Friday 17 November 2017

FIA WEC - 6 Hours of Bahrain: Porsche 919 Hybrid on pole in its final race

Neel Jani and Nick Tandy took pole position for the final race of the 2017 FIA WEC season, and the final race for the Porsche 919 Hybrid tomorrow. 
Jani and Tandy set a combined time of 1.39.383 in three stages. Tandy's first qualifying run was ruined by a driver error, but when Jani put everyone else on half a second, Tandy got back out again for a second run and nailed it too with the third fastest time of the session. The number 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid on pole for its final race in the FIA WEC, it couldn't be more symbolic.

Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez secured the second place on the grid in their #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, with a combined time of 1.39.646, 0.263 seconds slower than the leading Porsche. The #2 Porsche of Timo Bernhard and future F1 star Brendon Hartley was third fastest ahead of the second Toyota of Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima.

In LMP2 it's Signatech Matmut Alpine that clinched their third pole position of the season. Andre Negrao and Gustavo Menezes had an average time of 1.47.227, 0.385 seconds faster than the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing of Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung. Their main rivals for the title in the #31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca will be right behind them on the grid in third place. Rounding out the top 5 in class are the #26 G-Drive Racing and the #25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing. Matthieu Vaxiviere set the fastest time in LMP2 in 1.47.000, but only got to seventh position on the grid.

2017 manufacturer champions Ferrari took pole position in the GTE Pro class with the #71 488 GTE of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird. Both drivers set a laptime within 0.025 seconds from eachother, resulting in a combined time of 1.56.033. Darren Turner and Jonny Adam gave the Aston Martin Vantage a front row start in its final race, just under four thenths of a second behind the Ferrari. Third fastest was the #67 Ford GT of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, just ahead of their title rivals in the #51 Ferrari.

Pole position in GTE-Am was once again for Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy, impressively scoring their seventh out of nine pole position of the season. Both drivers set an average time of 2.00.111 which gave them an advantage of 0.174 seconds to the #61 Clearwater Ferrari of Matt Griffin and Weng Sun Mok. Proton Competition lost a point to Aston Martin in the title challenge and will start on third place tomorrow.

Free Practice 3

Porsche went fastest in this morning's practice session wit both 919 Hybrids on the top of the timesheets.  Fastest overall was Timo Bernhard in the #2 Porsche with a lap of 1.42.438, beating Neel Jani in the #1 sister car. Anthony Davidson was the fastest Toyota driver, but over a second behind Bernhard (1.43.734). 

Vaillante Rebellion's morning session didn't go as well as yesterday, the fastest of the two cars now only able to set the fourth time. Jackie Chan DC Racing stepped up, both cars outpacing the rest of the field. Ho Pin Tung set the pace in the Mighty38 with 1.48.879, which was just under half a second faster than Tristan Gommendy in the #37. Loïc Duval was the fastest driver in the #26 G-Drive Oreca again, ending up in fourth place. 

AF Corse took command of the GTE Pro class with James Calado in the #51 Ferrari F488 going round in 1.57.972. Andy Priaulx seemed to have found the right pace in the Ford #67, setting the second fastest time just over two tenths of a second over Calado. This fastest was Davide Rigon in the second Ferrari. 

In GTE Am it was Matt Griffin who went fastest again in the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari with a laptime just over two minutes (2.00.661).  Matteo Cairoli put the #77 Proton Competition Porsche on second place, with the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari behind him in third. The session was shortly red flagged when the #86 Gulf UK Racing Porsche had a small fire. 
The race into dusk and under the floodlights will be green flagged tomorrow afternoon at 16.00h local time. 
Results Free Practice 3
Qualifying results LMP
Qualifying results GTE

Kristof Vermeulen.