World champions elect set the pace ahead of qualifying for the World Endurance Championship season finale.
At the close of the final free practice session for the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship season, it was the World Champions Elect from the No.2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro who set the pace at the front of the field. Loïc Duval recorded the fastest time of the weekend so far with a lap of 1:42.479, putting the Audi 1.4 seconds ahead of the No.8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid. The No.1 Audi was just a scant 0.033 seconds behind the Toyota with a time of 1:43.904 followed by the second Toyota and the No.12 Rebellion Racing Lola.
The fight for the top of the timesheets in the LMP2 class was, once again, very close at the head of the field, with the No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 03 Nissan leading the No.49 Pecom Racing entry by just a tenth of a second – Australia’s John Martin setting the fast lap of 1:50.341. Behind him was the No.25 Delta-ADR ORECA with a time of 1:51.697, followed by the two points-leading OAK Racing entries.
In an indication of things to come in qualifying, five of the six LMGTE Pro cars broke under the two-minute lap barrier, the fastest time of 1:59.052 being set by Bruno Senna in the No.99 Aston Martin Vantage V8. He was followed in close order by the No.92 Porsche AG Team Manthey 911 RSR and the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.
In LMGTE Am, Paolo Ruberti was the man to beat – his No.88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR lapping in 2:00.406. This put him ahead of the No.95 Aston Martin Vantage and the No.61 AF Corse Ferrari.
The session this morning started on time, despite the heavy fog which greeted the FIA WEC at the Bahrain International Circuit this morning. The sun has now burnt off the remaining mist, and a great afternoon of qualifying is expected – beginning at 15:45 for the LMGTE Pro and Am classes, followed by the LMP1 and LMP2 prototypes at 16:20. All timings are local (+2 hours CET, +3 hours GMT).