Porsche secured a clean sweep of pole positions in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship earlier today, taking yet another one-two at the Bahrain International Circuit.
Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber need to finish third in tomorrow’s 6 Hours of Bahrain to take the drivers’ title, and the trio ensured they have the best possible starting point by taking pole in the 20-minute qualifying session. Bernhard, Hartley and Porsche teammate Marc Lieb in the #18 machine were the only drivers to break the two-minute barrier in a relatively quiet qualifying session.
The #7 Audi of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer will start from third position on the grid, ahead of the #8 sister car of di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis. The two Toyotas followed in fifth and sixth, with the Rebellions getting the better of the ByKolles machine in LMP1-L.
In LMP2, things were a little tighter, with the #36 Signatech Alpine mixing up the championship battle and taking pole position. Close behind was the #26 G-Drive racing car of Roman Rusinov, Sam Bird and Julien Canal, which currently leads both the drivers’ and teams’ championships. Despite a late rally from Nick Tandy in the #47 KCMG Oreca, the Hong Kong-entered team will start the 6-hour race from third position on the grid. KCMG will know that only a class win will do if they are to have any chance of taking home the championship titles.
GTE qualifying began in darkness, with a complete floodlight failure at the track bringing out a red flag. The session started after a short delay, and the Aston Martins showed good pace early on, reinvigorated after pre-race balance of performance adjustments.
In GTE-Pro, however, it didn’t take the Ferraris long to get up to speed, and the #51 AF Corse machine of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander posted a provisional pole time as the second drivers turned their laps. The two-lap average of 1:58.347 proved impossible to beat, and so Bruni and Vilander will start tomorrow’s race from the front of the grid. Aston Martins rounded out the top three, with the all-Danish #95 car pipping the #99 machine to second.
In GTE-Am, the #98 Aston Martin Racing team secured their fifth pole position of the season, with the #50 Larbre Competition Corvette the closest competitor almost half a second behind. Championship leaders SMP Racing will start from third and essentially just need to avoid a DNF to take home both drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles. SMP’s closest rivals, the #83 AF Corse Ferrari, will start the race in fourth.
Image source: WEC press material (Adrenal Media)