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.