Ben Hanley was the fastest man on track during the first FIA WEC free practice session of the weekend in Bahrain. The Briton, in the No. 5 Team LNT Ginetta G60-LT-P1, set a best time of 1m44.791s, before the car suffered a mechanical issue which forced it to spend much of the session in the garage.
The issue meant that the car only managed 11 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit during the 90-minute session. Team LNT’s sister G60 also didn’t set many laps, just 15, under half the total from the No. 1 Rebellion and No. 8 Toyota.
Hanley’s lap was set early in the running, and ended up being 2.1 seconds faster than the other runners in LMP1. The No. 1 Rebellion R-13, fresh from its Shanghai win, came closest with a 1m46.976s from Norman Nato. The two Toyotas slotted in third and fourth, the No. 8 ahead of the No. 7.
It was an important session for the No. 6 Ginetta that finished up sixth, as it provided America’s Chris Dyson with his first chance to turn laps in the car during a competitive session.
In the LMP2 ranks it was a 1-2-3-4 for Michelin teams. United Autosports’ No. 22 ORECA led the way, with the best lap coming from Paul Di Resta early on, a 1m48.273s. His time was a tenth up on the Cool Racing ORECA that took second after Nicolas Lapierre’s best efforts. Behind, Racing Team Nederland’s 07 Gibson ended up third ahead of the Signatech Alpine in fourth.
Fastest of the Goodyear runners was High Class Racing’s ORECA, which was only seven tenths off the best time in the class.
Notably, the G-Drive Racing Aurus 01, in its first FIA WEC session, ended up eighth. This weekend the team’s drivers Roman Rusinov, Jean-Eric Vergne and Job van Uitert are having to get up to speed on Michelin tires, having spent the 2019 ELMS season racing on Dunlops. At this stage it is not yet known whether TDS Racing-run G-Drive will stick with Michelin in 2020.
Porsche, meanwhile, finished up 1-2 in GTE Pro with a best time of 1m57.388s from Gianmaria Bruni in the No. 91 911 RSR 19. Best of the rest in third was the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari, that lapped under a tenth off the No. 92 Porsche. Both Aston Martin Racing Vantages finished the session slower than the top two in GTE Am.
TF Sport’s Aston Martin Vantage AMR was the quickest in Am, despite the fact that the car is running with the most Success Ballast in the Am class this weekend. Its time was a 1m58.803s set by Jonny Adam.
Dempsey Proton Racing’s No. 88 Porsche 911 RSR slotted in second, after a 1m58.825s set by Thomas Preining. This weekend the Austrian is joined by Adrien De Leener and Khaled Al Qubaisi in the ever-rotating second and third seats in the car. This weekend’s De Leener’s second appearance this season (after Fuji) and Qubaisi’s first.
There were no major incidents in the session, which was only interrupted briefly by a full-course yellow for debris on track.
UP NEXT: FP2 is set to start at 6:30 p.m. local time.