Porsche returned to the top of the timing screens at Bahrain this morning as the teams took part in a final hour of Free Practice running before the important qualifying sessions later today in preparation for the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain tomorrow.
Brendon Hartley laid down an early lap of 1m40.917s in the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid and the New Zealanders effort, which was 1.2s faster than Marcel Fassler’s best from last night’s session, was not bettered in the 60-minute session this morning.
Making it another Porsche 1-2, the No.18 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani appeared to continue to work on tyre strategies in the session. Lieb set the second best time of 1m42.070s this morning.
Audi placed third and fourth with Marcel Fassler’s 1m43.066s lap bettering the 1m43.782s of Oliver Jarvis in the No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
Toyota Racing once again registered fifth and sixth positions with the Anthony Davidson driven No.1 Toyota TS 040 just out-pacing the sister No.2 car, in which Alex Wurz set the fastest time as he prepares to bow out from his wonderful 23 year racing career this weekend.
Signatech continued to show sparkling current form as Paul-Loup Chatin claimed the top position in LMP2 with the Alpine A450b-Nissan on a 1m52.019s lap. The French youngster seat the time early in the session and although it came under threat from the KCMG ORECA 05-Nissan, the Shanghai winning car stayed on top of the pile.
The title leading G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan finished the hour long session third with Sam Bird setting a 1m52.564s lap. Bird, who shares the car with Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal, know that a fourth place finish in the race tomorrow will be good enough to seal the LMP2 titles.
The ByKolles CLM 01/P1-AER managed to head the privateer LMP1 times for the first time this weekend as Pierre Kaffer’s 1m48.696s was not beaten by the two Rebellion R-One-AER machines.
The session this morning saw a brief Full Course Yellow period to retrieve the damper hatch bodywork on the Strakka Racing Gibson 015S.
There were several spins this morning including gyrations for Nicolas Prost in the No.12 Rebellion, Gianluca Roda in the Larbre Corvette and Pierre Kaffer in the ByKolles CLM P1/01-AER.
Aston Martin Ahead in Last Free Practice Session of 2015
Aston Martin Racing bounced back in Free Practice 3 by setting the fastest laps in both LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am at the end of the 60-minute session. The three Pro class cars finished 1-2-3 ahead of the two Ferraris and two Porsche 911s.
The no99 Aston Martin Racing Vantage took the top spot with Richie Stanaway setting a 1m59.932, just 0.06s ahead of their teammate Darren Turner in the no97 Vantage. The all Danish no95 Aston Martin was 3rd quickest with Nicky Thiim setting a 2m00.172 and 0.240 behind the lead car.
The two AF Corse Ferrari 458s finished the session in 4th and 5th places, with the no51 finishing ahead of the no71 F458. The two Porsche 911s were 6th and 7th, with the no92 ahead of championship leader Richard Lietz, the no91 911 only able to finish in 10th in the GTE section over 1.5 seconds adrift of the fastest Aston Martin.
In LMGTE Am the no96 Vantage V8 was quickest, with Stuart Hall setting a 2m01.081 lap, 0.29 ahead of the championship leading SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia. After a disappointing day yesterday the title challengers in the no83 AF Corse Ferrari improved in FP3 to finish just 0.119s behind the SMP Ferrari and 0.4 seconds behind the no96 Aston Martin.