By Johan Laubscher
The FIA World Endurance Championship is hosting its season finale in Bahrain this weekend. Two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars from Audi Sport Team Joest will be facing off against two Toyota TS030 Hybrid cars.
Both the LMP1 manufacturers’ and drivers’ championships have been won in favour of Audi, thus the race in Bahrain will be a straight fight between Audi and Toyota with no championships at stake.
The first free practice session got proceedings underway on Thursday afternoon. The ninety minute session concluded with the two Audis being sandwiched between the two Toyotas. Toyota #7 set the fastest time during the first free practice session, leading the two Audis ahead of their teammates in the #8 Toyota. Audi #1 was the leading R18 e-tron quattro car in second place, with drivers Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer. Audi #2 was third fastest with the newly crowned LMP1 world champions of Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish and Loïc Duval. The privateer Rebellion Racing Lola rounded out the top five behind the four factory cars up front.
The second free practice session is up next in Bahrain, scheduled for 19:30 local time. That session will be concluding the track running for today, as the third free practice and qualifying will be taking place tomorrow.
LMP1 first free practice results:
1 #7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid - 1:43.192
2 #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro - 1:44.617
3 #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro - 1:45.091
4 #8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid - 1:45.151
5 #12 Lola B12/60 Coupé - Toyota - 1:48.741
Photo credit: Audi Sport Communication / Media