Porsche

Tandy, Jani capture Bahrain WEC pole for Porsche’s final race

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SAKHIR, Bahrain – Porsche will start its final race in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship from pole position after Nick Tandy and Neel Jani saw off the challenge of Toyota in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Bahrain on Friday night.

Porsche confirmed back in July it would be closing its LMP1 program at the end of the 2017 season in order to turn its attention to Formula E, making this weekend’s race in Bahrain its last in the category.

The No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid shared by Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez looked poised for pole after all four LMP1 cars had completed two flying laps, enjoying a buffer to the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid in second place.

Tandy had time to go out for a late run in the session after Porsche completed its initial efforts early, and by gaining six-tenths of a second lifted the No. 1 car’s average to take pole position.

The sister No. 2 Porsche will start the race from third on the grid ahead of the No. 8 Toyota in P4, which finished over a second off the pace.

American racer Gustavo Menezes captured pole position in LMP2 for Signatech Alpine alongside Andre Negrao in the No. 36 Alpine A470 Gibson, with the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson following in second ahead of the No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion entry.

AF Corse dominated qualifying in GTE-Pro through Sam Bird and Davide Rigon in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE, with both drivers posting lap times faster than any of their rivals.

Aston Martin took second in class with Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, with Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx finishing third in the No. 67 Ford GT ahead of the points-leading No. 51 AF Corse shared by James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.

GTE-Am pole went to Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, with the bonus point meaning a top-three finish in Sunday’s race will be enough to deliver the team a maiden set of class titles.

MRTI: Juncos signs Carlos Cunha for Pro Mazda campaign

Photo: Juncos Racing
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Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.

Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.

“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”

Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”

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