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Bahrain Post-Race Notebook

John Dagys’ post-race notebook from FIA WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

***The No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, which claimed its third victory of the FIA World Endurance Championship season in Saturday’s 6 Hours of Bahrain, will win the drivers’ world championship with a second place finish in next weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain, or win pole and only needing to be classified in the race.

***Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe technical director Pascal Vasselon declared post-race that Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez are “likely world champions” under the current scenario heading into the season finale. Toyota’s No. 8 trio of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley are the only drivers able to de-thrown the current points leaders.

***Toyota recorded its eighth consecutive WEC race win, surpassing the previous record held by the Japanese manufacturer and Porsche, with seven straight wins.

***Kobayashi, meanwhile, became the 20th different driver to have achieved at least ten WEC wins since the series’ inception in 2012.

***Vasselon confirmed that a wheel nut did not properly engage on the No. 8 Toyota during one of its stops, requiring the team to mount a replacement wheel. He explained it was one of the many contingency procedures the team has in place.

***There were questions post-race on why the third-place finishing Alpine A480 Gibson was unable to complete similar stint lengths to the Toyotas, especially following a recent enlarging of the ORECA-built LMP1 car’s fuel tank.  “When we compare what we have available as data, what they’ve done in Le Mans, they should have been within one lap [of us],” Toyota’s Vasselon explained.

***With 93 degrees Fahrenheit (34 degrees Celsius) ambient and 113 degrees Fahrenheit (45 degrees Celsius) track temperatures, conditions in Saturday’s race were “unprecedented” for WEC teams according to Michelin endurance racing program manager Pierre Alves. “We were able to provide [teams] with fast, dependable tires, even though the thermometer exceeded 40 degrees for some nine-tenths of the duration.”

***LMP2 class winner Robin Frijns set the category’s fastest race lap of 1:53.215 with just four laps remaining in the race. 

***Team WRT’s Frijns and co-drivers Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi have taken over the lead of the LMP2 drivers’ championship by five points over the JOTA trio of Stoffel Vandoorne, Tom Blomqvist and Sean Gelael. Teammates Anthony Davidson, Antonio Felix Da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez now sit in third.

***The No. 34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca was relegated to a ninth place class finish after multiple late-race issues, including a spin by Renger van der Zande triggered by contact from Filipe Albuquerque, an issue with its left-side door as well as a four-minute stop-and-hold penalty for a tire allocation infringement. 

***A four-tire stop in the opening hour put the Alex Brundle-driven car into the class lead and was among the contenders until the race began to unravel for the Polish squad. “I felt like a stuntman driving backwards avoiding all the cars,” said van der Zande of the spin.

***The team was handed a 1,000 Euro fine post-race for not providing its USB stick after the last pit stop.

***DragonSpeed lost the lead of the LMP2 Pro-Am championship due to a myriad of issues for its No. 21 Oreca after Juan Pablo Montoya lost the left-rear wheel on his out lap, a non-functioning brake light, and a persistent issue with the FIA telemetry system. The American-flagged team was handed a 2,000 Euro fine for the loose wheel. 

***Frits van Eerd now holds a nine-point lead over DragonSpeed’s Montota, Henrik Hedman and Ben Hanley heading into the season finale.

***TF Sport captured Aston Martin’s first WEC class victory since the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours with Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Dylan Pereira, who becomes the first driver Luxembourg to win in series’ competition. 

***The trio have closed to within 21.5 points of AF Corse’s Francois Perrodo, Nicklas Nielsen and Alessio Rovera, who finished fifth in the GTE-Am class on Saturday. A maximum of 39 points are up for grabs in next weekend’s eight-hour season finale.

***Team Project 1 team principal Axel Funke believes a second place finish in GTE-Am would have been possible for its No. 56 Porsche of Matteo Cairoli, Egidio Perfetti and Riccardo Pera if for not a couple of “poor” pit stops. “Over the next week we will be analyzing the strategy to see what we can improve on for the next race,” he said.

***Cairoli was reported to the stewards for his close battle with the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marcos Gomes while fighting for second in class at the time. The No. 56 Porsche ended up with a third place class finish.

***The GTE-Am class pole-sitting No. 60 Iron Lynx Ferrari lost time in the garage with gearbox issues in the opening hour following unrelated contact with the No. 54 AF Corse Ferrari of Francesco Castellacci that led to a warning for Rino Mastronardi.

***All 31 staters were classified at the finish of the race, marking one of the few times in WEC history such an occurrence has happened.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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