For the second consecutive year Porsche has taken everything in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC): victory in Le Mans, winning the manufacturers’ world championship in Shanghai and the drivers’ world championship at the finale in Bahrain.
In the last of nine WEC rounds in 2016 Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) came third, having started second on the grid with their Porsche 919 Hybrid. The new world champions, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) only came sixth after contact with another car early in the race. Audi’s dominant one-two race result was an impressive farewell from the WEC.
The six-hour race started at 16:00 hrs with ambient temperatures near 30 degrees Celsius. After the sun had set at 16:45 hrs the air cooled down to 24 degrees.
Timo Bernhard starts with car number 1 from second on the grid and lets Neel Jani in the sister car pass him on the first lap. On lap 13 the number 7 Audi also overtakes him, Timo Bernhard is fourth now. After 29 laps he hands over to Mark Webber, who manages to improve to third by overtaking the number 5 Toyota on lap 43. Brendon Hartley jumps in after 59 laps, and after 89 laps Timo Bernhard takes over until Brendon Hartley is back in the car after 120 laps. Timo Bernhard once again jumps in after 150 laps, before finally, after 180 laps, Mark Webber goes in to enjoy the final stint of his racing career. After a total of 201 laps he brings the 919 home in P3.
Neel Jani improves on lap one from third to second in car number 2. On lap 15 he is overtaken by the number 7 Toyota. Neel Jani is third now in front of the sister Porsche. After 28 laps he has his first pit stop and continues. One lap later he has contact with a GT car and has to stop again: the damaged tyre and rear bodywork is changed. Now the number 2 Porsche is one lap down. After 60 laps Romain Dumas takes over, after 91 laps it is Marc Lieb’s turn, after 122 laps Neel Jani is back behind the wheel and after 153 laps it is Romain Dumas again. Marc Lieb climbs into the car for the final stint to cross the line some 20 minutes later after 198 laps and becomes a world champion.
|Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani won the driver's titel|
How the race went for Mark Webber during his last race of his racing career.
Mark Webber (40, Australia): “I was the second and the last driver in the car today, and pretty happy with both stints. Early in the race I had a nice little fight with the number 5 Toyota. I managed to get passed him and tried to pull away, but we didn’t have enough pace to fight the Audi. Then for the final stint it was pretty emotional putting my helmet on for the last time. I enjoyed the last stint and I got the chance to bring the car to the chequered flag for the top three finish, and this was the maximum we could get today. It has been such an incredible three years for me with Porsche, together with Timo and Brendon and the whole team. Nothing is forever, I’m stopping at a good time and I’m looking forward to seeing everybody again soon.”