The Alley

WEC Bahrain Preview

The season finale of the FIA World Endurance Championship is here, and while the LMP1 titles are all wrapped up, the GTE Pro championship is still up for grabs in Bahrain.

Porsche’s second and third place finishes at the penultimate race in Shanghai secured the manufacturer title for the German marque in LMP1.

In addition, the No. 2 919 Hybrid team of Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley earned the driver championship with their second place over the race-winning No. 8 Toyota trio.

Being Porsche’s last race in LMP1 competition, the championship winning team, as well as the sister No. 1 car of Nick Tandy, Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer will certainly be seeking a victory to send the team out on a high note.

“The entire team will experience a very emotional weekend in Bahrain,” Lotterer said.

“I had similar feelings with Audi last year. But I think this time it will be different for the entire paddock because an era of great competition between extremely cool hybrid sports cars is ending.

“I will try to enjoy every second and take all the memories with me. I want to contribute with a strong performance for a nice farewell.”

In GTE Pro, though Ferrari has already claimed the manufacturer crown, just two points separate the top two teams in the driver standings, and seven and a half separate the top three.

At the top of the points table sit AF Corse Ferrari’s James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi with 135. The duo has three race victories in 2017 and a further two second-place finishes.

Just two points back sit Porsche’s Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz. The Porsche pair is seeking their first victory of the year, and the first for the Porsche GTE Pro program in 2017, and they have one more chance to get it in Bahrain. However, six podium finishes in eight races have kept them in championship contention.

After dropping out of the championship lead following a difficult North American swing, Ford’s Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell have not yet given up their hopes of championship glory. A win in Shanghai puts the pair back in third, just seven and a half points out of the lead.

“We need to go to Bahrain and win,” Tincknell said.

“There are 7.5 points between us and the Ferrari drivers and you get 25 for a win, 18 for second and a point for pole. If we get pole position and the win we’ll be world champions.

“We’ve been taking it one race at a time this year, whether we felt we were in with a shot at victory or not.

“We just need to keep the same, relaxed attitude and that’s what the team will do, too. It’s all in our hands now.”

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