It’s been another beautiful day at the Bahrain International Circuit, and 2017’s final practice and qualifying sessions have been wrapped up.
Porsche top in FP3
It was a new order of business for LMP1 in free practice this morning with the two Porsche 919s beating their Japanese rivals to take the quickest times of the session. Timo Bernhard put in a 1.42.438 early in the session to put the #2 Porsche fastest, with the #1 crew over six tenths behind them.
In LMP2, yesterday’s front-runners, Rebellion found themselves knocked off the top spots by the two Jackie Chan DC Racing cars. The Le Mans winning #38 set the pace for the session, thanks to Ho-Ping Tung. Set on lap two, his time of 1.48.879 saw them end the session almost half a second clear of the sister car.
Both GTE classes were headed up by Ferraris. In GTE Pro, James Calado put in a 1.57.972 and put the #67 Ford GT in an AF Corse sandwich. In GTE Am, the gap at the sharp end was far smaller. Just over three hundredths of a second separated Matt Griffin’s time from the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche behind him.
Pole for Porsche, Gulf Racing skip qualifying
Darkness had fallen by the time qualifying kicked off. The GTE cars took to the track first, minus one Porsche. The Gulf Racing machine suffered a fire during FP3 and wasn’t in a position to participate – the car should be fixed in time for the race. After twenty minutes, it was the duo of Rigon and Bird who claimed the GTE Pro pole with a 1.56.033. Their rivals weren’t far behind them, with the #97 Aston Martin and #67 Ford less than half a second off the pace.
The #98 Aston Martin Racing crew claimed the GTE Am pole, their sixth of the season, with Dalla Lana, Lauda or Lamy setting an average time of 2.00.111.
Next, the LMPs took to the track and Porsche continued their form from earlier in the day, picking up pole position. This time, it was the #1’s turn to take the top spot with Tandy and Jani setting an average lap time of 1.39.383. The #7 and #8 Toyotas sit 2nd and 4th on tomorrow’s grid respectively, leaving the second Porsche to start in 3rd.
Both LMP2 championship hopefuls qualified in the top three. However, they were both pipped to pole by the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut in the hands of Gustavo Menezes and X. The French team put in an average time of 1.47.227, enough to finish just under four tenths quicker than the #38 DC Racing Oreca 07.
BR Engineering launches LMP1 Chassis
The first Russian LMP1 car was launched to the FIA WEC media this evening. Developed by BR Engineering and Dallara, the new LMP1 chassis has gone from concept to reality in just 12 months. Two BR1 chassis are set to be run by SMP Racing with ART Grand Prix, while Dragonspeed announced earlier today that they would run the third chassis as a customer team. The teams will use different engines in the chassis, with ART/SMP using the AER P60 twin-turbo V6 engine and Dragonspeed opting for a naturally aspirated Gibson V8.