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Jani sets the pace for Porsche in opening Bahrain WEC practice

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Porsche’s championship-leading trio of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb set the pace in the opening practice session for the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale in Bahrain.

Dumas, Jani and Lieb arrive at the Bahrain International Circuit requiring only a sixth-place finish to clinch their maiden title, having also won the 24 Hours of Le Mans back in June.

Jani was the fastest driver as the field hit the track for FP1 on Thursday afternoon, with an early lap of 1:42.107 enough to give Porsche top spot in the classification.

Audi’s final weekend in the WEC started off in quietly-impressive fashion as the no. 8 and no. 7 R18s finished second and third respectively, the former lapping three-tenths off Jani’s effort.

Toyota’s title-contending no. 6 car ended the session fourth, with the no. 1 Porsche and no. 5 Toyota following in P5 and P6 to round out the LMP1-H runners.

In LMP2, class champions Signatech Alpine kicked off the weekend by setting the pace as Nicolas Lapierre put in a lap time of 1:50.906 to finish almost two-tenths clear of the no. 45 Manor, which welcomes back Roberto Merhi for the weekend.

Aston Martin Racing put its stamp on proceedings early on in GTE Pro by securing a one-two finish, with the no. 97 leading the way courtesy of Darren Turner, who is joined by Jonny Adam for the weekend.

GTE Am champions-elect AF Corse also set the pace in its respective class, knowing that pole on Saturday will to enough for the no. 83 crew to clinch the title.

Indy 500 qualifying: Today’s schedule, TV times, how the 33-car field is set

Indy 500 qualifying schedule
Doug Mathews/IndyCar
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The 33-car field of the 104th Indianapolis 500 will be set through the two-day Indy 500 qualifying schedule Saturday and Sunday at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Today’s session will determine the nine cars that will compete for the pole position and starting positions 10-30.

On Sunday, the pole position then will be determined in a Fast Nine Shootout (the top nine qualifiers also received NTT IndyCar Series points).

All on-track activity will be on NBC Sports Gold’s IndyCar pass (click here for streaming Saturday and here for Sunday), and Indy 500 qualifying will be on NBC from 3-5 p.m. ET Saturday and Indy 500 pole qualifying from 1-3 p.m. ET on NBC.

Last year, Simon Pagenaud captured the pole position on the way to winning last year’s Indy 500.

Qualifying speeds at Indianapolis Motor Speedway are determined by a four-lap average around the 2.5-mile track.

Here is the Indy 500 qualifying schedule and how to watch on TV:

Saturday, Aug. 15

5:30 a.m. – Garage opens

6 a.m. – Tech inspection

8:30-9:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

11 a.m.-5 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 qualifying (NBC Sports Gold; NBC coverage from 3-5 p.m.; NBCSN 5-6 p.m.)

7:30 p.m. – Garage closes

Sunday, Aug. 16

8 a.m. – Garage opens

9 a.m. — Tech inspection

11-11:30 a.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBC Sports Gold)

1:15-2:15 p.m. – Fast Nine pole qualifying (NBC begins at 1 p.m., NBC Sports Gold)

3:30-6 p.m. – Indianapolis 500 practice (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold)