Ferrari has been officially crowned FIA World Endurance GTE Manufacturer’s Champion and James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi have been named World Endurance GTE Driver’s Champions. This comes after a decision by Porsche to back down from its appeal to the FIA WEC’s rejection of its protest of the result of last weekend’s season finale in Bahrain.
Porsche announced its decision on social media earlier this evening.
“Porsche Motorsport had lodged a protest against the decisions taken by the 8 Hours of Bahrain race director after the FIA WEC season finale at Bahrain International Circuit due to the incident between the Porsche 911 RS-19 No. 92 and the Ferrari No. 51. This protest was rejected,” the statement reads.
“Porsche had announced it would appeal against the rejection of the protest. The intention was to enable it to carry out a full examination of the circumstances and the facts in general and also the legal standpoint.
“An in-depth analysis of the situation and the advice of legal counsel have led to a decision not to pursue legal action any further. In the interests of the sport, Porsche would in future like to see a stringent and uniform approach taken to penalties for violations on the track – especially during the race.”
The incident in question came in the final hour of the 8 Hours of Bahrain, and meant the 2021 season ended in controversial fashion. It involved the two title-contending cars in GTE Pro, with Michael Christensen in the No. 92 Porsche tasked with defending the GTE Pro class lead from Pier Guidi in the No. 51 Ferrari. Stakes were high, as the two full-season driver crews were equal on points heading into the final race, and the manufacturer’s title also up for grabs.
After reeling in Christensen, Pier Guidi was on the verge of making a move for the lead in the final moments. But the pair came together while being lapped by United Autosports’ ORECA LMP2 at the final turn with 12 minutes remaining; Pier Guidi tapping Christensen into a spin.
This handed the No. 51 the lead and prompted an investigation by race control. Moments later Pier Guidi was ordered to give the place back, but as he slowed down to let Christensen through, the Dane pitted the Porsche for a final splash. It meant Pier Guidi was unable to give the place back, and went on to make a quick stop of his own on the next lap.
After the stops Pier Guidi rejoined in front of Christensen again and opted not to give the place back in the final minutes, finishing 3.2 seconds ahead of the No. 92, taking the drivers’ title and winning Ferrari the manufacturers’ title too.
“I understand this is not the way we would like to see the end of the race,” said Pier Guidi afterwards. “But I couldn’t do anything — I was blocked, he braked so hard, I didn’t expect anything. I was waiting to give the place back but he pitted. I am sorry for them, but I really couldn’t do anything.”
Porsche lodged a protest shortly after the podium ceremony, which was rejected by the FIA WEC. The German marque then opted to appeal this, taking the decision to the International Court of Appeal, meaning the result of the FIA WEC 2021 season finale would likely remain provisional for weeks and potentially months to come.
However this latest decision by Porsche ends the dispute, meaning all the FIA WEC champions in 2021 have now officially been crowned.