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Audi leads field for farewell lap ahead of WEC swansong in Bahrain (VIDEO)

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Audi took part in a special ‘farewell lap’ in the minutes leading up to its final race in the FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain on Saturday afternoon.

Audi announced last month that it would be withdrawing from the WEC and Le Mans following the 2016 season, ending an 18-year stint in the premier class of sportscar racing.

The German marque makes its final start today in the 6 Hours of Bahrain, with the no. 8 Audi R18 starting from pole position.

Despite its sister no. 7 car starting only third on the grid, both Audis were given the chance to lead the field for the first of the two formation laps in Bahrain.

With the WEC’s safety car being an Audi R8, fans were offered a chance to see an Audi 1-2-3 as race director Eduardo Freitas offered a thank you message.

With just over 30 minutes of the race complete, Audi’s pole-sitting no. 8 car leads the way courtesy of Loic Duval, with the no. 7 running second following a fine pass by Marcel Fassler early on.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”