Thursday 17 November 2016

FIA WEC - 6 Hours of Bahrain: Thursday practice sessions

Porsche and Aston Martin dominated todays free practice sessions at the Bahrein International Circuit ahead of the final race of the 2016 FIA WEC season. 

Neel Jani set the pace in both 90 minute sessions in a hot and sunny Sakhir. During the afternoon session, the Swiss driver's fastest lap was a 1.42.107 in his #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid. Loic Duval was second fastest in the #8 Audi R18 ahead of Benoit Tréluyer in the #7 Audi.  Kamui Kobayashi was the quickest Toyota driver, taking fourth place in the afternoon. 

Nicolas Lapierre was the fastest LMP2 in the desert after the first session in 1.50.996. The 2016 champion outpaced Roberto Merhi in the #45 Manor Oreca with 0.189 seconds. Third fastest was Alex Brundle in the #26 G-Drive Racing, putting three Oreca's on top of the timesheets. LMP2 was a close battle again, with the first 6 cars within a second from eachother. 

The GTE Pro-class was Aston Martins playground, dominating the class and putting the competition on 0.685 seconds behind them. Darren Turner was the fastest man around the track in 1.58.735 in the #97 AMR, 0.388 seconds ahead of the #95 of Nicky Thiim. Davide Rigon was the fastest Ferrari driver in fourth place. Both Fords seemed to struggle in the Bahreini heat, only finishing fifth and seventh in class. 

Championship leader Emmanuel Collard was fastest in the GTE Am class with his #83 AF Corse Ferrari. The Frenchman only an inch faster than Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin, 0.002 seconds behind. Third fastest was Ricky Taylor in the #50 Larbre Corvette. 

The evening session "under the lights" saw the laptimes dropping down thanks to cooler temperatures. Neel Jani was fastest again, now in a 1.39.187. Brendon Hartley set the second fastest time of the evening, though already 0.455 seconds slower than the #2 Porsche 919. Lucas Di Grassi was the fastest Audi driver in third place, ahead of the #6 Toyota.

Rene Rast now was fastest in his #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca in LMP2, in a 1.50.056. He beat Gustavo Menezes in the #36 Signatech Alpine with 0.388 seconds. Third fastest now was the #44 Manor driven by Alex Lynn in 1.51.023. The RGR Sport Ligier had to settle for fourth place again, just as this morning. 

Aston Martin continued to dominate the GTE Pro class, now the #95 of Marco Sorensen 0.007 seconds faster than Darren Turner in the #97. Andy Priaulx put his #66 Ford GT in third place, but already 1.935 up from Sorensen. Both AF Corse Ferrari's rounded out the top 5 of the evening session.

Pedro Lamy was on top of the GTE Am board in 1.59.460. Ricky Taylor in the Larbre Corvette took second place over a second slower than Lamy. Rounding out the top 3 in the Am class was François Perrodo in the #83 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia.

Kristof Vermeulen.