Toyota’s No. 8 GR010 HYBRID beat Peugeot and Alpine to pole for the 2022 FIA WEC season finale tomorrow in Bahrain. Brendon Hartley, in the title-challenging No. 8, set a stunning 1m46.800s time to go eight-tenths clear of the rest of the field and score an additional point which puts himself and his teammates one point ahead in the title race heading into the 8 Hours.
“Brendon did a great job in qualifying. In practice we struggled a little, but we put it together today,” Toyota Gazoo Racing team principal and driver Kamui Kobayashi said. “Last year we did a 46.2, so we are slower, but we tried out best today and I think the most important thing is the race. Our target is to win the championship, hopefully, we can make it happen.”
The lap from Hartley, giving the No. 8 its second pole of the season, pushed the No. 93 Peugeot to second place after Paul di Resta’s best efforts. Toyota’s second GR010 will start from third.
The other title contender, the Alpine, will start the race from fifth on the grid after Matthieu Vaxiviere struggled to match the ultimate pace, ending the session with a time a second and a half off pole.
In the LMP2 class, a late flyer by Norman Nato put the No. 41 Realteam by WRT ORECA at the head of the field, his 1m50.330s pushing the No. 38 JOTA ORECA to second.
“Honestly, I am really happy because in practice we were far off,” Nato said. “Sometimes it is difficult to put everything together with traffic. We were confident ahead of qualifying, but knowing you can do it and actually delivering the lap is a different matter.”
The late hot lap from Nato came moments after the No. 22 United ORECA looked as if it was going to take pole, Filipe Albuquerque rose to provisional pole, only to have his best lap deleted for a track limits violation. The No. 22 dropped to third as a result.
Porsche will start from pole position for the last-ever GTE Pro race. Gianmaria Bruni set a 1m56.143s to put the No. 91 Porsche almost three tenths faster than the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari, which looked set to take pole midway through the session after Antonio Fuoco’s 1m56.419s.
Michael Christensen was the first Porsche driver to take the top spot with an early flyer, but the team opted to pit the No. 92 a lap later on a lap that looked set to be a significant improvement. The Dane had set purple sectors in both sectors 1 and 2 before pitting for new rubber. In the end the No. 92 crew was unable to set a late hot lap and challenge for pole, and will start third ahead of the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari and the single Corvette, which was 1.3s off the pace.
In Am, Iron Dames’ Ferrari took a surprise pole after Team Project 1 set the best time in the class in each of the three practice sessions. Sarah Bovy set a 1m59.186s to put the Ferrari customer team at the top of the timing screens. TF Sport’s Aston Martin slotted in second with the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche third. The quickest of Team Project 1’s Porsches, the No. 46, will start from fourth tomorrow.
The 2022 8 Hours of Bahrain is set to get underway Saturday at 2pm local time in Bahrain, with live TV coverage on MotorTrend.