Porsche Takes Pole Position for Final LMP1 Race at Bahrain
It's the third pole this season for the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Porsche will make its exit from the World Endurance Championship's top LMP1 class after this weekend's 6 Hours of Bahrain. The German team has already clinched the championship as it enters the season finale, and now, the No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani and Nick Tandy has claimed pole position for the last race of the year.
The duo's quickest time of 1m39.084s earned Porsche the P1 spot for the start of Saturday's race over Toyota's Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway. Each of the rivals will fill the front row with the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Hartley/Bernhardt) in third.
Porsche team principal Andreas Seidl said after the qualifying round:
“Congratulations to the number 1 car crew for pole position. Given how free practice went, we didn’t really expect to be on pole. But Neel got the hammer down on his lap. Everything was spot on and then Nick also managed to improve. For four years we have never had to retire a car in qualifying and achieved really good results. That’s quite a strong team effort. Today we are really pleased with pole position but tomorrow we expect a tough race. The Toyotas were really strong on their long runs. We will fight until the 919 Hybrid’s very last lap.”
Toyota's Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson will start in fourth after winning each of the last two races in Fuji and Shanghai.
In LMP2, the Signatech Alpine pair of André Negrão and Gustavo Menezes also managed their third pole of 2017. A 0.3-second margin awarded them the top starting position over the No. 38 car of Jackie Chan DC Racing, both of which were able to place ahead of the championship-leading Bruno Senna and Julien Canal in their No. 31 Valliante Rebellion.
Expect a hard-fought battle in every class as there are still championships to be decided in LMP2 and GTE categories. In addition to Porsche's farewell, Bahrain will host a series of last-minute fights for hardware and glory, none of which will be easy in the crowded multi-class field. For coverage of the 2017 season finale, check back in at The Drive once the six-hour race comes to an end.