Rebellion Racing has claimed pole position for the 2019 FIA WEC 8 Hours of Bahrain, its second pole in a row this season after a strong performance from Bruno Senna and Norman Nato. The duo set a 1:42.979 combined time, to go over a tenth clear at the top.
“It was the strategy,” Nato said after the session, revealing that Rebellion used only one set of tyres in the session, “we knew it would be risky. We know the key point is the race and tyre degradation, so we only used one set. It wasn’t easy, but I pushed. Really happy, two in a row it’s great. We have to finish the job tomorrow.”
Ben Hanley and Charlie Robertson put Team LNT on the front row, the Briton steering the #5 to second with a 1:43.123 average. Team LNT will be pleased with the performance from the duo but will feel this is a missed opportunity as the G60-LT-P1s are in a favourable position with the Success Handicap here after wins from Toyota and Rebellion this season.
Toyota’s fastest TS050 HYBRID will start the race third, the #8 beating the #7 to a top-three spot. The #8’s average was a 1:43.497, half a second off pole. The #6 Team LNT Ginetta could only manage fifth.
In LMP2 it was United Autosports’ day, Phil Hanson and Paul Di Resta taking pole with a 1:45.357 combined time, giving Michelin the advantage over Goodyear.
Goodyear’s best customer, the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, ended up taking the second spot on the grid, three tenths back.
“It was a bit of a mistake. With so much limited running, I didn’t use a new set to get myself into it. It was the last chance this year to get a pole, I wanted to nail it, but the car has been at the sharp end if we do a good job. We nailed it,” Di Resta said after the session.
The guest-entered G-Drive Racing Aurus will start third, a strong showing from the Russian team on its first weekend in the WEC this season, and it’s first with the Michelin tyre.
Porsche was dominant in the GT classes, locking out the front row in both.
GTE Pro saw the factory crew finish 1-2 with the #91 Porsche taking pole. Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz combined to set a 1:55.485 time, which was just 0.060 faster than the sister #92 911 RSR 19.
“For us, it was really a good team effort after we worked hard in practice. We didn’t know what Qualifying would look like because we were only focused on the race. It was a very good lap from Richard, amazing,” Bruni said after the session. Both drivers used fresh rubber for their runs, the team opting to throw new tyres at the car for Lietz’s effort late in the session once it knew pole was possible.
The two AF Corse Ferraris will start third and fourth, six and eight tenths adrift of the lead Porsche, the #51 ahead of the #71.
For Aston, it was a quiet showing, its two Vantages both around a second off the pace here.
In Am, the #57 Project 1 Porsche topped the times, Ben Keating and Larry Ten Voorde combining to take the point for pole position.
“I’m shaking, it was my first Qualifying in the WEC, I was a bit nervous, but we got pole as a team, it’s amazing, I can’t describe the feeling.” Ten Voorde said after the session. He and Keating managed a 1:57.602.
AF Corse’s #54 Ferrari would snatch second with a 1:57.645, preventing a 1-2 for the Stuttgart brand, pushing the #88 Proton Porsche to third.
The #83 AF Corse Ferrari, which is locked in the title battle with TF Sport, will start from fourth on the grid. Francois Perrodo was unable to replicate the performance of his teammate Nicklas Nielsen on this occasion, the Dane putting the #83 atop the class running order before the driver changes.
Tomorrow’s race is set to start at 15:00 local time.