Audi Sport Team Joest captured pole position Friday evening for the 2016 Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain.
The trio of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis put their Audi no. 8 R18 Hybrid in the leading grid spot. With di Grassi behind the wheel at the chequered flag, the team clocked a best average lap time of one minute 39.207 seconds. Di Grassi’s best lap of 1:38.828 helped Audi claim pole, and it was also a qualifying lap record.
In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) qualifying, each team must designate two drivers to take part in the session. The two drivers from each crew must each set at least one timed lap. The average of the two best lap times (the best from each driver) will serve as the reference time for establishing the grid.
Di Grassi shared the qualifying duties on Friday with Jarvis.
Having announced their exit from the WEC after the completion of the current season, the stage is set for what could be a dramatic and emotional scene at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) for two-time champions Audi.
Saturday’s Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain marks the end of the current WEC season and also Audi Motorsport’s last appearance in international endurance racing and Le Mans, following 18 successful years in the sport.
Qualifying behind them was the no. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber. They had a best average lap 0.264 seconds off the session’s best lap. Bernhard and Hartley were in their car.
In third place was the other Porsche Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb. The trio are favourites to win this year’s world drivers’ title. Jani and Lieb were in the no. 2 car for qualifying and they produced a fastest lap time 0.462s slower.
Their chief title rivals in Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Stephan Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi qualified fifth. Ahead of them in fourth were the other Audi trio of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer in fourth place. Toyota’s other car, featuring Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima were sixth, rounding out the Hybrid cars in the LMP1 category.
Meanwhile, taking pole position for the LMP2 class the G-Drive Racing trio of Roman Rusinov, Rene Rast and Alex Brundle in an Oreca 05-Nissan. They had a best average lap of 1:49.672.
In the LMGTE class, Aston Martin Racing topped both the LMGTE Pro and Am classes in their respective Aston Martin Vantage V8 challengers. Jonathan Adam and Darren Turner led the professionals with a best average lap of 1:56.593, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda topped the amateurs’ class with their best time of 1:59.879.
The Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain is scheduled to flag off at 4pm. It is one of the few races in the world that begins in the daylight and ends in the night under floodlights.