Bahrain free practice: top 4 separated by two tenths

#93 Peugeot 9x8 at free practice for the 2022 8 Hours of Bahrain

The 2022 8 Hours of Bahrain got underway on Friday with two 90-minute free practice sessions. Just 0.16 seconds separated the top four runners in FP2, pointing to a finely balanced Hypercar field.

Peugeot TotalEnergies was the name at the top of the timing sheets in both sessions. On both occasions it was the #93 9×8 that went quickest, with Jean-Eric Vergne taking the honours in FP1 and Paul di Resta fastest in FP2.

Di Resta’s FP2 time of 1:49.613 was just 0.045 seconds quicker than the fastest Toyota, the #8 machine piloted by Kiwi Brendon Hartley. Alpine made it three different manufacturers in the top three in FP2: Matthieu Vaxiviere was quickest for the French outfit with a fastest time of 1:49 .690.

#92 Porsche 911 RSR at free practice for the 2022 8 Hours of Bahrain
First blood to Porsche in GTE Pro

Porsche got off to a solid start in the final GTE outing for the Porsche 911 RSR as a full-works entry. Michael Christensen and Kévin Estre were a class above in both FP1 and FP2, comfortably going fastest in both sessions.

Championship rivals Ferrari – who go into the final round level on points in the manufacturers’ championship – finished both sessions in second and third position but will have some work to do to catch the #92 Porsche.

Advantage AF Corse in LMP2

Alessio Rovera emerged from his recent outing in the new Ferrari 499P in fine form, sending the #83 AF Corse LMP2 machine to the top of the timing sheets in FP2. Teammate Niklas Nielsen had already set the benchmark earlier on in the day, with the session-fastest time in FP1 for the LMP2 Pro/Am squad.

Porsche on top in GTE Am

Porsche were also on form in GTE Am, with Project 1 going fastest in both FP1 (#46) and FP2 (#56). Ben Barnicoat’s 1:59.636 set in FP1 for the #46 entry was the fastest time of the day.

Ben Keating’s TF Sport outfit – hot favourites for the title with only a third-place finish required – were bottom of the timing sheets in FP1 and comfortably in the midfield in FP2.

The full results and times from free practice can be found here.