Sunshine and smiles in the Middle East
Photo: Photo : JEAN MICHEL LE MEUR -

Sunshine and smiles in the Middle East



The FIA WEC travelled to the Middle East for Round 6 of the FIA World Endurance Championship in the Kingdom of Bahrain.  The welcome was as warm as the weather, which reached nearly 40 degrees during the day and didn’t drop much at night. 

On Saturday 29 September the 6 Hours of Bahrain attracted a good sized crowd, who were entertained throughout the day with plenty of off track activities, a live performance of Arab singing sensation Majid Al Mohandis and a fantastic firework display to greet the winning drivers at the end of the 6 Hours of Bahrain.

Race day proved to one of high drama once again with the Audi and Toyota battle that was ignited in Sao Paulo continuing under the desert sun.  This time it was Audi that came out on top but they had to contend with a very swift Toyota TS030 that opened up a comfortable gap during the race, only to be hampered by technical issues that eventually forced the Japanese team to retire.

Strakka Racing were victorious in the LMP1 Privateers battle, finishing on the overall podium in 3rd place and beating arch rivals Rebellion Racing to the top step of the Privateer podium.  Pecom Racing took their first LMP2 win of the season, beating the No.23 Signatech-Nissan and three times winners, Starworks Motorsports, to the chequered flag.

For the fourth race in a row the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari, this time in the hands of Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, was victorious in the LMGTE Pro class, securing the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro teams for AF Corse and also helping to secure the FIA LMGTE Manufacturers’ World Cup for Ferrari with two races remaining.  The No.88 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche of Gianluca Roda, Paolo Ruberti and Christian Ried secured a dominant victory in the LMGTE Am class ahead of the No.61 AF Corse-Waltrip Ferrari.

Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said:  “The first Le Mans style endurance race in the Middle East has been a big success, with an enthusiastic local crowd getting their first taste of the Spirit of Le Mans. I’d like to thank Sheikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa and his team, who have made everyone involved in the FIA World Endurance Championship feel at home here in Bahrain. From the paddock party on Wednesday through to the race on Saturday everything ran smoothly and efficiently and we look forward to returning to Bahrain on the 30th November next year for the finale of the 2013 FIA WEC.”

Next stop is the Far East with the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan on the 14th October.

Jeff Carter

Photo: SAKHIR (BAHRAIN), BAHRAIN INTERNATIONAL CIRCUIT, 6 HOURS OF BAHRAIN, SATURDAY 29TH SEPTEMBER 2012, RACE.  Bahrain offered sunshine and smiles to the FIA World Endurance Championship.