Emotions were flowing at today’s final round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship at the Bahrain International Circuit. Saving the best until last we saw with champions crowned in multiple classes, bid farewells to great friends and enjoyed the special type of spectacular racing that only the WEC can serve up.
Audi finished 18 years of endurance racing on a high with the #8 R18 TDI taking Pole Position, Fastest Lap (Lucas Di Grassi) and the overall win – a clean sweep! The Bahrain season finale marked Lucas Di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis’ second win of season and handed them second place overall in the World Championship also.
“It’s a good feeling to end this season with a golden result as a team.” said Lucas Di Grassi in an emotionally charged press conference.
“Naturally, I’m sad that Audi and most of us are leaving the WEC, which is such a big family. I’m not only going to miss the races, but the people as well.
His views were echoed by team mates Oliver Jarvis and Loïc Duval. “We had a fantastic year. Our weekend was very emotional. Naturally, we wanted to win. We managed to do that, and it was the perfect conclusion of Audi’s sports car program.” said Jarvis.
The #7 sister car of Marcel Fässler, Benoit Tréluyer and André Lotterer completed Audi’s dominant ‘dream weekend’ taking second place, giving the German manufacturer the best possible result from a race weekend.
“There’s no sweeter way to end such a project than with a one-two victory. It was a very emotional race and the entire FIA WEC made it very difficult for us to quit.” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Audi’s Head of Motorsport.
“What happened in the WEC will not repeat itself. These 18 years of the sports car project have been a very important part of my professional life that I tremendously enjoyed. And I was fortunate enough to have always worked together with fantastic people.”
The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendan Hartley and Timo Bernhard closed out the podium and the racing career of the charismatic Australian taking a hard fought third place – the German marque unable to match the pace of its sister company this weekend.
Fourth and fifth places went respectively to the #5 and #6 cars of Toyota Gazoo Racing with the Japanese team off the pace the whole weekend. Final spot in the hybrid class went to the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid trio of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani who, despite contact with the KCMG Porsche 911 RSR in second hour clinched the FIA World Endurance Drivers’ title handing Porsche its fourth WEC title in two years.