Although the LMP2 Championship was sewn-up in Shanghai, the excitement continued right down to the wire in this year’s season Finale at the Bahrain International Circuit.
G-Drive took the Pole position with their Oreca 05 only to have it stripped from them in scrutineering when a missing mesh cover over the brakes demoted them to the back of the grid. That said, the Anglo-Russian squad drove a faultless race and with just two laps remaining, Rene Rast caught Filipe Albuquerque to snatch lead which the orange car would hold to the end of the race gaining the squad their third straight victory this season.
The RGR by Morand team held on to take second place, both on today’s podium and the 2016 Championship overall and the 2016 Champions elect, Signatech Alpine claimed a hard fought third place after leading the early stages of the race.
In LM GTE Aston Martin took the race down to the wire – with a pole in both classes and the #95 car lined up next to its sister #97 in second spot the chances of Drivers’ and team’s honours remained alive (albeit a huge ask in Am). Following a text book start all the cars ran well until XXX when both the #97 Pro and #98 Am cars suffered mechanical failures, the Am car’s being terminal. Jonny Adam lost the front right wheel but managed to limp back to the pits where the car was repaired however, Paul Dalla Lana was less luck with the #98 car suffering a catastrophic engine failure that retired the car from the race.
With the #95 car of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorrenson still running well there remained the hope of a Driver’s title and a class win and that is exactly what the Danish pair delivered, taking first place form the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 of Bruni and Caldo to scoop the Driver’s Title. Third in class went to the #67 Ford GT of Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK with the British duo of Harry Tinknell and Andy Priaulx driving a faultless race in a BoP hobbled car.
The #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR took the honours in the Am class posting a time of 6:02:14.439, taking the chequered flag one lap ahead of the similar Porsche of KCMG. Final spot on the podium went to the #83 AF Corse Ferrari of Emmanuel Collard, François Perrodo and Rui Aguas, handing the trio the 2016 FIA Endurance Drivers Trophy for the LM GTE Am class.