The second Free Practice session of the FIA World Endurance Championship season finale at Bahrain International Circuit featured another 90 minutes of running, this time in 86 degrees Fahrenheit of desert sunshine.
The session saw the two Toyotas, the lone LMP1 entries for the final race for the class, topping the order again, but with the order reversed from last night’s Free Practice session.
Jose Maria Lopez put in a lap in 1m42.857s very early in the session that held up for the championship-challenging No. 7 TS 050 HYBRID. That car should, via the performance handicap system still in place here in LMP1, have a 0.54s per lap advantage over the sister, championship-leading No. 8 entry, whose best effort came from Kaz Nakajima with another early session lap — 1m44.004s.
The No. 29 Racing Team Nederland ORECA was again fastest in LMP2 and third quickest overall, Nyck de Vries set the time this morning with a 1m48.601s, significantly faster than the No. 36 Signatech Alpine, Pierre Ragues a full 1.7 seconds off the Dutchman’s best and edging Phil Hanson in the championship-winning No. 22 United Autosports ORECA back to third by a tenth.
GTE Pro saw Spanish factory driver Miguel Molina put the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE on top with a 1m57.193s, a couple of tenths clear of the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Gianmaria Bruni.
GTE Pro championship leaders Aston Martin looked to be using the session for long runs with their consistency on a single deep into the stint, and into a second, looking strong, their best time of the session 0.7s off the class best. Richard Westbrook was fourth fastest behind the second Ferrari, in the No. 97 Aston Martin.
The fastest GTE Am class car was way up in the overall GTE order in the session, this time it was Porsche Junior driver, New Zealander Jaxon Evans in the No. 88 Dempsey Proton Competition 911 RSR, third fastest in the overall GTE order with a 1m57.773s. Jeroen Bleekemolen in the No. 57 Team Project 1 Porsche was barely a tenth back and still among the Pro cars with Jorg Bergmeister third fastest in the sister No. 56 Project One car.
Friday afternoon sees the final 60 minutes of Free Practice before qualifying this evening — again, as with Free Practice 1, under floodlights.