Toyota drivers Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima claimed pole position for this weekend’s World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain.
The duo, who will share their TS030 Hybrid with Nicolas Lapierre in Saturday’s six-hour race, led a Toyota one-two with an average time at the end of the aggregate qualifying session of 1m42.449s. That put them a shade over three tenths of a second clear of teammates Stephane Sarrazin and Anthony Davidson.
Wurz, who set the fastest lap of the session with a 1m42.170s, said: “Audi’s free practice time from this morning worried us, but the track was very quick. We went into qualifying and did our best. The car balance was very good, so I am very happy.”
Davidson explained that he had to abort the second lap of his run when he encountered traffic and lost tire temperature when he pushed again to complete his run.
The two Audis ended up third and fourth, with Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler heading Loic Duval and Allan McNish.
Lotterer and Fassler claimed a 1m42.976s average, which was a less than two tenths ahead of their teammates. Both R18 e-tron quattro crews complained of tyre degradation over the course of the 20-minute qualifying system.
LMP2 honours were taken by the AF Corse-run Pecom ORECA-Nissan 03 shared by Nicolas Minassian and Pierre Kaffer. The class pole marked a return to form for the Michelin-equipped Pecom team, which endured two difficult races in the run-up to Bahrain. Its four-lap average of 1m50.941s was a tenth up on the G-Drive/Delta-ADR Nissan-ORECA qualifyed by John Martin and Mike Conway.
OAK Racing duo Olivier Pla and Alex Brundle were third in P2 in their Morgan-Nissan LMP2, which was three places ahead of teammates and championship rivals Bertrand Baguette and Martin Plowman.
PORSCHE 1-2 IN GTE PRO
Porsche’s evolution version of its 911 RSR outpaced its rivals from Aston Martin and Ferrari to take GTE Pro pole in the hands of Richard Lietz and Marc Lieb. They shaded Manthey teammates Patrick Pilet and Jorg Bergmeister in the second factory Porsche despite Lieb having to abort his first lap and come into the pits after his 911 jammed in third gear.
Championship leader Stefan Mucke and Darren Turner ended up third in GTE Pro in their Aston Martin Vantage GTE, one place and one hundredth ahead of championship rival Gianmaria Bruni’s Ferrari.
Aston Martin Racing took GTE Am pole with Nicki Thiim and Christoffer Nygaard.
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time Cl Gap 1. P1 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota 1m42.449s 2. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota 1m42.781s +0.332s 3. P1 Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler Audi 1m42.976s +0.527s 4. P1 Kristensen/Duval/McNish Audi 1m43.145s +0.696s 5. P1 Belicchi/Beche/Prost Rebellion Lola-Toyota 1m46.728s +4.279s 6. P2 Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan 1m50.941s 7. P2 Rusinov/Martin/Conway Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan 1m51.003s +0.062s 8. P2 Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan 1m51.718s +0.777s 9. P2 Wirdheim/Reip/Lancaster Greaves Zytek-Nissan 1m51.841s +0.900s10. P2 Giroix/Kerr/Dolby Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan 1m52.133s +1.192s11. P2 Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman OAK Morgan-Nissan 1m52.377s +1.436s12. P2 Weeda/Liuzzi/Auer Lotus 1m53.217s +2.276s13. P2 Holzer/Kraihamer/Charouz Lotus 1m53.584s +2.643s14. P2 Nicolet/Ihara/Cheng OAK Morgan-Nissan 1m54.033s +3.092s15. GTE P Lieb/Lietz Manthey Porsche 1m58.833s16. GTE P Bergmeister/Pilet Manthey Porsche 1m58.960s +0.127s17. GTE P Turner/Mucke Aston Martin 1m59.038s +0.205s18. GTE P Bruni/Vilander AF Ferrari 1m59.049s +0.216s19. GTE P Lamy/Senna/Stanaway Aston Martin 1m59.167s +0.334s20. GTE P Kobayashi/Fisichella AF Ferrari 1m59.459s +0.626s21. GTE A Nygaard/Poulsen/Thiim Aston Martin 2m00.303s22. GTE A Potolicchio/Aguas/Rigon 8Star Ferrari 2m00.337s +0.034s23. GTE A Hall/Goethe/Campbell-Walter Aston Martin 2m00.496s +0.193s24. GTE A Perrodo/Collard/Griffin AF Ferrari 2m00.527s +0.224s25. GTE A Narac/Vernay/Palttala Imsa Porsche 2m00.880s +0.577s26. GTE A Ried/Roda/Ruberti Proton Porsche 2m01.290s +0.987s27. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani Krohn Ferrari 2m01.563s +1.260s28. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Rees Larbre Corvette 2m03.236s +2.933s