Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen sealed the World Endurance Cup for GT Drivers in fine style with victory in Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain.
However, Aston Martin lost a certain 1-2 finish and its first GT Manufacturers title when Darren Turner lost a wheel at the half-distance point.
Although Gianmaria Bruni led in the opening stint in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE, the race always looked destined to head the way of Aston Martin.
Class pole-sitters Turner and Jonny Adam in the No. 97 Vantage GTE were able to stretch out a comfortable margin over Bruni after the first stops, before Thiim and Sorensen moved into second with a late-braking move into turn one.
This would have been enough to overturn AMR’s 10-point deficit to Ferrari in the GT Manufacturers championship, but everything changed when Turner’s front-right wheel detached at turn four.
Although he was able to bring the car back to the pits and only lost one lap under Full Course Yellow, the No. 97 car could not recover the lost ground and finished fifth, handing Ferrari the Manufacturers’ prize.
Thiim and Sorensen inherited the lead and took their second victory of the season, 17.3 seconds clear of Bruni and James Calado at the finish.
Davide Rigon and Sam Bird completed the podium in third, ahead of the No. 67 Ford of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in fourth.
The class win for the No. 95 Aston Martin, however, was good enough for the British squad to take home the GTE-Pro Teams’ Championship.
In GTE-Am, Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing led home a Porsche 1-2 in their second class victory of the season.
Patrick Long, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Khaled Al Qubaisi assumed the lead when the No. 98 Aston Martin of Mathias Lauda spun at turn seven and controlled the remainder of the race.
A late charge from Wolf Henzler’s KCMG Porsche reduced their margin to 13 seconds in the closing stages, but Long always had the gap under control.
The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari of Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas, and Francois Perrodo locked up the title when Paul Dalla Lana retired with engine problems shortly after half-distance, but capped the season with third place on the podium.
RESULTS: Six Hours of Bahrain