Bahrain: Toyota Gazoo Racing claim dominant one-two in FIA WEC Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain at BIC
#7 crew of Conway-Kobayashi-Lopez lead teammates Buemi-Nakajima-Hartley in #8 car to chequered flag
Team WRT’s Frijns-Habsburg-Milesi triumph in LMP2 class as Porsche, Aston Martin take a victory apiece in LMGTE categories
BIC, Sakhir – The trio of Mike Conway-Kamui Kobayashi-Jose Maria Lopez led a superb Toyota Gazoo Racing one-two at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) today in the FIA WEC Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain—the fifth and penultimate round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The victorious #7 crew, sharing the driving duties in their GR010 Hybrid Hypercar, finished 51.401 seconds ahead of their closest challengers and teammates Sebatien Buemi-Kazuki Nakajima-Brendon Hartley, who started from pole in the #8 challenger.
Conway was in the cockpit for the race’s rolling start and later Kobayashi brought the car home at the chequered flag, with the desert sunset providing a stunning backdrop at “The Home of Motorsport in the Middle East”.
Both Toyota Gazoo Racing contenders registered 185 laps competing in the WEC’s Hypercar class.
Winning the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) 2 category were Team WRT’s Robin Frijns-Ferdinand Habsburg-Charles Milesi. Porsche GT Team’s Kevin Estre-Neel Jani triumphed in the Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance (LMGTE) Pro class, and TF Sport’s Felipe Fraga-Ben Keating-Dylan Pereira took first place in the LMGTE Am category.
The #7 Toyota had a slim lead at the first turn but Buemi was able to briefly regain the advantage for the #8 car at the hour-mark. With four hours to go, the pair had swapped places once more and the victors held on to the lead all the way until the end.
Finishing behind the Japanese manufacturers were Alpine Elf Matmut, who were third both on the overall timesheet and in the Hypercar class. Nicolas Lapierre-Andre Negrao-Matthieu Vaxiviere drove their #36 Alpine A480-Gibson to a total of 184 laps.
In the LMP2 category, Frijns-Habsburg-Milesi posted 180 laps in their #31 Oreca-07 Gibson for their win. They finished 14.427s ahead of JOTA’s #28 crew of Tom Blomqvist-Sean Gelael-Stoffel Vandoorne. The #38 JOTA of Antonio Felix Da Costa-Roberto Gonzalez-Anthony Davidson came third in class.
The two LMGTE categories had a Porsche and an Aston Martin take the top spots. Leading the Pro runners were Estre-Jani in their #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 with 174 laps. Their Porsche GT Team teammates Gianmaria Bruni-Richard Lietz finished a close 0.575s behind in their #91 911 RSR-19. AF Corse’s Alessandro Pier Guidi-James Calado completed the Pro podium placers driving their #51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
The Am field, which featured 13 cars, saw Fraga-Keating-Pereira power their #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMR to first place with 172 laps and a 27.347s gap from the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing 911 RSR-19 driven by Matt Campbell-Christian Ried-Jaxon Evans. In third were Team Project 1’s #56 crew of Egidio Perfetti-Matteo Cairoli-Riccardo Pera, also driving a Porsche.
The winners of each class were presented their respective trophies in podium ceremonies.
The WEC field will now gear up for the 2021 season-finale, the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, which will complete the first-ever WEC double-header in the Kingdom. The race weekend is scheduled to take place Friday and Saturday (Editor’s note: November 5 and 6) next week.
The curtain-closing eight-hour endurance event features a 2pm start time in daylight and a 10pm finish under BIC’s bright floodlights. This makes for an interesting challenge for the WEC drivers and their teams, who will have to deal with varying temperatures and track conditions throughout the race.
The WEC’s newest champions will be crowned at BIC at the end of the meeting, ensuring that there will be plenty of exciting action as the season’s title battles go down the wire.