Porsche will start the final round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance championship at the 6 Hours of Bahrain from the front row of the grid after another spectacular performance in qualifying.
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.
“I’m very happy for the entire team,” Timo Bernhard said.
“Brendon and myself did well today, and the car was really good. We have scored the single point for pole position, and this was today’s target. Nevertheless: What counts is tomorrow.
“It will definitely be a very exciting race. Always a lot can happen on track. But we know we’ve got the car, we’ve got the speed and we’ve got the team behind us. This is a very nice feeling.”
Hartley and Bernhard set a two-lap average of 1:39.736, with Bernhard setting the outright quickest time of 1:39.670. The average was 0.364s faster than teammates Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas. Hartley survived a lurid moment at turn 11 but maintained momentum to still set the quickest lap at that stage.
“It was very good. It is great to be on pole again, and this point could be crucial for tomorrow, as it gives us a bit more room to breathe,” Hartley said.
“I had some rally type action on my lap with a big drift through turn 11, but I kept it together. Timo performed perfectly, it was a great team effort.”
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 1:41.303. 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.
In the LM GTE Pro ranks, Gimmi Bruni took the chequered flag to claim the third pole position of the year for himself and Toni Vilander in the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, finishing the 20-minute qualifying session ahead of the No.71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon and James Calado.
The 1:58.347 average lap for Bruni and Vilander is a new qualifying record for the LMGTE Pro class at Bahrain, beating the previous record of 1m58.805 by nearly 0.5 seconds.
The No.71 Ferrari was just 0.041s adrift of its Ferrari teammates but a post qualifying penalty for the No.71 Ferrari for abusing track limits meant the deletion of the best lap time for James Calado and has resulted in the Calado and Rigon starting the race from the back of the grid.
However the extra championship point for pole position for the no51 car extends Ferrari’s lead in the FIA World Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers to 5 points, with the two Team Manthey Porsche 911s qualifying in 5th and 7th.
The No.98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy took its fifth LMGTE-Am pole position of the season with an average lap time of 2:00.522, 0.422 seconds ahead of the No.50 Larbre Competition Corvette of Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda.
Tomorrow’s race underway at 3:00pm local time (7:00am US Eastern) with the chequered flag dropping at 9:00pm and the 2015 world champions will be known.
— FIA WEC (@FIAWEC) November 20, 2015
— Porsche Motorsport (@PorscheRaces) November 20, 2015
— Ferrari Races (@FerrariRaces) November 20, 2015
— FIA WEC (@FIAWEC) November 20, 2015