Electric McNish Takes Bahrain Pole For Audi

With Audi Motorsport upgrading their challenge for the rest of FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to a pair of hybrid drive e-tron quattro Allan McNish and Marcel Fassler rewarded the team by taking both front row spots for the Six Hours of Bahrain.

With teams needing to start the race on their qualifying tyres the 20 minute session for the LMP1 and LMP2 classes could again, almost be split into two parts, McNish and Nicolas Lapierre on track in the early part of the session, Fassler taking the #1 R18 out later in the session.

McNish had the measure of Lapierre in the Toyota TS030 Hybrid throughout their time on track, setting what would be the pole position lap (1:45.814) on his second flying lap as Lapierre failed to break the 1:46 barrier, settling for a best of 1:46.254 set on the last of his three flying laps around the 5.4km circuit.

Fassler needed to run an extra lap – a by-product of a mid-session delay to retrieve an errant marker bollard – to find the pace squeeze between McNish and Lapierre and ensure that the top three were covered by less than half a second.

Rebellion Racing, despite their team for qualifying being down to a single car after damage to the #13 Lola Coupe, still ended the session as the best of the LMP1 privateers, Neel Jani a full eight tenths faster than Strakka Racing’s Danny Watts.

Stephane Sarrazin scored Starworks Motorsports’ third class pole position of the season by nearly half a second over John Martin in the ADRDelta entry, the British based team hewn down to just two drivers by the absence of Jan Charouz. Starworks, meanwhile are back welcome Tom KimberSmith for the first time since his Le Mans winning exploits with Peter Baron’s team.

Stefan Mucke dominated the qualifying session for the GTE categories, improving his lap time three times to pull out the gap between he and Richard Lietz to nearly three tenths of a second.

Returned to a driver line-up befitting the AFWaltrip nomenclature (Portuguese Rui Aguas alongside Americans Robert Kauffman and Brian Vickers) it was Aguas who set the pole time to beat Fernando Rees in the best of the pair of Larbre Competition Corvettes.