Nick Tandy came on late in qualifying to help World champions Porsche steal pole position this evening for the FIA WEC Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain.
With only minutes remaining in qualifying, Tandy steered his no. 1 Toyota Hybrid to the top of the timesheet as he and teammate Neel Jani had a best average lap time of one minute 39.383 seconds.
WEC qualifying headlined a hugely exciting second day of the WEC race weekend at Bahrain International Circuit.
The Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain is the ninth and final round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship.
While three of the main titles have already been won (Porsche have won both the FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship and the FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship, while Ferrari have secured the GT FIA World Endurance Manufacturers Championship), those that will be decided on Saturday as the chequered flag comes down on the weekend’s main event are the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am Teams, the FIA Endurance Trophy for GT Am Drivers, the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro Teams, the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship, the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams and the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers.
In WEC quailing, each team must designate two drivers to take part in the session. The two drivers must each set at least one timed lap during qualifying. The average of the two best lap times (the best from each driver) will serve as the reference time for establishing the grid.
While Tandy and Jani gained pole position for Porsche, the other front row position was taken by LMP1 rivals Toyota with the no. 7 Hybrid of Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway. They clocked a best average lap of 1:39.646.
Classified third overall was the drivers’ world-title winning car of Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, who had an average time that was 10.628s behind the leader. In fourth was Anthony Davidson in the no. 8 Toyota. He and qualifying partner Kazuki Nakajima had a fastest average lap time that was 1.391s off the pace.
Porsche will be looking to bank on their pole spot and clinch an emotional victory on Saturday in Bahrain in what will be the team’s final race in the WEC’s Le Mans Prototype (LMP) category.
In LMP2 qualifying, Gustavo Menezes helped steer the Alpine A470-Gibon of Signatech Alpine Matmut to the top of their group. He and Andre Negrao had a quickest average lap of 1:47.227.
In the LMGTE Pro class, AF Corse’s Davide Rigon put his team up in first place early on, and after teammate Sam Bird took over in their Ferrari 488 GTE they managed a best average lap of 1:56.033.
Amongst the LMGTE Amateur participants, the Aston Martin Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy were top with an average lap of 1:59.328.
The Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain flags off at 4pm Saturday.