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Bahrain World Endurance Championship: Audi back on top with one-two

#1 Audi, Bahrain 2012Audi returned to the FIA World Endurance Championship winner's circle in Bahrain as Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler claimed victory to increase their lead at the head of the title race.

The two-time Le Mans-winning trio led home an Audi one-two after six hours of racing on the Bahrain International Circuit.

They triumphed by nearly two laps over the sister R18 e-tron quattro shared by Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen, which lost time with overheating rear brakes and then two changes of nose section when one of the headlights failed.

Toyota's aspirations of a second consecutive WEC win were derailed by an electrical glitch affecting the illuminated number panels.

The Toyota had led the race in the hands of Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre from seven laps into the opening stint. The car was holding a lead of approximately 20 seconds early in the third hour when the team was forced to effect repairs.

Lapierre and then Wurz were able to bring the Toyota back into third place ahead of the LMP1 privateers before the former tangled with the Strakka Racing HPD driven by Jonny Kane, damaged his suspension and had to abandon the car out on track.

The Strakka HPD, in which Kane was joined by Danny Watts and Nick Leventis, ended up third after the Toyota's retirement. It triumphed in the unofficial LMP1 privateer class after the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota B12/60 shared by Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost lost two laps when it had to change one of its race numbers.

A closely-fought LMP2 battle went to the AF Corse-run Pecom team. Its ORECA-Nissan 03 shared by Pierre Kaffer, Nicolas Minassian and Luis Perez Companc was in contention for the whole race but looked set to lose out to the Starworks HPD until Stephane Sarrazin was unable to restart the car at its final pitstop.

AF Corse sealed the GTE manufacturers' and GTE Pro teams' titles with its fourth consecutive victory. Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander, who replaced Gianmaria Bruni for this event, looked set to battle with the solo factory Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke until an exhaust problem lost the British car time.

The Aston remained within striking distance until the one safety car period of the race, when misfortune resulted in it dropping more than a minute behind.

Results - 191 laps:

Pos  Cl     Drivers                            Team/Car                    Time/Gap
 1.  P1     Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer          Audi                    6h00m56.244s
 2.  P1     Kristensen/McNish                  Audi                         + 1 lap
 3.  P1     Leventis/Watts/Kane                Strakka HPD                 + 6 laps
 4.  P1     Prost/Jani                         Rebellion Lola-Toyota       + 7 laps
 5.  P1     Belicchi/Primat                    Rebellion Lola-Toyota      + 10 laps
 6.  P2     Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer     Pecom ORECA-Nissan         + 12 laps
 7.  P2     Mailleux/Lombard/Tresson           Signatech ORECA-Nissan     + 14 laps
 8.  P2     Potolicchio/Kimber-Smith/Sarrazin  Starworks HPD              + 14 laps
 9.  P2     Liuzzi/Rossiter/Weeda              Lotus Lola-Lotus           + 14 laps
10.  P2     Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov          Signatech ORECA-Nissan     + 15 laps
11.  P2     Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla                 OAK Morgan-Nissan          + 19 laps
12.  P2     Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian              Greaves Zytek-Nissan       + 21 laps
13.  GTE P  Fisichella/Vilander                AF Ferrari                 + 21 laps
14.  GTE P  Mucke/Turner                       Aston Martin               + 22 laps
15.  GTE P  Lieb/Lietz                         Felbermayr Porsche         + 22 laps
16.  GTE P  Bertolini/Beretta                  AF Ferrari                 + 22 laps
17.  GTE A  Ried/Roda/Ruberti                  Felbermayr Porsche         + 26 laps
18.  GTE A  Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers             AF-Waltrip Ferrari         + 27 laps
19.  GTE A  Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo               Krohn Ferrari              + 29 laps
20.  P2     Martin/Graves                      ADR-Delta ORECA-Nissan     + 30 laps
21.  GTE A  Bornhauser/Canal/Rees              Larbre Corvette            + 34 laps
22.  GTE A  Belloc/Bourret/Gibon               Larbre Corvette            + 38 laps
23.  GTE A  Camathias/Simonsen/Daniels         JWA Porsche                + 41 laps

Retirements:

     P1     Wurz/Lapierre                      Toyota                       86 laps
     P2     Holzer/Moro                        Lotus Lola-Lotus             68 laps
     P2     Giroix/Ihara/Deletraz              Gulf Lola-Nissan             65 laps
     P1     Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck          JRM HPD                      57 laps
     P2     Baguette/Kraihamer/Brundle         OAK Morgan-Nissan             4 laps
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