Bahrain WEC: Buemi pips Conway for top spot in opening practice

The #8 Toyota topped the times in first practice for this weekend's World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain, despite carrying a half-second performance handicap

Bahrain WEC: Buemi pips Conway for top spot in opening practice

Sebastien Buemi posted a 1m43.457s immediately after a red flag right at the start of the 90-minute session.

His lap eclipsed the 1m43.949s set by Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID shortly before FP1 was briefly stopped.

The 0.54s penalty carried by the #8 car reflects the slender championship lead for Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley going into Saturday's eight-hour race.

The LMP2 order was topped by Giedo van der Garde in the Racing Team Nederland ORECA-Gibson 07.

His time of 1m47.955s put him nearly two tenths up on the Signatech Alpine ORECA in which Andre Negrao recorded a 1m48.126s.

Third fastest was the Jota Sport ORECA on 1m48.303s.

The time from Antonio Felix da Costa set at the of the session improved on team-mate Anthony Davidson's earlier best for the car by two hundredths.

The United Autosports squad that sealed the class championship with victory at Le Mans was fourth fastest with Paul di Resta.

Aston Martin went to the top of the timesheets in GTE Pro in the closing minutes of the session.

Maxime Martin recorded a 1m56.560s in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE he is sharing with Ricard Westbrook after Alex Lynn was ruled out of the Bahrain event following a positive COVID-19 test.

Porsche's Ricard Lietz, who set a 1m57.177s at the start of the 90 minutes, was pushed down to second by Martin's improvement.

The second of the factory Porsche 911 RSRs took third in the times with a 1m57.218s from Michael Christensen.

Nicki Thiiim ended fourth in the second of the Aston Martins on 1m57.508s.

The best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos was more than two seconds off the pace on a 1m58.571s from James Calado.

The GTE Am class was led by Ross Gunn in the factory-run #98 Vantage.

His 1m57.666s set at the beginning of the session was almost equaled by Ben Barker's 1m57.688s in the Gulf Racing UK Porsche late in the session.

Free practice resumes with the second of the three sessions at 9:00am local time on Friday, with qualifying beginning at 6:00pm.

Results

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, B.Hartley Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m43.457s
2 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 0.492s
3 LMP2 F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, N.de Vries Racing Team Nederland ORECA/Gibson 4.498s
4 LMP2 T.Laurent, A.Negrao, P.Ragues Signatech Alpine Elf Alpine/Gibson 4.669s
5 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, A.F.da Costa, A.Davidson JOTA ORECA/Gibson 4.846s
6 LMP2 P.Hanson, F.Albuquerque, P.Di Resta United Autosports ORECA/Gibson 5.014s
7 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, G.Aubry, W.Stevens Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 5.319s
8 LMP2 R.Lacorte, A.Belicchi, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Racing ORECA/Gibson 10.360s
9 GTE Pro R.Westbrook, M.Martin Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 13.103s
10 GTE Pro G.Bruni, R.Lietz Porsche GT Team Porsche 13.720s
11 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 13.761s
12 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 14.051s
13 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, R.Gunn Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 14.209s
14 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Picariello, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 14.231s
15 GTE Am B.Keating, D.Pereira, J.Bleekemolen Team Project 1 Porsche 14.570s
16 GTE Pro J.Calado, D.Serra AF Corse Dallara/Gibson 15.114s
17 GTE Am E.Perfetti, L.ten Voorde, J.Bergmeister Team Project 1 Porsche 15.200s
18 GTE Am S.Yoluc, C.Eastwood, J.Adam TF Sport Aston Martin 15.344s
19 GTE Pro D.Rigon, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 15.375s
20 GTE Am C.Ried, R.Pera, D.Olsen Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 15.588s
21 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, N.Nielsen AF Corse Ferrari 15.643s
22 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 16.158s
23 GTE Am B.Grimes, K.Cozzolino, C.Noble Red River Sport Ferrari 16.271s
24 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, J.Evans, M.Holzer Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 16.605s

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Series WEC
Drivers Sébastien Buemi , Mike Conway
Author Gary Watkins
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