Toyota eases to Bahrain WEC win after woe for rivals

Toyota claimed a crushing victory in the World Endurance Championship round in Bahrain after capitalising on early woes for its LMP1 rivals Rebellion and Ginetta

Toyota eases to Bahrain WEC win after woe for rivals

The #7 TS050 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez moved into the lead on the opening lap after Bruno Senna's Rebellion R-13 and the #5 Ginetta of Charlie Robertson collided at Turn 2.

From there on, the #7 trio enjoyed a trouble-free run, securing their second victory of the 2019/20 season following their triumph at the Silverstone season opener in September.

The result propelled Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez into the lead of the championship, ahead of the #8 car of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley that finished a lap down in second.

Buemi was caught out in the first lap melee and dropped to the lower regions of the pack, also requiring a change of front bodywork, but recovered sufficiently to seal a 1-2 finish for Toyota.

The polesitting Rebellion of Senna, Norman Nato and Gustavo Menezes completed the podium spots after receiving a double whammy in the opening half of the race.

Senna had managed to recover from the hit he received from Robertson to run second in Hour 2, but an unscheduled visit to the garage to fix a gear selection issue left the Rebellion three laps down on the leading Toyota.

Both Ginettas retired from a race where success handicap had made them the early favourites for victory.

The #5 G60-LT-P1 of Robertson, Ben Hanley and Jordan King crawled to a halt in the fifth hour near Turn 9, while the other Ginetta driven by Guy Smith, Chris Dyson and Michael Simpson pulled into the pits in the penultimate hour.

United Autosports claimed its first victory in the LMP2 class after Paul di Resta, Phil Hanson and Filipe Albuquerque led throughout the eight hours in the #22 Oreca.

Di Resta, Hanson and Albuquerque finished 21.5s clear of the second-placed #38 JOTA Sport Oreca of Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Gonzales, having at one point held a lead of nearly a minute.

The Jackie Chan DC Racing team, which is also operated by JOTA, finished third with Will Stevens, Gabriel Aubry and Ho-Pin Tung at the wheel of its #37 Oreca.

Jean-Eric Vergne, Roman Rusinov and Job van Uitert finished fourth in the one-off TDS Racing-run G-Drive Aurus entry.

Aston Martin came on top in a close scrap with Ferrari to claim its second GTE Pro win of the season.

The #71 Ferrari of Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon had been leading the race prior to the final round of stops, but quicker pitwork by the Aston Martin crew catapulted the #95 Vantage of Sorensen and Thiim into the lead.

Rigon did attempt to fight back and briefly passed Sorensen into turn 11, but the Dane was able to retake the spot soon after to seal the win for Aston.

The #71 car was handed a stop/go penalty with 30 minutes to go for spinning wheels during one of its pitstops, ending any hope of victory, but it managed to hold onto second position after serving the infraction.

The sister #51 Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, which was disqualified from first in Shanghai, was asked to give the final podium back to the #97 Aston of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn after being held responsible for the contact between the two cars at Turn 1 in the final hour.

The GTE Pro battle turned out to be a two-horse race between Aston and Ferrari after Porsche's race unravelled in the fourth hour.

Both the 911 RSR-19s lost several laps in the garage for repairs, the #91 car of Gianmaria Bruno and Richard Lietz suffering a front-left puncture and Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen's sister #92 machine having to pit with a damper failure.

Porsche, however, did claim top honours in GTE Am, courtesy of the #86 Project 1 Porsche crew of Ben Keating, Larry ten Voorde and Jeroen Bleekemolen.

Second-place went to the factory #98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Ross Gunn and Darren Turner, which briefly held the lead before settling for second to equal its season-best result from Silverstone.

The #86 Gulf Racing drivers Ben Barker, Michael Wainwright and Andrew Watson made it two Porsches on the podium.

shares
comments
Porsche star Bernhard explains retirement decision
Previous article

Porsche star Bernhard explains retirement decision

Next article

Senna slams Ginetta driver for 'destroying' his WEC Bahrain race

Senna slams Ginetta driver for 'destroying' his WEC Bahrain race
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

WEC
Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

WEC
Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022