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2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC)

Round 9 (Final): 6 Hours of Bahrain

Toyota Gazoo Racing and Michelin win the 2017 6 Hours of Bahrain

 

The 6 Hours of Bahrain, final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, was won by the N°8 Toyota TS050-Hybrid of Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima. The Japanese carmaker overturned Porsche LMP Team’s edge in qualifying to emerge in front after the opening half-hour, although its German rival continued to apply pressure with its N°1 919 Hybrid (Jani/Lotterer/Tandy). However, the latter’s N°2 sister car (Bernhard/Bamber/Hartley) was then forced to make an unscheduled pit stop and, at the race’s halfway point, Toyota appeared to be heading for a repeat of its recent one-two success in Shanghai. That plan was eventuality scuppered, though, when Kamui Kobayashi was forced to make a long pit stop for repairs after his N°7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid collided with a GT runner. The incident allowed Porsche to recover second (N°2) and third (N°1) spots and conclude the Stuttgart firm’s final title-winning season in world class prototype racing with two cars on the podium.

 

“Porsche LMP Team wanted today’s win, so Toyota Gazoo Racing’s success shows just how competitive the year has been,” observed Jérôme Mondain, manager of Michelin’s endurance racing programmes. “Our partners provided some exciting racing all the way to the end of the last race, and we are glad to have helped them do that by providing them with competitive, consistent tyres, including in Shanghai and Bahrain where the quantities they could use were half the allocation they had in 2016. I would like to thank Porsche LMP Team for the four great seasons we spent together and for boosting Michelin’s record in the sport. Over and above our fruitful association and all that we achieved together on the race track, I would like to stress the quality of the human relationship we enjoyed with them.”

James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi (Ferrari) claim 2017 GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship with Michelin

Meanwhile, Ferrari – another Michelin partner – followed up securing the Manufacturers’ crown at Shanghai two weeks ago with another LMP GTE Pro class win in Bahrain. By coming second, James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi (N°51 Ferrari 488 GTE) made sure of the GT Drivers’ title, while the day’s race was won by their team-mates Davide Rigon and Sam Bird (N°71 Ferrari 488 GTE). Third place went to the N°67 Ford GT of Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK’s Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.

 

“It’s such a great feeling to have won the year’s big prize after what turned out to be a really close season,” said Alessandro Pier Guidi. “My team-mate James Calado and I succeeded in making the most of the performance and reliability of our Ferrari 488 GTE and its Michelin tyres. Even in Bahrain, our tyres performed well, despite the hot weather and the circuit’s challenging characteristics. Double-stinting wasn’t easy, especially during the first half of the race, but the combination of AF Corse’s experience and the input provided by our Michelin technician enabled us to clinch the world title!”

 

“What’s been another exciting year of world class endurance racing concluded in Bahrain today with another title for a Michelin partner team,” noted Michelin Motorsport Director Pascal Couasnon. “Not only are Ferrari and Porsche two of the world’s most prestigious carmakers, but they are also Michelin partners both on and off the race track and I would like to congratulate them on what they have achieved this year. I have every confidence in the future of the FIA WEC, especially with the ‘super season’ that awaits us, beginning with the Prologue at Le Castellet in April 2018, even though Porsche will no longer be with us in the LM P1 class. Michelin has confirmed its continued involvement in the series for three further years with the signing of a partnership with the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA WEC. This decision stems from the importance our Group places in endurance racing and in the technological benefits it draws from its participation.”