Porsche withdraws Bahrain WEC appeal over controversial clash

Porsche has withdrawn its appeal against the decision of the stewards to reject its protest of the GTE Pro-winning Ferrari in Saturday's Bahrain 8 Hours FIA World Endurance Championship round.

The Porsche GT Team had previously stated its intent to take its case to the International Court of Appeal, but on Wednesday evening revealed via social media that it had reversed this decision.

In a Twitter thread, Porsche explained it had intended “to carry out a full examination of the circumstances and the facts in general and also the legal standpoint” but that “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”.

 

The decision means that James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi are crowned WEC GTE Pro champions and Ferrari takes the manufacturers' title.

Porsche protested the result after Pier Guidi's AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTE made contact with the #92 Porsche 911 RSR with Michael Christensen at the wheel as they battled for the lead with 11 minutes of the race remaining.

Christensen spun in the car he shared with championship contenders Kevin Estre and Neel Jani, and Pier Guidi was ordered by race control to give the position back to the Porsche driver.

#92 Porsche GT TEAM Porsche 911 RSR - 19: Kevin Estre

#92 Porsche GT TEAM Porsche 911 RSR - 19: Kevin Estre

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The Ferrari clearly slowed, but the Porsche pitted for what was a scheduled splash-and-dash fuel stop before Pier Guidi could respect the command from race control.

The Ferrari pitted for a splash the following lap and the order of the Ferrari to cede position was withdrawn, although never publicly communicated via the timing screens.

The protest, made by the Manthey-run Porsche GT Team factory squad, alleged that the decision was made solely by the race director and not investigated by the stewards according to the FIA's international sporting code.

The stewards' bulletin rejecting the protest said: "In fact all the decisions related to the incident between #51 and #92 in T14 were reported to the stewards by the race director, investigated and taken by the stewards in accordance with the race director.

"It was reported verbally and with video evidence."

The bulletin continued that because the provisions of the international sporting code had been respected the protest was rejected.

Porsche was reminded of its right of appeal in the bulletin and subsequently did so. However, on Wednesday it pulled the appeal stating “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”.

Christensen said after the race that he was "just punched off the track" and expressed surprise that the penalty was not a drive-through or a time penalty.

Pier Guidi suggested that the accident was precipitated by Christensen letting Filipe Albuquerque in the United Autosports LMP2 Oreca through at Turn 15.

"I didn't like [what happened] but I couldn't do anything different – I couldn't avoid him," he said.

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