Bahrain WEC: Porsche leads first practice for title decider

The championship-leading #2 Porsche of Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas led the way in first practice for the FIA WEC season finale at Bahrain.

With Jani at the wheel in the early stages, the #2 919 Hybrid produced a laptime of 1m42.107s, 0.343s clear of its nearest rival, the #8 Audi of Loic Duval.

At the start of its final weekend in the series before exiting endurance racing, Audi put its pair of R18 e-tron quattros second and third fastest, Benoit Treluyer lapping 0.408s off the pace of Jani in the #7 car.

The #6 Toyota, which arrives in Bahrain with an outside shot at the drivers' title, was fourth quickest in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi, 0.758s slower than the car it trails by 17 points.

Completing the top six were the #1 Porsche of Timo Bernhard and the #5 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi.

Rebellion, which is taking part in its last weekend in LMP1 before stepping down to race in LMP2 next year, led sole LMP1-L class rival ByKolles by some two seconds.

The LMP2 class was led by the #36 Signatech Alpine, which wrapped up the title last time out at Shanghai, with Nicolas Lapierre establishing a benchmark of 1m50.966s.

Second-quickest was the #45 Manor Oreca of WEC returnee Roberto Merhi, a mere 0.190s slower, followed by the #26 G-Drive car (which has Rene Rast back at the wheel this weekend) driven by Alex Brundle, a further 0.058s behind.

Aston Martin on top in GTE

In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin led the way with a one-two ahead of this weekend's five-way decider.

Darren Turner put the #97 Vantage, which is out of the title race, on top with a 1m58.735 in the car he will share this weekend with Jonathan Adam, with Richie Stanaway absent.

The points-leading #95 car driven by Nicki Thiim was 0.388s back from the sister car, and three tenths up on the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Richard Lietz.

Ford, which has been hit with a 25kg Balance of Performance weight penalty after winning the last two rounds at Fuji and Shanghai, was only fifth and seventh fastest, with the two AF Corse-run Ferrari 458s taking fourth and sixth.

In GTE-Am, it was the #83 AF Corse Ferrari - which needs to score only one point this weekend to be confirmed as class champion - that led the way courtesy of a 2m01.550s lap by Emmanuel Collard.

The only car that can stop it, the #98 Aston Martin, caused a full-course yellow period after 34 minutes as Paul Dalla Lana's car had to be recovered from the gravel at Turn 1.

First practice results:

1 2  Romain Dumas 
 Neel Jani 
 Marc Lieb 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 1'42.107  
2 8  Lucas di Grassi 
 Loic Duval 
 Oliver Jarvis 
Audi R18 LMP1 1'42.450 0.343
3 7  Andre Lotterer 
 Marcel Fassler 
 Benoit Tréluyer 
Audi R18 LMP1 1'42.515 0.408
4 6  Stéphane Sarrazin 
 Kamui Kobayashi 
 Mike Conway 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'42.865 0.758
5 1  Mark Webber 
 Timo Bernhard 
 Brendon Hartley 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 1'42.955 0.848
6 5  Anthony Davidson 
 Kazuki Nakajima 
 Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'43.504 1.397
7 13  Alexandre Imperatori 
 Dominik Kraihamer 
 Matheo Tuscher 
Rebellion R-One LMP1 1'46.366 4.259
8 4  Simon Trummer 
 Oliver Webb 
 Pierre Kaffer 
CLM P1/01 LMP1 1'48.308 6.201
9 36  Nicolas Lapierre 
 Gustavo Menezes 
 Stéphane Richelmi 
Alpine A460 LMP2 1'50.966 8.859
10 45  Roberto Merhi 
 Julien Canal 
 Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 05 LMP2 1'51.155 9.048
11 26   Rene Rast
 Roman Rusinov 
 Alex Brundle 
Oreca 05 LMP2 1'51.213 9.106
12 43  Bruno Senna 
 Ricardo Gonzalez 
 Filipe Albuquerque 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 1'51.581 9.474
13 30

 Tom Dillmann 
 Sean Gelael 

  Giedo van der Garde

Ligier JS P2 LMP2 1'51.631 9.524
14 37  Vitaly Petrov 
 Viktor Shaytar 
 Kirill Ladygin 
BR01 LMP2 1'51.885 9.778
15 35  Paul-Loup Chatin 
 Ho-Pin Tung 
 David Cheng 
Alpine A460 LMP2 1'52.080 9.973
16 44  Richard Bradley 
 Matthew Rao 
 Alex Lynn 
Oreca 05 LMP2 1'52.506 10.399
17 27  Maurizio Mediani 
 Nicolas Minassian 
 Mikhail Aleshin 
BR01 LMP2 1'52.648 10.541
18 31  Pipo Derani 
 Ryan Dalziel 
 Chris Cumming 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 1'52.650 10.543
19 97  Darren Turner 
 Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE PRO 1'58.735 16.628
20 95  Marco Sorensen 
 Nicki Thiim 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE PRO 1'59.123 17.016
21 77  Richard Lietz 
 Michael Christensen 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE PRO 1'59.420 17.313
22 71  Sam Bird 
 Davide Rigon 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'59.499 17.392
23 67  Harry Tincknell 
 Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'59.772 17.665
24 51  Gianmaria Bruni 
 James Calado 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'59.860 17.753
25 66  Stefan Mücke 
 Olivier Pla 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 2'00.371 18.264
26 83  François Perrodo 
 Emmanuel Collard 
 Rui Aguas 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE AM 2'01.550 19.443
27 98  Pedro Lamy 
 Paul Dalla Lana 
 Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE AM 2'01.552 19.445
28 50  Pierre Ragues 
 Ricky Taylor 
 Romain Brandela 
Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE AM 2'01.811 19.704
29 86  Michael Wainwright 
 Adam Carroll 
 Ben Barker 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.195 20.088
30 88  David Heinemeier Hansson 
 Patrick Long 
 Khaled Al Qubaisi 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.237 20.130
31 78  Christian Ried 
 Wolf Henzler 
 Joel Camathias 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.496 20.389
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About this article
Series WEC
Event Bahrain
Track Bahrain International Circuit
Drivers Neel Jani
Teams Porsche Team
Article type Practice report