Toyota broke through to claim victory in Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain.
The No. 8 entry of Stephane Sarrazin, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi scored their first win with the Toyota TS030 Hybrid and the second for the Japanese manufacturer this season following an attrition-filled race that saw retirements for three of the five LMP1 cars.
Buemi took the gasoline-powered hybrid to a 1 minute and 10-second victory over the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer and co-drivers Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler in second, with the LMP2 class-winning No. 26 G-Drive Racing by Delta-ADR Oreca 03 Nissan completing the overall podium in third.
“We did very good and the car was very fast,” Sarrazin said. “It’s perfect. I’m happy for Toyota also to get a proper win. We were the fastest on track.”
Davidson added: “Sebastien did a great job to get the car into the lead. He was a bit of a demon in traffic and did the business there. We were pushing as hard and I was convinced one of our cars was going to win, especially early on.”
Toyotas ran 1-2 early in the race until the pole-sitting No. 7 entry of Alex Wurz retired with engine issues in the second hour.
It promoted the championship-elect No. 2 Audi of Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval to second in the race until the Frenchman ground to a halt on track with drivetrain failure.
While Allan McNish did not drive today, he and co-drivers Kristensen and Duval still took home the Drivers’ World Championship, having locked up the title last time out in Shanghai.
Rebellion Racing, the lone LMP1 privateer in the field, retired early with engine failure for its No. 12 Lola B12/60 Toyota, promoting a LMP2 car to the overall podium, the first time since the Twelve Hours of Sebring in 2012.
G-Drive’s Mike Conway, John Martin and Roman Rusinov took the LMP2 class win, their fourth in the last five races. But it still wasn’t enough to deny OAK Racing’s Martin Plowman, Bertrand Baguette and Ricardo Gonzalez from taking the drivers’ title.
The No. 35 Morgan-Nissan finished fourth on Saturday, giving the French squad a 1-2 finish in the teams’ championship as well.
RESULTS: Six Hours of Bahrain