Ben Hanley was the driver to beat in the first practice session of the FIA World Endurance Championship 8 Hours of Bahrain, putting the #5 Team LNT Ginetta at the top of the timing board.
The 1:44.791 set the Team LNT crew put them 2.1 seconds ahead of the rest of the field, and was set early in the session. The team only managed to get 11 laps on the board as a mechanical issue saw the spend most of the session in the pit lane.
Behind them, Shanghai-winners Rebellion Racing took second ahead of the Toyota Gazoo Racing duo. It was an important session for Chris Dyson in the #6 Team LNT car as it was his first chance this season to get some competitive mileage.
However, the fact that neither Team LNT car set more than half the laps of the Rebellion or Toyotas highlighted that, even though they have a pace advantage this weekend, the reliability of the Ginettas will be the biggest factor in where the finish Saturday evening.
LMP2 saw the #22 United Autosports car come out on top, with Paul di Resta setting a 1:48.273 early on to take first in class. There was pressure from behind in the Cool Racing ORECA, as the fastest time the crew set was under a tenth off of di Resta’s benchmark. Championship rivals Racing Team Nederland and Signatech Alpine completed the top four, locking out the front of the class with Michelin runners.
Returning to WEC, G-Drive Racing took today’s first practice session as a learning curve for the Michelin tyres, as they have been running Dunlops during the 2019 European Le Mans Series. The Russian team ended the first practice session eighth fastest.
Porsche GT Team remained the ones to watch as they claimed the fastest two laps in GTE Pro. AF Corse #71 was third, under a tenth slower than the second-placed Porsche in the hands of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina.
Aston Martin Racing ended the session with a lot to reflect on as neither Pro car could finish ahead of any of the Am cars.
TF Sport had a good session, leading the Am cars with the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing car taking second. Thomas Preining set the time in the #88, with his team mates Adrien De Leener and Khaled Al Qubaisi getting their first taste for the Porsche RSR 911.