Toyota capped off a weekend of mixed results with champagne for both cars at the WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain yesterday. The #7 TS040 driven by Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Alexander Wurz won the race. It’s the first win for the #7 car this year and Toyota’s fifth race win for the season.
However, the glory went to Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi in the #8 car, who finished well down in P11 after suffering alternator problems. Despite this they’ve done enough to wrap up the WEC drivers’ championship. With just one round to go Toyota Racing remains favourites to secure the manufacturers’ title for the first time as well.
Porsche also enjoyed a first this season, by seeing its two cars finish on the podium. The #14 919 once again started from pole position and enjoyed a reasonably smooth run. The #20 car had a scrappy day but the lack of major dramas meant they could get a valuable third place.
Audi had a pretty horrible weekend with major work required before taking the track aftrer discovering damage to the monocoques of both cars. In that respect they did very well to get out and compete and remain relatively competitive.
Yet, for the first time in the short history of the new World Endurance Championship format Audi is in danger of losing its world championship status. The team is 40 points behind Toyota with only one race left on the calendar, the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo later this month.
2014 6 Hours of Bahrain – top 6
- Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (#7 Toyota) – 195 laps in 6h 00m 18.056s
- Dumas/Jani/Lieb (#14 Porsche) + 50.460s
- Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (#20 Porsche) + 57.268s
- Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (#2 Audi) – 1 lap
- Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (#1 Audi) – 2 laps
- Belicchi/Kraihamer/Leimer (#13 Rebellion-Toyota) – 7 laps
Toyota Racing takes drivers’ title and victory
15 November 2014
TOYOTA Racing won the Six Hours of Bahrain for its fifth victory of the FIA World Endurance Championship season as Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi secured the drivers’ title with a race to spare.
The #7 TS040 HYBRID of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway won its first race of the season with a fine performance, earning TOYOTA Racing’s fifth victory of the 2014 season.
Anthony and Sébastien finished 11th after losing time due to a technical issue but nevertheless become the 2014 drivers’ World Champions, holding an unassailable lead in the standings with only one race remaining.
That marks TOYOTA’s first drivers’ World Championship crown since Didier Auriol won the World Rally Championship in 1994.
Today’s result also strengthens TOYOTA’s hold on the manufacturers’ World Championship, extending the lead over Audi to 40 points with a maximum of 44 points available in the final race, in Sao Paulo on 30 November.
There was drama throughout the race, starting on the opening lap when Alex and Sébastien swapped positions with their rivals having started from fourth and second respectively.
Despite losing ground at the first turn, the TS040 HYBRIDs soon asserted themselves and within seven laps the #8 had taken the lead thanks to some decisive driving from Sébastien, while Alex was in similar fighting mood as he moved into third.
A brief full course yellow after 30 minutes gave both cars the chance to pit early for new tyres and more fuel. With the rest of the field circulating slowly, time lost in the pits was minimised and Sébastien resumed in third with Alex fourth.
Both soon moved up a place and, close to the one-hour mark, took over at the head of the field, running one-two and setting similarly competitive lap times to pull clear.
After 90 minutes both cars pitted on the same lap, with just nine seconds separating them. Mike took the wheel of the #7 while Sébastien handed over to Anthony, who resumed in the lead.
That did not last however, with the #8 needing an unscheduled pit stop to change the alternator. That elevated Mike in the #7 to the lead, while Anthony resumed 30 minutes later in 26th, 17 laps behind.
A further short stop to confirm the new alternator was functioning correctly soon followed before Anthony continued with a mission to finish the race and wrap up the drivers’ World Championship.
The target for the #7 was different and Mike continued to stretch the lead, which stood at close to a minute when Stéphane took over soon after half distance.
Sébastien returned to the wheel of the #8 and made steady progress, setting the fastest lap of the race early in his second stint as Stéphane safely guided the #7 into the final hour before handing over to Alex.
The #8 was rapidly rising up the order and lay 13th with 50 minutes remaining when Anthony took the wheel for his final stint.
Both cars ran almost nose to tail during the final minutes, with Alex leading them over the line to win in the #7 by 50.460secs, as Anthony took the flag to make it a double celebration for TOYOTA Racing.
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “Congratulations to Anthony and Sébastien on becoming World Champions. They deserve the title, which is not just for the drivers themselves, but recognises a fantastic effort by the whole team. This is a really big prize, particularly because this year was the start of a new era of fuel efficiency. They are the first champions under these new regulations and we are very proud that the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing proved its performance by powering them to this title. Thank you to everyone who has been involved; all at TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, our colleagues in Motor Sport Division and the Hybrid Department of TOYOTA Motor Corporation in Japan plus our friends from ORECA and all our partners. Also I would like to pay tribute to our fans, who have been so supportive since the start of our project. Of course, big congratulations as well to Alex, Stéphane and Mike for their victory today. After a few races where various factors have hindered the #7, they were very quick and consistent today on a track which is one of the toughest on tyres. They did a great job.”
TS040 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway)
Race: 1st, 195 laps, 6 pit stops. Fastest lap: 1min 46.377secs
Alex Wurz: “I’m very happy for my team-mates on becoming World Champions. They have been mega all season. We work very hard together as drivers and there is a great atmosphere between us. Now they are the World Champions so they should enjoy it. We won the race so I am very happy with that. I must say thanks to Stéphane who pushed us in the right direction on set-up earlier in the weekend. We had a strong car and it was a good team effort.”
Stéphane Sarrazin: “Congratulations to Anthony and Sébastien. They have had an amazing season and they deserve this moment. I’m really pleased with our race and it’s fantastic to win again, especially here in Bahrain where I won in the #8 last season. In my stint I had to save a bit of fuel to avoid needing a splash later in the race. I worked hard to manage the situation and did a good stint; it all worked out well. Alex and Mike both did a great job, in fact the whole team has performed really well this week and all season.”
Mike Conway: “Well done to Anthony and Sébastien on sealing the World Championship. They have had an extremely strong season. Today was a great result for us in #7. Stéphane and Alex did some awesome stints and I am pleased with my performance. It’s great to pay back the faith and support the team has shown me. To win my first WEC race, in only my second race with TOYOTA, is a great result and a great day. I will cherish this moment for a long time.”
TS040 HYBRID #8 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi)
Race: 11th, 177 laps, 7 pit stops. Fastest lap: 1min 45.989secs
Anthony Davidson: “It’s been an amazing year. For me personally this is the biggest achievement in my career by a long way so it is a big day. I have never been a World Champion before so this means a lot and it still hasn’t really sunk in yet. The team did an amazing job and have given us the fastest car. It wasn’t exactly the way we wanted to win the title but I’m not complaining. Big thanks to the mechanics today for getting the car out on track again, not only the #8 guys but also the crew from #7 who helped out. This championship has been a real team effort and I’m so grateful to everyone who has made it happen. It’s a great day but there is still one more job to do in Brazil; win the manufacturers’ World Championship.”
Sébastien Buemi: “I am really pleased; it’s a great feeling to win the World Championship. It’s not the way we wanted to get it but we are really happy. To win a championship when you are competing against Porsche and Audi is a fantastic achievement. We had the car to win the race but I’m happy #7 won. Thanks to the team because to win a championship you need a great car and that’s what they gave us. Even if it is the drivers’ World Championship, it is really a title for the team because without everyone here at the track, back at Cologne and in Higashifuji, Anthony and I would not be here today. If we can make sure we win the manufacturers’ championship in Brazil it will be a fantastic year.”
FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), round 7, Sakhir (Bahrain), LMP1 Race
Porsche 919 Hybrids finish second and third on podium for the first time
Stuttgart. For the first time both Porsche 919 Hybrid crews were part of the podium ceremony: The trio of Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland) and Marc Lieb (Germany) finished second in round seven of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain. Immediately behind them the sister car crossed the line. Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Mark Webber (Australia) came third in the six-hour race. These are the fourth and fifth podium finishes for the Porsche 919 Hybrid in its debut season.
Great fights for position in the beginning and strategies that produced exciting outcomes in the end were the result of the penultimate round of the world championship, along with high temperatures of over 30 degrees Celsius.
How the race went for car number 14:
Dumas started from pole position and stayed in front until he was passed by a Toyota on lap five. Being the only car in the leading group not to pit during a full course yellow on lap 17, he took the lead again and held it until his pit stop for fuel and tyres after 30 laps. Dumas handed over to Lieb after 61 laps with the car lying in second. Lieb came in for his first pit stop for fuel and tyres after 92 laps. On lap 100 he overtook an Audi and moved up to P3 again. After 123 laps Jani took over car number 14 in second position. After 154 laps he came in for tyres and fuel and after 182 laps for fuel only. On fresher tyres, he was the faster of the two 919 Hybrids and passed the sister car for second position.
How the race went for car number 20:
Hartley started from third on the grid, improved to second, but then dropped behind the two Toyotas to P4. Soon he suffered from problems with the brake temperatures. He came in during the full course yellow after 17 laps for fuel and tyres, and continued in P5. When he handed over the car to Bernhard after 48 laps, he had improved to third. Bernhard was leading the race when pitting after lap 79 for fuel and tyres and was then leading again, thanks to other cars’ stops, when he handed over the car to Webber after 110 laps. Webber refuelled and received fresh tyres after 141 laps. For his next stop, after 169 laps, the team and he together decided to take the risk of saving time by not changing tyres and only refuelling the car to go to the finish of the race.
Quotes after the race:
Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Board, Research and Development, Porsche AG: “Second and third with both crews on the podium – this is a very nice conclusion to this exciting race. We tried everything, but a race win wasn’t quite possible yet. However, again we have made a significant step forward.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “It is unbelievable that, after we celebrated our third pole position yesterday, today we made even more progress. What is really important: We were able to improve our race pace and get closer to the fastest cars. In the end we tried to do a double stint on the same set of tyres with the number 20 car, which didn’t really work out. Nevertheless, congratulations to the team! We look forward to Sao Paulo very positively.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Having both crews on the podium is a great result. We have been close to it a few times before. Compared to earlier races, we got closer to Toyota, plus we learnt a great deal in terms of race strategy and tyre management. A big thank you to everyone in the team, including the drivers, for a very good job this weekend. Now we can’t wait to get to Sao Paulo. Congratulations to Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson on winning the FIA WEC drivers’ title. ”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 14
Romain Dumas (36, France): “I had a good start from pole position and enjoyed leading the race until the Toyota passed me. Then I was leading again after the other cars pitted during a short full course yellow. At this point the team decided to split the strategies for the two cars. Which one works out best you always only know at the end of the race. When it became cooler towards the end of my second stint the car improved a lot. So, this time, I left the nicer part of the race to my team mates.”
Neel Jani (30, Switzerland): “This was a good race. After yesterday’s pole position it is nice to have both cars on the podium today. Unfortunately in the end we were not in a position to fight for the race win. We will analyse to see if the decision on the strategy during the full course yellow was the right one. Nevertheless, in the end we were able to match the Toyota’s speed. We are improving race by race and today we were really close. Hopefully we can fight for the next step on the podium in Sao Paulo.”
Marc Lieb (34, Germany): ”I found a good rhythm during my stint. The car was significantly faster and more consistent in the night when it was cooler. Also, for me as a driver, it was a lot better and our 919 was very well balanced. Only towards the end of the stint did I have tyre degradation on both the front and rear. But I think I was able to catch up a bit.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 20
Timo Bernhard (33, Germany): “I had two trouble free stints, which for me went very smoothly, despite the fact it wasn’t easy to keep the car balanced. It looked good for us early in the race and in the beginning we stopped when the track was yellow. The traffic was very close and you really had to watch out, but it worked very well. With this double-podium finish we have reached our next target, so I’m happy.”
Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): “Today’s first double stint was a bit tricky for me. On the opening laps it was great fun and a fair fight with the Toyotas, but then I had a problem with the brake temperatures. I tried to play with all the toys we have available to help with such a problem, but it still cost me a lot of time. But when the temperatures dropped the car came alive again.”
Mark Webber (38, Australia): ”It is a great day for Porsche to get two cars onto the podium. The conditions were not easy for the cars and, therefore, the result is another milestone. We learn a huge amount in every event. With the number 20 car we were not quite able to do the same pace as the number 14 car today. For all three of us it was a tricky day, a bit like it started yesterday in qualifying.”
Race result 6 hours of Sakhir (Bahrain):
1. Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway (A/F/GB), Toyota TS040 Hybrid, 195 laps
2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche 919 Hybrid, – 50,460 s
3. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche 919 Hybrid, – 57,268 s
4. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/D/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, – 1 lap
5. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (BRA/F/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, – 2 laps
6. Kraihammer/Belicchi/Leimer (A/I/CH), Rebellion R-One-Toyota, – 7 laps
FIA World Endurance Champonship (WEC) after 7 out of 8 rounds,
1. Davidson/Buemi (GB/CH), Toyota, 148 (world champions)
2. Lotterer/Tréluyer/Fässler (D/F/CH), Audi, 117
3. Wurz/Sarrazin (A/F), Toyota, 104
4. Di Grassi/Kristensen (BRA/DK), Audi, 102
5. Lapierre (F), Toyota, 96
6. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche, 92
7. Nakajima (J), Toyota, 71
8. Duval (F), Audi, 66
9. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche, 63,5
10. Prost/Heidfeld/Beche (F/D/CH), Rebellion, 60,5
1. Toyota, 259
2. Audi, 219
3. Porsche, 167
Audi continues to keep WEC title decision in manufacturers’ classification open in Bahrain
- Manufacturers’ title fight goes down to the wire for the first time
- Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer is best Audi team with fourth place
- Strong team performance from preparation all the way into the race
Ingolstadt/Bahrain, November 15, 2014 – In what has been its most work-intensive 6-hour race in the three-year history of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Audi squad managed to continue to keep the title decision open. As a result, the manufacturers’ classification, for the first time ever, will only be decided in the finale after Audi had been “crowned” early as the World Champions in each of the past two years.
The postponement of the title decision is the sweetest reward for Audi Sport Team Joest’s arguably most work-intensive week ever since the WEC was launched in 2012. Between Tuesday and Friday, the squad prepared three race cars from scratch in Bahrain due to damage to the monocoques that had been discovered after the previous race and the first day of practice in Bahrain.
Car number 1 of Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen (BR/F/DK) delivered an impeccable performance in special conditions. Due to the need to have its race car prepared again from scratch the trio missed out on one practice session and qualifying on Friday. The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro did its first laps on Saturday in the race. The hybrid sports cars handled the six hours in the heat of Bahrain – with track temperatures of 34 degrees centigrade at the beginning of the race – without the slightest technical irregularity and finished in fifth place. Start driver Lucas di Grassi on fresh tires in the early stage even set the fastest race lap once.
After Marcel Fässler (CH) in the sister car number 2 had switched from the tires he had used in qualifying to a fresh set of slicks at the first pit stop, he drove the fastest race lap in this stage of the race. Still, the Swiss, together with his team-mate André Lotterer (D) and Benoît Tréluyer (F) ultimately had to admit defeat in the battle for a podium position. Following the strength-sapping penultimate event of the season, Audi is now concentrating on the finale. The São Paulo 6 Hours in Brazil is on the agenda in only two weeks time.
Quotes after the race
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “Sincere congratulations to Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson on the early win of the title in the drivers’ championship. At the same time, our entire squad that worked extremely hard for five days deserves a special compliment. Both race cars were running excellently. A big ‘thank you’ for this. Unfortunately, we didn’t achieve the podium today. Our drivers were running really well but the small fuel tank capacity dictated by the regulations, despite the efficient diesel engine, forced us to make an additional pit stop five laps before the end of the race or to save an extreme amount of fuel across several stints. A race can’t be won like this.”
Chris Reinke (Leiter LMP): “Our congratulations, today, first go to our competitors who managed to secure the drivers’ title. At the same time, a huge ‘well done’ goes to our squad that had to prepare new cars three times this weekend. The cars ran without any technical problems whatsoever. That’s the feat we can be proud of this weekend. In addition, we achieved our aim of keeping the manufacturer’s championship open even though it’ll be difficult to turn the tables at São Paulo. But we’re not giving up.”
Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “I’m very proud that our squad prepared a car from scratch that ran in a six-hour race without any problem although we didn’t even have a functional test. This can’t be judged highly enough because the design of the hybrid sports cars is very complex. We now prepared three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars within a few days and all of them were running impeccably. We knew that we wouldn’t have a real chance here in the race – not even via the tire strategy. Congratulations to Toyota with car number 7 on the drivers’ title. We kept the manufacturers’ championship open. I hope that in Brazil we’ll be experiencing a slightly less turbulent race weekend than we did here.”
Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “I managed to drive off really well at the start and immediately advanced to third place but, unfortunately, didn’t keep the position for very long. We thought it would be a lot hotter today. That’s why the tires didn’t work properly and I lost a relatively large amount of time. We then pitted early, I received the same tires as Lucas di Grassi and, as a result, was able to keep the pace again. Generally, it was a very difficult race but we showed that we don’t give up and have got a fantastic squad. We’re still making the quickest pit stops and there’s no reason to hang our heads. We’ll continue to battle and are hoping to move forwards again soon.”
André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “It wasn’t a bad race for us. In the beginning, things weren’t running smoothly for us because Marcel Fässler’s tires weren’t ideal for this race situation. Afterwards, things were going well. We extracted the maximum from the car. The team did a superb job. Our pit stops were good although the guys had had a rough week. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a place on the podium to reward them but we’re not giving up.”
Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “The whole squad was first-rate despite having worked so much beforehand. It was a very tough race. The tire choice in the beginning wasn’t perfect but it was worth a try. Marcel Fässler initially battled and André Lotterer was very strong too. The pit stops were flawless and very quick. We tried to extract the best out of the car. Towards the end, we had a problem with the rubber on the track which our tires picked up. As a result, the car wasn’t as good to drive anymore as it had been before on new tires.”
Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “This was a difficult race as well as one that I’m very proud of. Our mechanics did a brilliant job and, despite getting very little sleep, prepared our car from scratch twice. We didn’t have a roll-out but in the race our car was in perfect condition. So I’m very proud that we managed to take a few points home for our squad.”
Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “This was a pretty tough race. I’m proud of our squad. They’re the heroes of the weekend. We were struggling today but we’re emerging from such situations even stronger. It’s good that we were able to postpone the title decision once more.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “This has been an eventful weekend. The entire team of Audi Sport worked very hard. I only drove seven laps in Bahrain before driving my stint in the race – that wasn’t easy. Traction was an issue here. But I think we fought a good battle and made no mistakes. It was great driving under floodlights here in Bahrain. And of course I congratulate Toyota and Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi on their title win. They were simply outstanding this year.”
1 Conway/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) 195 laps in 6h 00m 18.056s
2 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) + 50.460s
3 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) + 57.268s
4 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 1 lap
5 Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) – 2 laps
6 Belicchi/Kraihamer/Leimer (Rebellion-Toyota) – 7 laps
7 Beche/Heidfeld/Prost (Rebellion-Toyota) – 13 laps
8 Bradley/Howson/Imperatori (Oreca-Nissan) – 14 laps
9 Ladygin/Ladygin/Shaitar (Oreca-Nissan) – 17 laps
10 Cheng/Ihara/Patterson (Morgan-Judd) – 17 laps