Audi Records Final-Ever WEC Pole Position in Bahrain Shootout


Audi will start its final race as an LMP1 manufacturer from pole position, with Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi qualifying quickest in Bahrain.

The #8 R18 posted an average time of 1:39.207s to hand Audi its sixth pole position of the 2016 World Endurance Championship, and the third of the season for that car.

Jarvis was second to fellow Audi driver Andre Lotterer after the first set of runs, but a 1:38.828s marker from Di Grassi – the fastest time of the session and a new lap record – sealed the result.

Second on the grid for Saturday’s six hour contest will be the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, who is also making his final race appearance this weekend.

After starting the session, Bernhard returned to the car to slim his and Hartley’s average down to 1:39:471s, 0.264 seconds off the pole time.

Audi and Porsche will also share the second row of the grid, with the #2 919 Hybrid qualifying ahead of the #7 R18.

Fifth and sixth quickest were the two Toyota TS050s, which both failed to set a sub-1 minute 40s time.

The championship-contending #6 car driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Stephane Sarrazin will start alongside the sister car of Anthony Davidson, Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.

Rebellion Racing comfortably beat Bykolles Racing to give the R-One chassis one final privateer LMP1 pole position before it retires.

In LMP2, G-Drive Racing secured its sixth pole position of the year thanks to a commanding run by Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov.

Driving the #26 ORECA-Nissan, Rast produced a 1:48.644s marker – the fastest lap of anyone by some eight tenths of a second – to confirm the result.

Second in class, and 0.018 seconds down on average, was the Signatech Alpine qualified by Stephane Richelmi and Gustavo Menezes.

Manor finished third in the times with its ORECA-Nissan, ahead of the best placed Ligier entered by RGR Sport.

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G-Drive continued ORECA’s qualifying dominance (Credit: Craig Robertson/Speed Chills)

GTE-Pro qualifying saw Aston Martin Racing sweep the front row of the grid with Darren Turner and Jonny Adam taking a clear-cut pole position.

Turner set the ball rolling with a 1:56.953s marker – the quickest time of the session – before Adam matched his team-mate’s time to the thousandth.

Second in class was the championship-leading Aston Martin driven by Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim, which finished on an average time of 1:57.081s.

In the best of the rest, Ford and Ferrari will share both the second and third rows of the grid after a close battle between the turbocharged GTE machinery.

Sam Bird and Davide Rigon – the only drivers who can derail Sorensen and Thiim in the title fight – ended the session third, and 0.427 seconds off the pole time, in their Ferrari 488.

They will start alongside the Ford GT of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.

The Gianmaria Bruni/James Calado Ferrari and Stefan Muecke/Olivier Pla Ford make up the next row, ahead of the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911.

A final flurry of action decided the fate of GTE-Am qualifying as Pedro Lamy snatched the top spot in his Aston Martin.

Lamy took the pole away from the #83 AF Corse on the final lap, preventing Francois Perrodo, Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard from sealing the drivers’ championship with an extra point.

The green flag for the WEC 6 Hours of Bahrain will fly tomorrow (Saturday, November 19) at 16:00 local time.