Toyota Gazoo Racing set the pace today in the weekend’s opening free practice session in the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain – the ninth and final round of the World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) 2017 season
Winners of the championship’ last two races, Toyota maintained their recent good form at BIC by topping the timesheet in free practice one.
Kamui Kobayashi steered Toyota’s no. 7 car to a best lap of one minute 42.313 seconds around BIC’s 5.412-kilometre Grand Prix track.
He was followed by teammate Kazuki Nakajima in Toyota’s no. 8 Hybrid. The pair of Japanese talents were a narrow 0.199 seconds between each other as they led the field of 26 challengers in the four competition categories.
Trailing Toyota on the overall classification and in the LMP1 class were Andre Lotterer and Earl Bamber from world champions Porsche, who were third and fourth, respectively.
Lotterer was behind the wheel of the no. 1 Porsche Hybrid, and he finished the early session 0.334s from first place. Bamber, part of a Porsche trio who have already clinched the drivers’ world title, followed 0.500s off the pace.
Each of the top four were competing in the LMP1 class.
Leading the LMP2 category was Vaillante Rebellion’s David Heinemeier Hansson, who clocked a best lap of 1:48.707 in his Oreca 07-Gibson challenger.
In the Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance (LMGTE) Pro, it was James Calado driving a Ferrari 488 GTE for AF Corse who set the pace with his 1:58.579 lap.
The LMGTE Am cars were led by Christian Ried of Dempsey-Proton Racing, who ended the session in his Porsche 911 RSR (991) with a fastest lap of 2:00.428.