The #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa will start the 2023 8 Hours of Bahrain from pole position. New Zealander Hartley set a fastest lap of 1:46.564 in Bahrain qualifying to take the pole by just under half a second. Second-fastest was Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota, who had put his GR010 Hybrid on pole position at the last two rounds.
Hartley’s pole marks a small but significant step towards the World Hypercar Drivers’ Championship for the trio in the #8. Thanks to the additional point awarded for pole position, Hartley, Buemi and Hirakawa must now only finish in third position to win the championship. Without the additional point, a third-place finish would have seen the title going the way of the #7 crew – provided they would have won the race.
Cadillac Racing will start the season finale in Bahrain from the second row after a strong performance by Alex Lynn behind the wheel of the #2 V-Series.R. The #2 crew will share row two with the #6 Porsche of Estre/Lotterer/Vanthoor.
Ferrari, who are also in with a shot of World Hypercar Drivers’ Championship glory, will start the eight-hour endurance race from 5th and 6th on the grid. Both the #50 and #51 crews can win the title, but are reliant on some major drama affecting the pair of Toyotas.
United Autosports on LMP2 pole
The #23 United Autorsports Oreca will start Saturday’s season finale from pole in the LMP2 category, with Tom Blomqvist putting together the perfect lap to head the field by two tenths of a second.
The #36 Alpine Elf Team entry will be along the #23 on the front row, with the #31 Team WRT crew and the #10 Vector Sport close behind on row two.
Championship-leaders Rui Andrade, Robert Kubica and Louis Delétraz had a poor qualifying and will start the race back in P10. The trio only need to finish eighth to secure the drivers’ and teams’ titles, but any slip up could open the door to the #34 Inter Europol and #22 United Autosports crews.
Final GTE Am pole goes to Iron Dames
Sarah Bovy in the #85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR will be the final polesitter in the GTE Am category as the class makes its final appearance in the FIA World Endurance Championship. Bovy’s time of 1:58.692 was around three tenths faster than the #777 D’Station Racing Aston Martin.
The race starts at 12 pm Central European Time. Follow all the action in our live ticker.