Bahrain World Endurance Championship: Audi back on top with one-two
|By Gary Watkins||Saturday, September 29th 2012, 21:06 GMT|
Audi returned to the FIA World Endurance Championship winner's circle in Bahrain as Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler claimed victory to increase their lead at the head of the title race.
The two-time Le Mans-winning trio led home an Audi one-two after six hours of racing on the Bahrain International Circuit.
They triumphed by nearly two laps over the sister R18 e-tron quattro shared by Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen, which lost time with overheating rear brakes and then two changes of nose section when one of the headlights failed.
Toyota's aspirations of a second consecutive WEC win were derailed by an electrical glitch affecting the illuminated number panels.
The Toyota had led the race in the hands of Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre from seven laps into the opening stint. The car was holding a lead of approximately 20 seconds early in the third hour when the team was forced to effect repairs.
Lapierre and then Wurz were able to bring the Toyota back into third place ahead of the LMP1 privateers before the former tangled with the Strakka Racing HPD driven by Jonny Kane, damaged his suspension and had to abandon the car out on track.
The Strakka HPD, in which Kane was joined by Danny Watts and Nick Leventis, ended up third after the Toyota's retirement. It triumphed in the unofficial LMP1 privateer class after the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota B12/60 shared by Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost lost two laps when it had to change one of its race numbers.
A closely-fought LMP2 battle went to the AF Corse-run Pecom team. Its ORECA-Nissan 03 shared by Pierre Kaffer, Nicolas Minassian and Luis Perez Companc was in contention for the whole race but looked set to lose out to the Starworks HPD until Stephane Sarrazin was unable to restart the car at its final pitstop.
AF Corse sealed the GTE manufacturers' and GTE Pro teams' titles with its fourth consecutive victory. Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, who replaced Gianmaria Bruni for this event, looked set to battle with the solo factory Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke until an exhaust problem lost the British car time.
The Aston remained within striking distance until the one safety car period of the race, when misfortune resulted in it dropping more than a minute behind.
Results - 191 laps: Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time/Gap 1. P1 Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer Audi 6h00m56.244s 2. P1 Kristensen/McNish Audi + 1 lap 3. P1 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD + 6 laps 4. P1 Prost/Jani Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 7 laps 5. P1 Belicchi/Primat Rebellion Lola-Toyota + 10 laps 6. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan + 12 laps 7. P2 Mailleux/Lombard/Tresson Signatech ORECA-Nissan + 14 laps 8. P2 Potolicchio/Kimber-Smith/Sarrazin Starworks HPD + 14 laps 9. P2 Liuzzi/Rossiter/Weeda Lotus Lola-Lotus + 14 laps 10. P2 Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov Signatech ORECA-Nissan + 15 laps 11. P2 Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla OAK Morgan-Nissan + 19 laps 12. P2 Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian Greaves Zytek-Nissan + 21 laps 13. GTE P Fisichella/Vilander AF Ferrari + 21 laps 14. GTE P Mucke/Turner Aston Martin + 22 laps 15. GTE P Lieb/Lietz Felbermayr Porsche + 22 laps 16. GTE P Bertolini/Beretta AF Ferrari + 22 laps 17. GTE A Ried/Roda/Ruberti Felbermayr Porsche + 26 laps 18. GTE A Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers AF-Waltrip Ferrari + 27 laps 19. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo Krohn Ferrari + 29 laps 20. P2 Martin/Graves ADR-Delta ORECA-Nissan + 30 laps 21. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Rees Larbre Corvette + 34 laps 22. GTE A Belloc/Bourret/Gibon Larbre Corvette + 38 laps 23. GTE A Camathias/Simonsen/Daniels JWA Porsche + 41 laps Retirements: P1 Wurz/Lapierre Toyota 86 laps P2 Holzer/Moro Lotus Lola-Lotus 68 laps P2 Giroix/Ihara/Deletraz Gulf Lola-Nissan 65 laps P1 Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck JRM HPD 57 laps P2 Baguette/Kraihamer/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan 4 laps