Gulf Insider attended the FIA WEC Rally and it was phenomenal!
The WEC or World Endurance Championship is an auto-racing series co-organized by the Federation Internationale de L’ Automobile (FIA) and Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO). This rally-type competition is open to Le Mans Prototypes and Grand Tourer style cars meeting four ACO categories. These cars are some of the most technologically advanced in the world including Hybrids and GT’s and most of the drivers in the WEC have also raced in Formula One, the top tier of car racing.
Since 2012, Bahrain has been part of the FIA calendar and has been making waves in the endurance racing circuit because of its award winning track. This is the 5th time that the WEC was held in Bahrain and being the last race of the season, it is one of the most awaited. The race started on Saturday, November 19th, and went on into the night in the Bahrain International Circuit, lit by 5,000 floodlights. 32 cars went into this action packed grid with high hopes.
This race had several highlights. Audi won 1st and 2nd place in a “dream exit” that happened a month after they announced their withdrawal from endurance racing. Audi #8 with Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval, and Oliver Jarvis won first place; with their teammates in Audi #7 (Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, and Benoit Treluyer) only 16 seconds behind. Audi signed off in a blaze of glory after 18 successful years.
Porsche also had another memorable win securing pole position with a third place triumph, 1 minute and 17 seconds behind the winning car. The team composed of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard, and Brendon Hartley were understandably emotional as this is Mark Webber’s final race, and he ended it on a high note.
Not their only victory, Porsche’s #2 team (consisting of Neil Jani, Romain Dumas, and Marc Lieb) also secured the FIA World Endurance Driver’s Championship despite finishing sixth. Porsche also won this title last year. Neil Jani who has won in Le Mans this year said that this win is simply amazing!
We watched the action with the Porsche team and it was very impressive and fast-paced with a lot of thrilling chases. As Neel Jani puts it “The atmosphere in Bahrain is not like Le Mans or Nurbugring but it may