rivals both use a full course yellow to pit for a driver change. Neel Jani takes over the leading Porsche. His last pit stop is after 176 laps, and after 199 laps he takes the long awaited first race win this season.

On Saturday at the six-hour race in Bahrain, the Porsche 911 RSR driven by Frenchmen Frédéric Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet not only scored the fourth GTE-Pro class win of the season – Porsche also netted three championship titles with the winning racer from Weissach, which is based on the iconic 911 sports car. With this victory at the Bahrain International Circuit, Porsche overtook Ferrari in the manufacturers’ classification.

The Porsche Manthey squad secured the team championship, and Porsche works driver Richard Lietz convincingly defended his title in the FIA World Endurance Cup for Drivers. Fifth place with his teammate Michael Christensen was enough for the Austrian to secure this honor.

With this, Porsche continues on its winning path after also scoring three GT titles at this season’s North American Tudor United SportsCar Championship. With two podium spots in the GTE-Am class, Porsche customer teams also celebrated a successful season finale. For Dempsey Proton Racing, Patrick Long, Christian Ried, and Marco Seefried finished third. This season, the squad with US actor and racing driver Patrick Dempsey in the cockpit, won the race at Fuji and finished second at the Le Mans 24-hour race.

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