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Rachit Thukral

Bahrain WEC: Toyota and Ferrari clinch world titles

Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa were crowned the 2022 Hypercar champions in the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid after the trio finished second behind the race-winning #7 car of Jose Maria Lopez, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the bonus-points finale.

The #8 Toyota crew sat only one point clear of Alpine trio Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Andre Negrao going into the race, but the #36 A480-Gibson turned out to be the slowest car in the Hypercar field and could only finish third, giving the Japanese manufacturer a relatively easy run to the title.

Buemi, Hartley, Hirakawa, however, didn’t seal the crown with a third win of the season, having been ordered by Toyota to let the #7 car through into the lead during the third hour of the race.

The #8 GR010 Hybrid had initially been the quicker of the two cars from Toyota's stable but Conway was able to rapidly close in on Hartley after assuming driving duties from Lopez, prompting the Japanese manufacturer to order a swap.

Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa took the title after finishing second behind their teammates. (Photo by: Toyota Racing)

Hartley, Buemi and Hirakawa lacked the speed to close back in on the #7 Toyota in the remainder of the race and eventually crossed the finish line more than 45s adrift, but second place was enough to add the Hypercar title to the victory they scored at Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

Alpine had qualified dead-last in the Hypercar field and after some early-race heroics from Lapierre, the French manufacturer was not able to put any realistic challenge to either Toyota or Peugeot, the only other competing teams in the class.

It was only reliability issues for the two Peugeot 9X8s that promoted Lapierre, Negrao and Vaxiviere to the final spot of the podium, but even then the trio finished two down in third in what was the last race for Alpine's Oreca-built LMP1 car.

The #94 Peugeot of Gustavo Menezes, Loic Duval and new recruit Nico Muller was the only car from the Stellantis brand that could see the chequered flag, with the #93 entry that had qualified on the front row retired during the penultimate hour.

Even the #94 Peugeot didn’t have an easy run and after a second stoppage just prior to the mid-race point of the race it spent several minutes in the garage, eventually finishing the race six laps down on the winning #7 Toyota.

#38 Jota Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2: Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Will Stevens (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

JOTA wins LMP2 title, WRT takes race win

JOTA clinched the 2022 LMP2 title in Bahrain after Antonio Felix da Costa, Will Stevens and Roberto Gonzalez secured the requisite points with a third-place finish, as WRT ended the season with another fine victory.

With a 28-point lead in the standings thanks to a class victory at Le Mans, the #38 JOTA crew only needed to finish inside the top seven in order to be guaranteed of a first LMP2 title in the WEC’s history.

Although da Costa, Stevens and Gonzalez weren’t able to trouble the frontrunners for victory in the Bahrain 8 Hours, a podium was more than sufficient to defeat the #23 United Autosports crew of Oliver Jarvis, Alex Lynn and Josh Pierson to the crown.

The #31 WRT of Robin Frijns, Rene Rast and Sean Gelael had qualified down in eighth place in the LMP2 field, but a rapid first stint from Rast in the third hour propelled the squad into a lead that it wouldn’t relinquish for the remainder of the event.

It marked third victory of the season for the #31 WRT as well as the fourth of the year for the two-car Belgian squad, with the team’s sister Realteam-branded entry of Ferdinand Habsburg, Norman Nato and Rui Andrade having won at Monza.

Jarvis, Lynn and Pierson finished second in the race ahead of title winners da Costa, Stevens and Gonzalez, while Louis Deletraz, Robert Kubica and Lorenzo Colombo finished fourth for Prema after pitting under one of the full-course yellow periods.

The title in the Pro-Am subclass went to the new-for-2022 AF Corse team after Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rovera finishing 10th among all LMP2 entrants.

Its rival Algarve Pro team earned a late drive-through penalty that left it 12th at the finish.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid LMP1: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Ferrari clinches GTE Pro title despite late drama

Ferrari duo James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi clinched the last-ever GTE Pro world title despite the late drama that struck the #51 488 GTE car in the penultimate hour of the race.

Calado was running comfortably in second position and ahead of Corvette and the two Porsches when his car developed a serious gearbox problem that prevented him from engaging fourth gear.

Losing between five to eight seconds a lap, the #51 crew plummeted to last place in class and had to desperately try to nurse the car to the finish in order to bag the points for fifth place in the overall GTE standings.

Despite dropping four laps off the lead, Pier Guidi was able to bring the hobbled car home after taking over from Calado. With the #92 Porsche of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen failing to finish higher than third, Ferrari was - incredibly - able to defend its title in the GTE Pro class.

The Italian manufacturer also clinched the race win courtesy of the #52 car driven by Antonio Fuoco and Miguel Molina, as Nick Tandy and Tommy Milner finished second in the #64 Corvette C8.R.

#51 AF Corse Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Going into the race, the #92 911 RSR-19 of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre was the manufacturer’s best bet for the title, three points clear of Bruni in the #91 car.

However, Christensen and Estre were twice unlucky with the timing of full-course yellows, with the first intervention at the beginning of Hour 2 handing the lead to the #51 Ferrari and the third FCY after the midway point catching them out and dropping them nearly a lap down of the leader.

They moved up to the final spot on the podium after Porsche brought in the second GTE Pro car of Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz for a splash-and-dash on the final lap of the race.

Start action (Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images)

Aston clinches GTE Am title

The Project 1 Porsche team claimed a 1-2 finish in GTE Am with the #46 entry shared by Matteo Cairoli, Mikkel Pedersen and Nicolas Leutwiler winning from Ben Barnicoat, PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeannette in the #56 car.

Both Project 1 machines were able to pass the #85 Iron Dames Ferrari of Michael Gatting, Rahel Frey and Sarah Bovy that led much of the race in the final two hours, demoting the all-female team to third.

The title went to the TF Sport Aston Martin team after Ben Keating, Henrique Chaves and Marco Sorensen finished third, ahead of the only car that could beat it to the title - the similar Vantage GT3 of Nicki Thiim, Paul Dalla Lana and David Pittard entered by Northwest AMR.

WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain - race results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Laps Time
1 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 245 -
2 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 245 45.471
3 36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 243 2 laps
4 94 France Loic Duval
United States Gustavo Menezes
Switzerland Nico Müller
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 239 6 laps
5 31 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Germany René Rast
Oreca 07 LMP2 237 8 laps
6 23 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United States Josh Pierson
Oreca 07 LMP2 237 8 laps
7 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 236 9 laps
8 9 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Italy Lorenzo Colombo
Oreca 07 LMP2 236 9 laps
9 41 Portugal Rui Andrade
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 236 9 laps
10 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Will Owen
Oreca 07 LMP2 236 9 laps
11 28 Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
United Arab Emirates Ed Jones
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
Oreca 07 LMP2 236 9 laps
12 1 France Lilou Wadoux
France Paul-Loup Chatin
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 235 10 laps
13 10 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
Ireland Ryan Cullen
France Sébastien Bourdais
Oreca 07 LMP2 235 10 laps
14 83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Oreca 07 LMP2 235 10 laps
15 35 France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
France Matthieu Lahaye
France François Heriau
Oreca 07 LMP2 235 10 laps
16 45 United States Steven Thomas
Australia James Allen
Austria Rene Binder
Oreca 07 LMP2 235 10 laps
17 52 Spain Miguel Molina
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 231 14 laps
18 64 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 230 15 laps
19 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 230 1'16.903
20 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 230 1'32.956
21 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 227 18 laps
22 44 Slovakia Miro Konopka
Switzerland Mathias Beche
United Kingdom Richard Bradley
Oreca 07 LMP2 227 1'30.736
23 46 Italy Matteo Cairoli
Denmark Mikkel Pedersen
Switzerland Nicolas Leutwiler
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 19 laps
24 56 PJ Hyett
United States Gunnar Jeannette
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 26.540
25 85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 226 29.714
26 33 United States Ben Keating
Portugal Henrique Chaves Jr.
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 226 54.062
27 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom David Pittard
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 226 1'30.998
28 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 1'41.007
29 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
New Zealand Nick Cassidy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 226 1'41.154
30 77 Germany Christian Ried
United Kingdom Sebastian Priaulx
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 226 1'46.820
31 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 225 20 laps
32 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Charlie Fagg
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 225 1'07.219
33 21 France Simon Mann
Switzerland Christoph Ulrich
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 225 1'49.290
34 88 United States Fred Poordad
United States Patrick Lindsey
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 224 21 laps
35 71 France Franck Dezoteux
France Pierre Ragues
France Gabriel Aubry
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 224 1'53.983
36 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Mexico Esteban Gutierrez
Oreca 07 LMP2 231 13 laps
37 93 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 171 74 laps
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