It seems like something out of a feature film that a champion would be decided in the last 15 minutes after 58 hours of competition. However, a screenwriter would have their script tossed in the trash if it included this as an ending. The championship for the GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship was decided by a collision. The collision looked like a short track racer dumping their rival for a win, except with GT cars.
The drivers behind the wheel were Alessandro Pier Guidi of AF Corse and Michael Christensen of Porsche. The two drivers were nearing the conclusion of a race-long wheel-to-wheel battle for the class victory and the championship for their respective teams. With roughly 12 minutes to go, the pair were racing down to the final hard right-hand corner of the Bahrain International Circuit.
Then, a United Autosport ORECA LMP2 caught the two lower-class cars. Christensen appeared to have yielded his Porsche for the LMP2 at the very last moment as the three cars approached the braking zone. As all the drivers braked for the corner Pier Guidi’s Ferrari hit the Porsche’s rear bumper, sending the car spinning into the runoff area.
Alessandro Pier Guidi was ordered by the race stewards to return the position at the front of the field. But, Christensen pitted as Pier Guidi slowed to give the lead back. The Ferrari would pit on the next lap, rejoin the track in front of the Porsche and never actually return the position. Pier Guidi would win the 8 Hours of Bahrain and the world championship for AF Corse, his teammate James Calado and himself.
Porsche would officially protest the race result, which was rejected. Christensen’s teammate Neel Jani would be the most vocal about his anger towards AF Corsa’s victory. Jani would interrupt a TV interview with the AF Corsa drivers to confront Pier Guidi. Jani quickly walked away with a closing statement of “Here is my ass, man.” to Pier Guidi. I can’t wait to see this feud continue next season.