Toyota Gazoo Racing has claimed a dominant win in the Six Hours of Bahrain, denying Porsche victory in its final LMP1 race, in Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship season finale.
Sebastien Buemi took the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid across the line 1 lap ahead of the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, after a challenging race for the German manufacturer.
Drama struck the newly crowned World Champions nearly from the start when Bernhard was forced to pit at the 15-minute mark to dislodge a bollard from the floor.
While the pole-sitting Porsche of Neel Jani lost the lead to Buemi in the opening hour, a collision between Nick Tandy and the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Foster in Hour 4 forced the No. 1 car into the pits with left-front damage, and a subsequent stop/go penalty for the contact.
The incident came after the Porsche attempted to triple stint its Michelin tires. Andre Lotterer brought the car home in third, 46 seconds behind his teammate.
Both Porsches were unable to match the pace of Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima’s Toyota, which stormed to its fifth win of the season.
As as result, the Japanese manufacturer takes bragging rights with most wins in 2017, although coming up short to Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber in the World Championship.
Porsche, meanwhile, also locked up the Manufacturers’ World Championship last time out in Shanghai.
The No. 7 Toyota finished three laps behind in fourth after to a trip to the garage for Kamui Kobayshi just prior to halfway.
Contact between Kobayashi and the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR of Michael Christensen knocked the then-leading GTE-Pro car out of the race, with co-driver Mike Conway serving a stop/go penalty for the collision in the final half-hour.
RESULTS: 6H Bahrain