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Hypercar Clash: Gulf Weekly Online



By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez made history in the fifth and penultimate round of the Bahrain Bapco 6 Hours of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

The formidable trio were crowned the first world champion of the Hypercar era with a victory at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.

The crew of the No.7 GR010 Hybrid Hypercar finished the race 51.401 seconds ahead of their closest challengers and teammates Sebatien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, who started from pole with the No.8 challenger. to finish second.

“I’m a competitor and we never like to finish second, but it was an incredible result for the team,” said Buemi, a former Bahraini resident whose family still lives in the kingdom.

“For Toyota Gazoo Racing, finishing first and second is a great way to wrap up the Hypercar title in its first season. It is the result of hard work on the part of the mechanics, engineers and the whole team. We must congratulate them on this incredible achievement.

The two Toyota Gazoo Racing competitors clocked 185 laps in the WEC Hypercar class and their company president, Koji Sato, couldn’t be happier.

“Congratulations to the No.7 car for three consecutive victories and to the No.8 car for taking the second place thanks to their exceptional work to win this fantastic double,” he said.

“Thank you very much for bringing the first Hypercar World Championship to Toyota Gazoo Racing. At the start of the race, I was delighted to see the battle between our two Hypercars, but despite the difficulties of working at 35 ° C, the efforts of the team brought a good result.

Meanwhile, the Le Mans Prototype (LMP) 2 class winners were Robin Frijns, Ferdinand Habsburg and Charles Milesi of Team WRT.

Porsche GT Team’s Kevin Estre and Neel Jani triumphed in the Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance (LMGTE) Pro class, and TF Sport’s Felipe Fraga, Ben Keating and Dylan Pereira took first place in the LMGTE Am class.

The winners received their respective trophies during podium ceremonies.

Last weekend’s six-hour competition marked the halfway point for the WEC double in Bahrain.

Now Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez, who also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in August, are heading to this weekend’s season finale as title favorites.

Bahrain’s 8 Hours of Bapco will be held on Friday and Saturday. The Saturday race starts at 2 p.m. and ends under the BIC floodlights at 10 p.m. He will close the curtain on the WEC 2021 season and decide the outcome of the drivers’ world championship.

“I hope for an exciting end to the season and can’t wait to see who wins,” added Sato. “The team is working hard to prepare in the best possible way. “

Besides the WEC, there will also be plenty of on-track action with the Porsche Sprint Challenge Middle East. Many of the best drivers in the region will compete in the series in identical Porsche GT3 Cup Cars.

As for off-track entertainment, dozens of fans flocked to the circuit during the six-hour race to enjoy a colorful mix of stage numbers and musical performances.

Karters aged 15 and under were also treated to a circuit tour and grid experience before the start of the Bahrain FIA WEC Bapco 6 Hours, organized by the Bahrain Motor Federation.

The young people enjoyed a bus ride along the 5.412 km BIC Grand Prix track and a trip to the state-of-the-art media center and race control tower, where they were greeted by the director of the FIA, Eduardo Freitas.

The experience also included a pre-race grid walk, where they had the opportunity to meet and snap photos with their favorite WEC drivers while taking a close look at the WEC cars moments before the start of the race. action.

They were then able to watch the race from the Main and Oasis stands of BIC.

Plenty of family entertainment is also to be expected this weekend, including an activity zone for children of all ages with rides, an ice rink, a trampoline and a maze and much more.

Visit www.bahrainp.com for details.


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