Dunlop supplied Oak Racing wins WEC
6 Hours of Bahrain victor G-Drive Racing also running on manufacturer’s rubber
Dunlop has helped Oak Racing to claim the 2013 LMP2 World Endurance Championship (WEC), and G-Drive Racing to a race victory at the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final round of the 2013 series. Dunlop Engineer, Matt Rees congratulated Oak Racing “for the championship win and having the #24 car in second place in the series. They have had a good season and deserve the title.”
France’s #35 Oak Racing Morgan Nissan came into the race as title favourite, needing to finish fifth to ensure championship victory. The trio of Bertrand Baguette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman drove a solid race to finish fourth and take the team and driver championships while G-Drive Racing took the squad’s fourth race win of the year finishing the race first in class and third overall. “G-Drive Racing did very well in the latter stages of the season winning four races out of the last five,” Rees said.
The first corner of the WEC finale reshuffled the LMP2 class order at the very beginning of the six-hour race in Bahrain. G-Drive Racing led the class for the first stint but a different fuel strategy lost them the lead to Pecom. After two hours and 40 minutes the Russian squad regained the lead in the Oreca Nissan, taking advantage of a Pecom mistake.
Both Oak Racing title contending Morgan Nissans had lost out in the first lap melee and it was only at the three hour race mid-point – as the race was entering its night phase – that the #24 car was in contention for a podium position, with the title leader #35 in fifth, driving the race they needed to secure the championship.
While pushing to catch the leaders, an incident effectively ended the race for Pecom leaving Dunlop cars #26 G-Drive Racing in the lead and #24 Oak Racing as prime challenger. Following was Greaves Motorsport who had a strong race and, despite losing time with a blocked air-intake, its drivers including rookie Nissan GT Academy driver Wolfgang Reip, showed great pace. The trio held the top three slots to the flag with the only variations in order being during pit-stops.
Pace has improved significantly in the LMP2 class since 2012’s visit to Bahrain with the qualifying times being cut, as seen by Oak Racing’s #24 car which set the 2012 fastest race lap of 1:53.603 having qualified with a time of 1:52.368. This year the same car set a 1:51.718 four-lap average to qualify third with a fastest qualifying lap of 1:50.666, nearly two seconds faster than last year, and a best race lap of 1:52.751.
“The performances of all our teams are to be commended. They have all worked very hard and our joint efforts bode well for 2014,” Rees concluded.