Bernhard tops final Bahrain practice

Bernhard tops final Bahrain practice

Le Mans/WEC

Bernhard tops final Bahrain practice

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Porsche LMP Team led the way in the final practice session of the 2017 FIA WEC season, with Timo Bernhard leading a 919 Hybrid 1-2 at the end of the hour’s running.

Bernhard’s best time was a 1m42.438s, set early in the session. The time was, however, two seconds off the best time from Thursday’s on-track action, set by Kazuki Nakajima in the No. 8 Toyota.

Behind Bernhard, the No. 1 sister car of Neel Jani produced a 1:43.124s, 0.686s off the leading car.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s two TS050 HYBRIDs slotted in third and fourth, 1.2 and 1.4 seconds off the ultimate pace. Quickest of the two was the No. 8, with Anthony Davidson setting the time.

After Vaillante Rebellion paced the field yesterday, Jackie Chan DC Racing ended up top of the running order in FP3. The championship-challenging No. 38 ORECA 07 Gibson claimed the top spot with a 1m48.879s set by Ho Pin tung, who was 0.45s quicker than the sister No. 37’s best flying lap set by Tristan Gommendy.

Third in the running was the G-Drive Racing ORECA, ex-Audi LMP1 driver Loic Duval – who is filling the third seat for the finale – again set the team’s best lap time, a 1m49.377s.

The best of Rebellion’s ORECAs, the No. 13, finished the pre-qualifying running fourth. The championship-leading sister No. 31 07 Gibson meanwhile, ended up down the order in seventh, 1.4s off the No. 38’s lap time.

AF Corse headlined the GTE Pro field, its No. 51 488 GTE a few tenths clear of the other cars in the class after a 1m57.972s tour of the Sakhir circuit by British driver James Calado.

Second was the No. 67 Ford GT, which won last time out at Shanghai and is still in with a chance of the title; Gurnseyman Andy Priaulx, who is looking to win his fourth FIA World Championship this weekend, set a 1m58.179s. The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari completed the top three.

After finishing 1-2 in FP2 last night, Aston Martin Racing’s Vantages were nowhere to be seen at the top, running sixth and eighth fastest when the checkered flag came out.

Clearwater Racing was the quickest of the Am runners again thanks to another flying lap from Irishman Matt Griffin. This time he set a 2m022.661s. The Dempsey Proton Porsche ended up second, with the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 third.

Elsewhere, one of the Am class runners suffered a big issue in FP3. The Gulf Racing UK Porsche was spotted stationary out on the circuit with Ben Barker at the wheel 30 minutes in, with the rear-end on fire. The blaze caused a red flag, and the car was recovered to the garage after completing just 11 laps. The team has since explained to RACER that the fire was caused by a heat build-up issue, which it is experiencing under full-course yellows, but  expects that the problem can be solved in time for the race.

The only other notable stoppage in the session was for the No. 24 Manor ORECA, which stopped on pit entry with newly-announced 2018 DragonSpeed LMP1 driver Ben Hanley at the wheel.

Click here for full results.

UP NEXT: The final WEC qualifying session of the season is set to begin later today at 5pm local time in Bahrain.

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