The qualifying to the last FIA World Endurance Championship in Bahrain was run after the sunset, at six o’clock local time.
It started with the GTE cars, with their twenty-minute session. The laptimes were around two minutes, so there wasn’t much time for a lot of attempts, since two drivers in every car had to drive.
As always there were several corners being observed for Track Limits. Jeroen Bleekemolen, Jonny Adam and Nicklas Nielsen were some who lost one of their laptimes.
Michael Christensen kept himself outside the white line and he was the fastest GTE Pro driver, until he handed the car over to Kevin Estre. AMR #95 with Nicki Thiim was the second-fastest before Marco Sørensen took over.
AMR #98 was the quickest in GTE Am, with the first time being set by Ross Gunn.
Estre couldn’t match Christensen’s time, but Sørensen was, on the other hand, a bit faster than Thiim, and he got closer to the Porsche drivers. However, Sørensen had one more lap to drive, and the Dane then set the fastest qualifying lap and thus snatched the Pole Position.
AMR #95 would start from Pole Position, ahead of Porsche #92 with Estre and Christensen, while AF Corse Ferrari #51 with James Calado and Daniel Serra was third. Three different brands within 0,117 seconds on average between the two drivers. Hence, the DaneTrain extended their lead to sixteen points in the championship.
In GTE Am, AMR #98 with Paul Dalla Lana and Ross Gunn (plus Pedro Lamy) was on Pole Position, followed by TF Sport Aston Martin #90 with Salih Yoluc and Jonny Adam (plus Charlie Eastwood), while Red River Sport Ferrari #62 with Kei Cozzolino and Bonamy Grimes (plus Colin Noble) was the third-fastest.
AF Corse Ferrari #83 with Nicklas Nielsen and Francois Perrodo (plus Emmanuel Collard) only qualified in P7 amongst the GTE Am cars, since Nielsen was one second slower than the fastest time, and Perrodo was two seconds slower than his teammate. But to their luck, the championship-leading #90 didn’t take Pole Position, so the gap remained at eight points.
After that, it was the eight LMP cars’ turn to drive.
United Autosports #22 with Paul Di Resta was the fastest LMP2 car after the first attempt, ahead of Racing Team Nederland #29 and Jackie Chan DC Racing #37.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 was faster than their teammates in #8, before Brendon Hartley and Mike Conway handed over the cars to Kazuki Nakajima and Jose Maria Lopez respectively.
Frits van Eerd in Racing Team Nederland #29 broke the Track Limits, but luckily he had set a pretty good laptime beforehand.
So did Thomas Laurent in Signatech Alpine Elf #36, but he followed up with another good laptime.
Phil Hanson in United Autosports #22 pitted after his fastest lap got deleted, and returned to the track with a set of new tires.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez (plus Kamui Kobayashi) took Pole Position in the LMP1 category, ahead of #8 with Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley (plus Sebastien Buemi).
The Pole Position in the LMP2 class went to United Autosports #22 with Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson (plus Filipe Albuquerque), followed by Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 with Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens (plus Ho-Pin Tung), while Signatech Alpine Elf #36 with Thomas Laurent and Pierre Ragues (plus Andre Negrao) qualified in P3.
JOTA #38 was fourth fastest, while the two cars with Bronze-rated drivers: Racing Team Nederland #29 and Cetilar Racing #47 were in P5 and 6 respectively.
The race will be run tomorrow Saturday at 12.00 CET.
After the qualifying, the stewards went through all the laptimes again, and they could see that one laptime was wrongfully deleted from Porsche #92. For that reason, #92 with Christensen and Estre is now the Polesitter in GTE Pro.