Bahrain WEC: Conway, Lopez secure pole position for #7 Toyota in title decider

Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez outpaced their Toyota team-mates to claim pole position for the 2019/20 World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain this weekend

Bahrain WEC: Conway, Lopez secure pole position for #7 Toyota in title decider

The qualifying drivers of the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID ended up more than seven tenths clear of Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima in the two-car battle for the overall pole for Saturday's eight-hour race.

Conway lapped in 1m40.114s to better Hartley's 1m41.252s by more than a second on the first runs.

Nakajima's 1m41.744s was only four tenths down on the 1m41.381s from Lopez on the second runs.

That meant the pole-winning #7 Toyota ended up with a 1m40.747s average compared with the #8 car's 1m41.498s.

The gap between the two cars is more than the 0.54s worth of performance handicaps carried by the #8 car under the LMP1 success handicap system for this event.

United Autosports grabbed LMP2 pole right at the end of the prototype session.

Paul di Resta was quickest after the first runs in the team's ORECA-Gibson 07 with a 1m46.768s and then Phil Hanson appeared to have done enough for United to claim a fourth pole of the season with 1m47.356s.

But Hanson's time was deleted for a track limits violation, which meant he had to go for another lap.

He then posted a 1m48.112s, which was enough to give United the pole by nearly eight tenths over the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA qualified by Will Stevens and Gabriel Aubry.

Stevens had been third after the first runs with a 1m47.537s before silver-rated driver Aubry's best of 1m48.939s moved them up a position.

The Signatech Alpine ORECA of Pierre Ragues and Thomas Laurent took third in class with an average of 1m48.470s.

Jota drivers Antonio Felix da Costa and Roberto Gonzalez took fourth ahead of the Racing Team Nederland ORECA in which Nyck de Vries had been second after the first runs.

GTE Pro points leaders Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen had initially bagged a last-gasp class pole for Aston Martin ahead of Porsche, until Michael Christensen had a lap reinstated which saw the Porsche crew reclaim pole position.

Christensen lost his 1m56.236s lap due to exceeding track limits, but after qualifying the lap was reinstated to duly hand the #92 Porsche crew of Christensen and Kevin Estre pole, with an average lap of 1m56.505s to edge out the Aston Martin by 0.016s.

It also means the bonus point switches from the Aston Martin pair to the Porsche duo. James Calado and Daniel Serra took third place for Ferrari.

Calado was fourth after the first runs, the best of the AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTE Evos, behind Porsche driver Gianmaria Bruni, but Serra went a second faster than Richard Lietz to move up a position.

Calado and Serra ended up with a 1m56.706s average, which compared with Bruni and Lietz's 1m57.124s.

The second Ferrari shared by Miguel Molina and Davide Rigon ended up fifth ahead of the Aston driven by Maxime Martin and Richard Westbrook.

GTE Am honours went to the factory-run Aston qualified by Ross Gunn and Paul Dalla Lana with a 1m58.356s average.

Gunn topped the class leaderboard after the first runs, while Dalla Lana cemented the top spot, with second going to the TF Sport Aston driven by Jonny Adam and Salih Yoluc, while Kei Cozzolino and Bon Grimes were third in the AF-run Red River Ferrari.

Bahrain WEC - LMP qualifying results

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m40.747s
2 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, B.Hartley Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 0.751s
3 LMP2 P.Hanson, F.Albuquerque, P.Di Resta United Autosports ORECA/Gibson 6.313s
4 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, G.Aubry, W.Stevens Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 7.491s
5 LMP2 T.Laurent, A.Negrao, P.Ragues Signatech Alpine Elf Alpine/Gibson 7.723s
6 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, A.F.da Costa, A.Davidson JOTA ORECA/Gibson 8.154s
7 LMP2 F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, N.de Vries Racing Team Nederland ORECA/Gibson 9.592s
8 LMP2 R.Lacorte, A.Belicchi, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Racing ORECA/Gibson 10.332s

Bahrain WEC - GT qualifying results

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 1m56.505s
2 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 0.016s
3 GTE Pro J.Calado, D.Serra AF Corse Dallara/Gibson 0.201s
4 GTE Pro G.Bruni, R.Lietz Porsche GT Team Porsche 0.619s
5 GTE Pro D.Rigon, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 0.712s
6 GTE Pro R.Westbrook, M.Martin Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 0.871s
7 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, R.Gunn Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1.851s
8 GTE Am S.Yoluc, C.Eastwood, J.Adam TF Sport Aston Martin 2.294s
9 GTE Am B.Grimes, K.Cozzolino, C.Noble Red River Sport Ferrari 2.363s
10 GTE Am E.Perfetti, L.ten Voorde, J.Bergmeister Team Project 1 Porsche 2.391s
11 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 2.455s
12 GTE Am B.Keating, D.Pereira, J.Bleekemolen Team Project 1 Porsche 2.534s
13 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, N.Nielsen AF Corse Ferrari 2.844s
14 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, J.Evans, M.Holzer Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 2.919s
15 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Picariello, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 3.048s
16 GTE Am C.Ried, R.Pera, D.Olsen Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 3.160s

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Series WEC
Drivers Mike Conway , Jose Maria Lopez
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Gary Watkins
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