Audi Takes Emotional 1-2 in Final Race; Porsche Wins Drivers Title

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Audi has scored an emotional 1-2 in its final race in prototype competition, as Porsche’s Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb won the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship with a sixth-place finish in Saturday’s season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain.

The German manufacturer bowed out in style, in its strongest race of the year, with Lucas Di Grassi taking the No. 8 Audi R18 to a 19.282-second win over the sister No. 7 car of Marcel Fassler.

Both Audis exchanged the lead early on, until a well-timed pit stop during the race’s only Full Course Yellow period at the halfway mark put the No. 8 car of Di Grassi, Loic Duval, and Oliver Jarvis out front.

With Toyota unable to challenge and the championship-winning No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid hitting trouble in the opening hour, Audi paved the way for a fitting sendoff after a remarkable 18-year run in top-level sports car racing.

It marked Di Grassi, Duval and Jarvis’ second win of the season, and the first Audi 1-2 sweep since Circuit of The Americas in 2014.

Fassler and longtime co-drivers Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer were second, ahead of the No. 1 Porsche, taken to the flag by Mark Webber, who ended his illustrious driving career with a podium finish.

The sister Porsche lost a lap early when contact was made between Jani and the No. 78 KCMG Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried, resulting in a left-rear puncture to the No. 2 car.

Jani, Dumas and Lieb’s sixth place finish, however, was more than enough to take home the Drivers’ World Championship, as the title-contending No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid could only salvage fifth in the end.

Ironically, the Porsche trio was unable to score a podium finish since their victory in the double points-paying round at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, only one of two wins for the No. 2 car this season.

G-Drive Racing scored its third consecutive LMP2 class victory, thanks to Rene Rast’s pass on the No. 43 RGR Sport Ligier JS P2 Nissan of Filipe Albuquerque with less than 20 minutes to go.

The No. 31 Tequila Patron ESM Ligier Nissan of Chris Cumming held the class lead until his final fuel-only stop, after the American team opted to put the Silver-rated Canadian in for the final one-hour, 15-minute required stint.

Cumming, however, faded to fourth at the checkered flag, behind the class championship-winning No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 of Nico Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes, and Stephane Richelmi.

Rast, in his return to the Jota Sport-run squad, shared top class honors with Alex Brundle and Roman Rusinov, in a last-to-first run after starting from the rear of the field due to a post-qualifying homologation infringement.

The No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER of Alexandre Imperatori, Dominik Kraihamer, and Matheo Tuscher claimed top class honors in LMP1 Privateer, in the team’s final race in the class.

The trio was classified 7th overall, ten laps behind the race-winning Audi.

RESULTS: Six Hours of Bahrain

8 Comments

  1. goesby dave

    November 19, 2016 at 2:25 pm

    What a great way to end their P1 program. I got to see them win 11 times here at Sebring. (1st diesel win, 1st hybrid win). We still miss them.

  2. Brennan D. Houran

    November 19, 2016 at 2:52 pm

    I’ve never cried about a race until now. I’m only a teenager so the only true manufacturer in endurance racing that I’ve ever known was Audi. In person, I have only seen them once, at Lime Rock Park for the ALMS Northeast Grand Prix, but they have aspired me to become a race car driver when I grow up. Thank you Audi.

    • Jason

      November 19, 2016 at 3:01 pm

      I only got to see the Audi LMP’s in person once myself. The 2002 Washington DC grand prix.

      But question to the folks. Which Audi rendition is your favorite? Mine will always be the original R18 from 2011.

    • Rob Lomas

      November 19, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Likewise, I am a teenager, albeit just about still a teenager and I was pretty choked up there at the end. Having seen the R18’s twice at Silverstone this season and the previous season, they looked and sounded radical. I say sounded because of just how quiet they are in real life.

  3. Steven

    November 19, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    Danke and farewell Audi!!!

    What a fantastic sendoff for one of the classiest organizations by all the teams. That’s why racing is unlike any other sport, we are just one big family.

  4. Michael

    November 19, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I thought that this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans was a top highlight of the 2016 sports car racing season. This easily tops it. What a special day!

    • Mike coter

      November 19, 2016 at 5:29 pm

      I miss the Audi crew, I saw them twice at lime rock during the r10 era, it was a sight to see the diesels that paved the way for the growth of diesel until the scandal,18 years of amazing feats, my favorite audi winning Lemans 2005 with the the BOP, that race taught me you can win even if the odds are stacked against you. Good luck in the future for audi

  5. Morningview66

    November 19, 2016 at 5:30 pm

    It’s a shame to see Audi go, as we got to a point this season with 3 incredible manufacturer teams going at it on almost equal terms. Incredible racing.

    The WEC deserves some more manufacturers in LMP1, it can be a great series.

    But for now, simply thank you Audi. Thank you for single handedly keeping endurance racing alive through the 2000s and helping bring about the world championship.

    I will see you again at Le Mans in the future!

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