Brendon Hartley’s push for a third World Endurance Driver’s Championship has taken a step back, with the Kiwi finishing second in the Six Hours of Bahrain.
Hartley and the other No.8 Toyota Hypercar co-drivers, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, battled aggressive tyre wear most of the race.
The crew did hold the lead after starting on pole and emerged in front of the sister No.7 Hypercar after the first pitstop.
However, Toyota soon ordered a change in position as the No.7 was the faster car.
A botched pitstop later in the race further diminished the No. 8’s victory chances.
At the chequered flag, the margin between the winning the No.7 and the second Toyota was 50 seconds.
They deserved to win,” Hartley said. “We had some tyre degradation issues, and I had one or two things happening with the car, but we will learn from this.”
Toyota also wraps up the Hypercar Team’s World Championship with one race to spare.
“It’s an awesome achievement…I know how much hard work has gone into this and everyone in the team deserves this title.”
Hartley is 15 points behind the No.7 crew in the driver’s championship.
“We are still in the fight for the driver’s World Championship but they have made it hard for us.”
The grandfathered Alpine LMP1 was third overall, a lap down on the Toyota pair.
Jaxon Evans claimed his first WEC podium of the season, finishing second in the GTE-Am class.
Evans, Matt Campbell and Christian Reid executed a solid race to pressure the eventual winning Aston Martin in the final few laps.
The No.77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche finished five seconds off the lead at the end of the six hours.
The WEC paddock has one more race in Bahrain next week to conclude the season.