Back-to-back world champions Porsche continued their fine start to the Bahrain Motorsport Festival with both cars claiming the top two positions on the World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) second practice timesheet Thursday night at Bahrain International Circuit.
Also on the same evening, Lorenzo Travisanutto and David Vidales Ajenjo set the pace in their respective Qualifying Practices in the CIK-FIA World Championship and CIK-FIA World Junior Championship.
Both the WEC and karting worlds are part of the first-ever Bahrain Motorsport Festival.
Porsche’s no. 2 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb shone brightest under floodlights as they registered an ultra-quick time of one minute 39.817 seconds to set the pace.
It was the only time from the 31-car WEC field that was below the one-minute, 40-second mark, and it was much quicker than the 1:42.107 lap time they clocked in practice one held earlier in the day.
The no. 1 car of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley followed 0.455s behind, while Audi Sport Team Joest’s no.8 R18 driven by Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis were classified third 0.583 off the pace.
All three were competitors in the LMP1 category.
In the LMP2 class, G-Drive Racing of Roman Rusinov, Rene Rast and Alex Brundle were the top team in their Oreca 05-Nissan.
Aston Martin Racing topped both the LMGTE Pro and Am classes in their respective Aston Martin Vantage V8 challengers. Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen led the professionals, while Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda topped the amateurs class.
The WEC will next be on track on Friday for a 60-minute free practice starting at 11.30am. Qualifying will then be held from 5pm.
Meanwhile, Bahrain International Karting Circuit enjoyed a packed programme of racing all through Thursday.
Lorenzo Travisanutto of Italy was the man to beat in the Qualifying Practice of the CIK-FIA World Championship.
The Ward Racing driver had a best lap time of 50.001 seconds around BIKC’s 1.414-kilometre Commission Internationale de Karting (CIK) track.
Swede Noah Milell of Kosmic Racing Dept was second with a 0.081-second gap, while Russian Alexander Smolyar was classified third 0.117s behind.
Rounding out the top six were Finn Juho Valtanen (+0.169s) of Kohtala Sports, Pole Karol Basz (0.186s) of Kosmic and Italian Leonardo Lorandi (+0.208s) of Baby Race Srl.
A total of 47 drivers battled it out in the world championship’s Qualifying Practice. Bahrain’s Hussain Hassan of Formula K Racing Team was ranked 46th with a best lap of 52.156s.
David Vidales Ajenjo of Spain topped the Qualifying Practice combined timesheet in the CIK-FIA World Junior Championship.
The Tony Kart Racing Team ace clocked a fastest lap of 51.848s.
Moroccan Sami Taoufik was a very close second. The Ricky Flynn Motorsport driver was a mere 0.004 seconds off Ajenjo’s pace.
Theo Pourchaire of France followed in third 0.046s behind. Another three drivers were less than one-tenths of a second slower than Ajenjo.
They included Russian Ilya Morozov (+0.048s) of Ward Racing, Frenchman Victor Martins (+0.078s) of VDK Racing, and German O’neill Muth (+0.096s) of CRG SpA.
A total of 91 drivers competed in Qualifying Practice for the juniors. Bahrain hopeful Talal Beshara of Birel ART Srl had a best lap of 52.855s around his home track.
Action continues Friday in both the world championship and world junior championship with the Qualifying Heats.