WEC: Toyota champion without surprise; Ferrari beats Porsche on the edge… and in the GTE controversy!
Saturday 6 November 2021 by Philippe Brasseur
The last event of the 2021 World Endurance Championship (WC) season, the 8 Hours of Bahrain followed the 6 hour race, contested on the same circuit but not the same route, which took place last week.
And like 8 days ago, the Toyota GR010 Hypercar prototypes met no opposition. The No.8 car of Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima (of which it was the last race, the 36-year-old Japanese having announced his retirement from the international scene) and Brendon Hartley easily won ahead of the No.7 of José- Maria Lopéz, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway. The latter have also won the world drivers’ title while Toyota is of course crowned among manufacturers.
Having seen its ex-LMP1 prototype lose 5 laps due to technical problems during the 1st hour of the race, after having nevertheless managed a better start than the Toyotas and taking the lead in a few turns, the Alpine team was unable to do so. no danger for the two GR010 hybrids. The race of the André Negrao / Mathieu Vaxivière / Nicolas Lapierre trio still ended with a good comeback, which ended with 3rd place in the final.
While there was no rebound in the Hypercar class, the LMP2 class offered more action, although again there the WRT team’s Oreca dominated again. As at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in August and at the 6 Hours last week, the Charles Milesi, Robin Frijns and Ferdinand Habsburg crew won and won the title.
The Top 6 all-categories, and therefore the podium of LMP2 is completed by the two cars of Team Jota, the No.38 of Antonio Félix da Costa, Roberto Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson overtaking, in a rather muscular way, the sister car. No.28 by Tom Blomqvist, Stoffel Vandoorne and Sean Gelael. For Anthony Davidson, it was also his last race in his career, he who was previously an F1 driver and then at Peugeot and Toyota in Endurance.
In GTE Pro, the duel announced between Porsche and Ferrari aroused much more passions, contacts between the 911 RSR No.92 entered by the official German team and one of the 488 GTE of the AF Corse team, the No .51 (photo above) driven by the hot Alessandro Pier Guidi, even being frequent at the end of the race! It was also in the controversy that this duel ended: 10 minutes from the end, Pier Guidi pushed Michael Christinsen’s Porsche into a spin during braking. This way of taking the controls obviously pleased neither the Porsche staff… nor the race management who then gave the order by radio to Pier Guidi to give back the position to his opponent. But as the Italian complied, driving at slow speed to allow Christensen to regain first place, the Dane was called by his team for a final refueling. Pier Guidi then resumed his race pace and also returned to the pits to refuel two laps later. Emerged under the nose of the Porsche, he was able to control the situation to take not only the victory but also the drivers’ title for himself and his team-mate James Calado, as well as for Ferrari in GT.
For Porsche, including the No.92 of Kévin Estre, Michael Christensen and Neel Jani must be content with 2nd place in the race as in the drivers ‘and manufacturers’ championship, the defeat is obviously bitter and Christensen did not hesitate to come. tell his way of thinking about Pier Guidi in full live televised post-race interview! The second Ferrari / AF Corse, entrusted to Daniel Serra and Miguel Molina, completed the podium in a category which unfortunately only had 4 entries but which provided a good part of the show.
On the other hand, they were 13 (out of a total of 31 registered) in the GTE Am class. The Aston Martin Vantage quickly eliminated from the fight for victory, a first this season, the battle for, again, turned into a Porsche-Ferrari duel . Leading halfway through the race, Riccardo Pera’s 911 RSR conceded victory in the final hour against the Ferrari of Nicklas Nielsen, François Perrodo and Alessio Rovera. The latter also won the 2021 title in their category.
Matt Campbell, Jaxon Evans and Christian Reid finished 2nd with one of the Porsche 911 RSRs from Dempsey-Proton Racing, ahead of the trio Egidio Perfetti, Matteo Cairoli and Riccardo Pera.
Disappointment on the other hand for the only Canadian registered, Paul Dalla Lana. Faithful to Aston Martin, the Ontarian teamed up again with Brazilians Marcos Gomes and Augusto Farfus. They finished 11th in the GTE Am, delayed by a collision and a puncture. Dalla Lana will be back in competition next January, when he will compete in the 24 Hours of Daytona, the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship, in an Aston Martin GT3 in the GTD class.
For the full classification of this race, click here. For the final scores of the 2021 WEC Championship, here. Note, however, that it is likely that Porsche will file a protest against Ferrari following the stormy arrival in GTE Pro. These rankings are therefore only provisional …