OUTSTANDING ONE-TWO RESULT AT SEASON FINALE IN BAHRAIN
They say good things come to those who wait – and that’s certainly the story for Team Project 1 in the 2022 FIA WEC. In the final race of the season, the team from Lohne in Germany secured their first-ever one-two finish in the World Endurance Championship. Niki Leutwiler, Mikkel O. Pedersen and Matteo Cairoli took the win at the 8 Hours of Bahrain after a fantastic performance in the #46 Porsche 911 RSR. Teammates PJ Hyett, Gunnar Jeanette and Ben Barnicoat topped off the victory with second place in the LMGTE Am category.
Hans-Bernd Kamps was right in the midst of the celebrations as the drivers tasted the victory champagne. “I was just so proud to see the boys up there on the podium,” the team founder said. “This win is for the whole team, they have really earned it. Pascal Petter was up there on the podium too, representing all of our mechanics in the garage. We can only be fighting for victory if the cars are prepared perfectly.”
The eight-hour race was a real nail-biter. Starting from the midfield, both of the Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSRs made good ground in the early stages. There were wheel-to-wheel battles with fellow LMGTE Am competitors and plenty of strategic intrigue, too. As the race reached its conclusion, Team Project 1 stepped up the pace and overcame the Ferrari team Iron Dames to secure the one-two finish.
It was the first time on the top step of the WEC podium for both Mikkel O. Pedersen and Niki Leutwiler. “Here we are with the trophies for first and second position, who would have thought it?” said Leutwiler. “Of course, we had hoped for a good result but this one is really special – particularly after the tough start to the season and all the races where we came so close.”
US drivers PJ Hyett and Gunnar Jeanette joined Team Project 1 for the first time in the #56 Porsche 911 RSR together with Briton Ben Barnicoat. The combination proved to be particularly successful: the trio didn’t put a foot wrong all race and entered the closing stages of the race with a chance of a podium finish. A rapid final stint from Barnicoat saw the #56 grab second place and complete the perfect one-two for Project 1.
The season finale in the Bahrain desert also marked the end of team boss Axel Funke’s season. “After winning the title and Le Mans in the 2018/2019 Super Season, the triumph marks another milestone in the team's history. It was also the first one-two finish for Porsche in our class. I think we will stop to enjoy this success, but soon we will be getting on with our preparations for the new season,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to go into the winter break.”