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Hartley/Hirakawa/Buemi win 8h of Bahrain and 2023 WEC title

Text & Images: Rick Kiewiet

The driver-trio in the #8 Toyota, Seb Buemi, Brandon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa started the race from pole and won the race, and thereby championship, quite comfortably. Especially since their most important competitor, the #7 sister car of Kobayashi, Conway and Lopez, got pushed in a spin right after the start by the #3 Cadillac and rejoined in last place. Despite that setback, the #7 still managed to finish second and make it a Toyota 1-2 in the final race of the season.

Behind the Toyota's, the #50 Ferrari of Fuoco, Molina and Nielsen finished thrid, followed by the #38 Jota-Porsche of Da Costa, Stevens en Ye. The mighty 38 was long in contention for a podium spot, but a drive-through penalty prevented the first JOTA-podium. Later in the race, the #50 also had to fend off the sister car, up until there was even contact between the two Ferrari's.

In LMP2, WRT scored a 1-2 victory as well. The championship leading #41 of Robert Kubica, Louis Delétraz and Rui Andrade recovered from a disappointing starting position (p10 in class) and finished just ahead of the #31 of Frijns, Habsburg and Galeal. Next year the team will graduate to the Hypercar category, representing BMW in their LMDh. Final spot on the podium went to the #28 Jota of Heinemeier Hansson, Rasmussen and Pietro Fittipaldi, just ahead of both Prema-cars.

The Iron Dames (Michelle Gatting, Sara Bovy and Rahel Frey) became the first ever all-female driver line up to win a race in WEC. At the start they lost a place to the #60 Iron Lynx Porsche of Cressoni, Picariello and Schiavoni, but that car was withdrawn when it became evident that Schiavoni was ill and couldn't drive the minimum driver-time. The #777 Aston inherited p2 in what is their best result of the season, finishing just ahead of the #98 NorthWest (although liveried with the Heart of Racing colors) Aston Martin.


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