Thrilled Webber is on top of the world after WEC success

Mark Webber in action in Bahrain
Mark Webber in action in Bahrain
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Mark Webber has won the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship with his Porsche team-mates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

The trio steered their number 17 Porsche 919-Hybrid to fifth place in Saturday’s 6-Hours of Bahrain which was enough to secure the 2015 crown by just five points ahead of Audi Sport drivers Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler.

Mark Webber (centre) with Brendon Hartley (left) and Timo Bernhard celebrate winning  the 2015 WEC

Mark Webber (centre) with Brendon Hartley (left) and Timo Bernhard celebrate winning the 2015 WEC

Aston Clinton-based Webber said afterwards: “This is the first World Championship for me and feels beautiful!

“That’s not an easy thing to achieve so to have won this title is very special, and to win it wearing a Porsche suit is even more special to me.

“The last time Porsche won this championship was 29 years ago with Derek Bell!”

After a slow start to the 2015 campaign at Silverstone and Spa-Francorchamps, Webber’s season picked-up pace at the Circuit de la Sarthe in June when he finished second in the Le Mans 24-Hour Race.

After that race, things began to improve for the trio and four wins followed at the Nurburgring, Circuit of the Americas, Fuji and Shanghai.

In pole position for the final race of the season, Webber and his crew started as title favourites.

A small mechanical problem dropped their car down the running order as the race progressed into darkness, but at the fall of the chequered flag the car was in fifth and a title-winning position.

Webber added: “This season has been very hard – but also really enjoyable. We endured a difficult start, but Le Mans saw us improve.

“The team was able to win in France, even though it was not my car, but after that race everything went well and we could score four wins on the bounce.

“Those victories put us in great shape entering the final race in Bahrain, and although things could go wrong, we knew we were in the driving seat to win the championship, and that’s what we did.”

Webber was quick to praise the work of his team-mates, adding: “Endurance racing is not all about one driver. This is a team sport and I could not have won this title without the outstanding support of two great partners in Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

“We form a great trio and we have all worked so hard this year for this success. There is one thing we did not achieve, and that was victory at Le Mans so that is very much our aim for 2016.”

Webber’s car may not have been on the top step of the podium in Bahrain but the race was another success for Porsche, with Marc Lieb, Neel Jani and Romain Dumas taking victory in the second 919-Hybrid.

In total, Porsche scored six race wins from eight events in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship, with their cars finishing first, third and eighth in the points table.

After success in junior racing categories. Webber’s F1 career started in 2002 when he raced for the Minardi team. The Australian secured his first podium success with the BMW Williams team in 2005, and enjoyed his first victory with Red Bull Racing in the 2009 German Grand Prix.

Webber left F1 at the end of 2013 to head to the FIA World Endurance Championship, and start his association with Porsche. He led the 2014 Le Mans race until his car developed problems.

Winning Le Mans remains what Webber calls “unfinished business” as he adds: “I would like to thank the whole Porsche team for their fantastic support this year, and of course my many fans around the world.

“This is a great feeling to be a world champion - and I look forward to racing next season and hopefully enjoying the same level of success.”