Extreme weather impacts Bahrain FP1

Bad weather at Bahrain International Circuit

The 2023 8 Hours of Bahrain weekend started with a bang, as adverse weather affected the first day of running at Bahrain International Circuit.

FP1 was red-flagged after a sandstorm and subsequently heavy rain descended on the desert circuit, making the conditions undriveable. No such issues disrupted FP2, which ran for 10 minutes longer to account for time lost in the early afternoon session.

Kamui Kobayashi started the weekend on the front foot for the in the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid crew, setting the fastest time in both sessions. Kobayashi, Conway and Lopez are looking to overturn a 15-point deficit in the World Hypercar Drivers’ Championship to secure their third title in four years.

Championship leaders Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa were second-quickest in both sessions, posting times just a few tenths behind Kobayashi’s benchmarks.

Porsches filled the next four positions in FP1 as the German marque looks to record its maiden WEC victory with the Porsche 963. Fellow drivers’ championship challengers Ferrari were around 1.5 seconds down on Toyota’s pace.

In LMP2, United Autosports went quickest in both sessions with their #22 Oreca, while D’Station Racing and Kessel Racing set the pace in GTE Am. There was significant work to do for the Project 1 – AO mechanics after Gunnar Jeannette suffered a major accident in the #56 Porsche 911 RSR nicknamed “Rexy”. After working through the night to repair the damage, the car is ready to take part in Friday’s FP3 and qualifying sessions.

The cars will return to the track for FP3 at 2 pm local time, with fans able to watch the action live and free of charge on YouTube. Qualifying then starts at 4:15 pm local time, and the race is set to go green at 2 pm local time on Saturday. For an overview of the weekend’s timing, check out our race page.