This year’s Le Mans winners, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), have an advantage of 17 points ahead of the best placed Toyota. In other words: bringing home the 919 Hybrid in fifth place would be enough for the title win, even if the Toyota wins and also takes the one point for pole position. The basic re-quirement is a clean and error free six-hour race.

While the driving trio in the number 2 car fights for the title, the number 1 car’s crew also faces an emotional weekend: Bahrain will see the trio of Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) racing together for the very last time after the former Formula One driver announced his retirement at the end of the sea-son. In the future he will join Porsche in his new role as special representative. The three drivers, who are still the reigning world champions, have won four races so far this season. However, after being unlucky earlier this year and in Le Mans, they still rank fourth in the standings.  

Slightly cooler tarmac is welcomed by the Porsche Team

The 5.412 kilometre long Formula One track in Sakhir will host the third WEC race of the year to be held partly in the dark – after Le Mans and Austin. The six-hour race will be green flagged at 16:00 hrs local time. This is actually an hour later than last year and means the drivers will have to deal with blinding from the setting sun right from the beginning. At 16:45 hrs the sun will disappear behind the horizon. Slightly cooler tarmac, however, is welcomed by the Porsche Team, because the competi-tion benefits from the heat. In any case, the track has a rather poor grip level be-cause the fine sand from the desert is continuously blown onto it.  

“Six wins out of eight races, plus the early manufacturers’ title win, this is a fantastic interim balance sheet,” said Fritz Enzinger, the Vice President LMP1. “I’m incredibly proud of our team. Everybody gave everything and it was worth it. For the finale now we will again bundle up all our forces to win the drivers’ crown again in Bahrain. It is not going to be easy, but surely exciting. I just hope it doesn’t become such a nail-biter as it was in 2015. Thinking about this race being the last one for Mark as well as for our highly respected competitor Audi, I prefer to postpone until afterwards.”

Team Principal Andreas Seidl added: “The Bahrain track itself, as well as the ex-pected higher temperatures, are less suitable for our 919 Hybrid than the Shanghai circuit was, where we clearly had the fastest car on track. Even more important is a strong team effort for perfect preparation and set-up, continuing reliability, fast pit stops and right strategic calls. Of course we’d love to conclude the season with a race win together with the drivers’ title. We will fight until the very last lap to fulfil that.

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