WEC: Toyota Gazoo Racing claim superb one-two in FIA WEC Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain
BIC, Sakhir – Toyota Gazoo Racing completed it triumphant return to Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) late Saturday night with a spectacular one-two finish in the inaugural FIA WEC Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain.
The no. 7 TS050 Hybrid driven by Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi led teammates Kazuki Nakijima, Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley in the no. 8 Hybrid to the chequered flag.
The result earned Toyota their fourth WEC victory at BIC, adding to their previous wins in 2013, 2014 and 2017. It was also the third win of the WEC season for Toyota Gazoo Racing and second for the no. 7 trio.
Pole-sitters Rebellion Racing completed the podium placers in third after doing well to recover from a troubled start.
Following the race, Bapco GM Special Projects Khalid Al Sabbagh presented the overall top three their trophies during the podium ceremony. Also awarding the race’s other class winners were BIC Chairman of the Board Arif Rahimi, BIC Chief Executive Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, and Bahrain Motor Federation Board Member Abdulrahman Ghuloom.
The victorious Toyota car posted a total number of 257 laps in the gruelling eight-hour event, which began in daylight but finished under BIC’s bright floodlights. They were just a single lap ahead of their sister squad.
Rebellion, featuring Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato in the no. 1 Gibson-powered Rebellion R13, finished three laps behind.
Meanwhile, winning the LMP2 class were United Autosports’ Philip Hanson, Felipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta. They drove their no. 22 Gibson-powered Oreca 07 to a total of 249 laps. JOTA’s no. 38 Oreca 07 of Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Anthony Davidson followed as second in their class, while Jackie Chan DC Racing were third in their no. 37 Oreca 07 driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens.
In the LMGTE Pro category, the win was claimed by the Aston Martin Racing duo of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim, who were behind the wheel of their Vantage AMR. They were just 13.798s ahead of chief rivals Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina of AF Corse, who were driving a Ferrari 488 GTE EVO. Aston Martin’s, sister squad in the no. 97 Vantage AMR featuring Alexander Lynn and Maxime Martin took third.
In the LMGTE Am class, Team Project 1’s Ben Keating, Larry Ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen steered their no. 57 Porsche 911 RSR to first place with 233 laps. The no. 98 Aston Martin Vintage AMR of Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn followed in second place and Gulf Racing’s no. 86 Porsche 911 RSR were third with Michael Wainwright, Andrew Watson and Benjamin Barker sharing the duties.
Earlier in the day Saturday, fans were treated to a Pit Walk and Autograph Session as they got to see up close the work that goes on behind the scenes in the team garages and also meet the star drivers of the WEC.
They also enjoyed plenty of off-track entertainment, including a magnificent fireworks display and concert by Arab music superstar Mohammed Al Salem, as part of National day celebration.
The FIA WEC Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain was held as part of the BIC National Day Festival, which continues Sunday and Monday at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”.