The final weekend of the FIA World Endurance Championship started with two practice sessions at Bahrain International Circuit. The first session was run in the afternoon before sunset whereas the second session was run in the evening under floodlights.
The No. 17 Porsche Team entry of drivers' championship leaders Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber set the quickest time of the first practice session, 1:42.800. Their only rival in the drivers' championship, the No. 7 Audi Sport Team Joest entry of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, and Benoît Tréluyer, was second, only 0.017 seconds behind the No. 17 Porsche.
In the second practice, the No. 7 Audi set the fastest time of Friday, 1:42.133; 0.667 seconds faster than the No. 17 Porsche's fastest lap of the first practice. The No. 8 Audi was second-quickest in the second practice, 1.158 seconds from the No. 7 sister Audi, though slower than the No. 17 Porsche's fastest lap of the first practice.
The No. 17 Porsche was third in the second practice, 1.227 seconds from leader. The No. 18 Porsche was fourth in both sessions, setting its fastest lap of 1:43.529 in the second practice, losing 1.396 seconds to the No. 7 Audi.
The Toyota Racing cars were off the pace of their factory LMP1 rivals, as usual this season. They finished fifth and sixth in both sessions, with the fastest lap by the No. 2 Toyota in the second practice being 1.798 seconds from leader.
The No. 36 Signatech Alpine entry set the quickest LMP2 lap of the first practice session, 1:52.054. The quickest time of the second practice was over two seconds faster; 1:50.029 by the No. 28 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan. The No. 47 KCMG Oreca-Nissan with slim title hopes was second-quickest, 0.745 seconds from class leader. The quickest car of the first session, the No. 36 Signatech Alpine entry was third, improving its lap time to 1:51:354. The championship-leading No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier was fourth in the second practice, 1.517 seconds from the sister G-Drive entry.
The two AF Corse Ferraris were the top two in GTE-Pro in both practice sessions, with both still in contention for teams' and drivers' titles. The No. 51 Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander were quickest in both sessions ahead of the No. 71 Ferrari of James Calado and Davide Rigon. Both cars set their quickest laps in the second practice. The No. 51 topped the GTE-Pro timesheet with 1:59.402 while the No. 71 was only 0.084 seconds slower.
The No. 92 Porsche Team Manthey entry was third in both sessions, losing 0.216 seconds to the No. 51 Ferrari in the second practice. The GTE-Pro teams' championship-leading No. 91 Porsche Team Manthey entry, with the GT drivers' championship leader Richard Lietz, was only fifth and sixth in today's practice sessions, with its quickest lap from the second session being 1.617 seconds slower than class leader.
The No. 98 Aston Martin Racing entry was quickest in GTE-Am in the first practice with a time of 2:01.280. The GTE-Am championship-leading No. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari improved from that to top the GTE-Am timesheet in the second practice with a lap of 2:00.866. Also the No. 77 Dempsey - Proton Racing Porsche (0.073 from class leader) and the No. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette (0.503 from class leader) went below the quickest time of the first session.
Six Hours of Bahrain weekend continues on Friday with the third practice session at 11:00am - 12:00 pm (3:00 - 4:00 am ET) and qualifying at 5:00 - 5:50 pm (9:00 - 9:50 am ET).