Porsche will start the final round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance championship at the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain from the front row of the grid after another spectacular performance in qualifying this evening.
Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard combined to set a scorching pace in the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid to claim Porsche’s 11th consecutive FIA WEC pole position. The performance also netted title leaders Hartley, Bernhard and Mark Webber an additional point to stretch their lead in the Drivers’ Championship to 13pts.
Hartley and Bernhard set a two lap average of 1m39.736s, with Bernhard setting the outright quickest time of 1m39.670. The average was 0.364s faster than Lieb and Dumas. Hartley survived a lurid moment at turn 11 but maintained momentum to still set the quickest lap at that stage.
Audi Sport Team Joest will start the eighth and final FIA WEC race of the year from third and fourth on the grid tomorrow afternoon.
Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer were on qualifying duties in the No.7 Audi R18 etron quattro and finished with an average of 1m41.303s. This was 0.104s faster than Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis in the sister No.8 car.
The Toyota TS 040 HYBRIDs will start what will be their final race tomorrow before a new car is introduced in 2016 from a now customary fifth and sixth on the starting grid. The No 1 Toyota driven by Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima eclipsed the No.2 entry by three tenths of a second.
In an incredibly close LMP2 class, Signatech Alpine claimed a first pole position with its Alpine A450B-Nissan.
Tom Dillmann and Paul-Loup Chatin qualified the blue LMP2 car in an average of 1m49.993s, just 0.067s ahead of the KCMG ORECA 05 driven by Matt Howson and Nick Tandy.
It was a thrilling session as Chatin charged to make the final quick lap of his run after a slight mistake at the final turn saw him run wide on the previous lap. The quick Frenchman had enough in the bag, however, after early work by Dillmann; it ensured Signatech followed up a debut win in Shanghai earlier this month with a first ever FIA WEC pole.
Despite the best efforts of Le Mans winner Nick Tandy in the final moments of the exciting 20-minute session, the KCMG ORECA-05 Nissan starts from second in class, while title rivals – the No.26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan placed third. However a post qualifying penalty was imposed on the no47 KCMG for abuse of track limits and Nick Tandy’s best time was deleted. This meant the no47 KCMG Oreca 05 moved back one place behind the no26 G-Drive Ligier on the grid for tomorrow’s 6 hour race.
Tomorrow will see a feast of on-track action at the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain as GP2, GP3 and Porsche GT3 Cup Challenge cars entertain the crowds before the main event – the finale of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship – which begins at 15.00 local time.
FIA WEC Press Release