Audi Top Final Practice As GT Battle Hots Up

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Audi made their way to the top of the time sheets for the first time in Bahrain, beating the chasing pack by over a second in the final practice session before qualifying.

Loic Duval put the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of the World Champions-elect at the top of the standings with a time of 1:42.479, a full 1.3 seconds ahead of the #8 Toyota TS030 of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Stephane Sarrazin.

While Duval had streaked ahead, the next three positions were as close as possible, with the #8 Toyota just 0.033 seconds faster than the #1 Audi, who in turn was only 0.003 faster than the second Toyota. The Rebellion Racing Lola rounded out LMP1, but was a full 4.845 seconds off the pace of Duval’s Audi.

Oreca enjoyed a strong session in LMP2, with the top three times all coming from teams with Oreca machinery. It was the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan at the top of the pile, with John Martin setting a time of 1:50.341, only 0.156 seconds ahead of the #49 sister machine of Pecom Racing in second. The #25 Delta-ADR Oreca rounded out the top three, ahead of a pair of OAK Racing Morgan-Nissans.

Lap times in LMGTE Pro continued to drop, as only one car failed to make it under the two-minute mark, after only two could set a sub two-minute time in Thursday’s practice sessions. Bruno Senna came out with the fastest time of the morning, setting a 1:59.052 in the #99 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, only narrowly pipping the #92 Porsche AG Team Manthey 911 of Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz to the top spot by 0.045 seconds.

Kamui Kobayashi and Giancarlo Fisichella were a further two tenths off the top spot in GTE Am, while the championship leading #97 Aston Martin of Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke could only manage to set the fifth fastest time in what is shaping up to be an extremely entertaining battle for class honours.

LMGTE Am saw Paolo Ruberti the class of the field, setting a 2:00.406 in the #88 Proton Competition Porsche 911, outpacing the all-Danish #95 Aston Martin and the #61 AF Corse Ferrari respectively.

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Based in Mid-Wales, James joined TCF at the start of the 2013 season, covering a range of disciplines, predominantly Motorcycle Road Racing and NASCAR. Follow him on Twitter @JCCharman
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