Timo Bernhard piloted Porsche to the top of the combined timesheet yesterday in the official WEC Rookie Test held at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) in Sakhir.
The German ace, who this past season claimed an impressive double with manufacturers Porsche and fellow-drivers Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, steered his no. 1 919 Hybrid to a fastest lap of one minute 40.244 seconds.
Bernhard registered his best time during the test’s morning session, when he completed nine laps around BIC’s 5.412-kilometre track.
Sebastien Buemi of Toyota Gazoo Racing followed in second place on the day’s overall classification. Also clocking his best in the morning, the Swiss had a fastest lap 1.939 seconds off the leader’s pace.
Buemi completed 10 laps of testing in his no. 8 TS050 Hybrid.
Pietro Fittipaldi, behind the wheel of Porsche’s other car, was classified third overall with a best lap of 1:42.275, which he clocked in the afternoon. Fittipaldi, who is the grandson of two-time Formula 1 champion Emerson Fittipaldi, earned the WEC test after claiming this season’s drivers’ title in the World Series Formula V8 3.5.
The Portuguese youngster completed 32 laps in his drive.
Rounding out the times amongst the LMP1 class participants were Mike Conway, Fernando Alonso and Thomas Laurent, all of whom were driving Toyotas. Conway finished 2.137s behind Bernhard and Alonso was 2.769s back, while Laurent was classified 3.029s off the leading pace.
Formula 1 superstar Alonso was a guest tester of Toyota. He was the busiest man of the day, logging in 113 laps of work in his Le Mans Prototype.
In the LMP2 class, Konstantin Tereshchenko of TDS Racing had the best time. He clocked a mark of 1:48.444 in the afternoon session behind the wheel of an Oreca 07-Gibon.
The LMGTE Pro category was led by Kevin Estre of Porsche GT Team. Driving a 911 RSR, Estre had a fastest lap of 1:57.663 in the afternoon session. Olivier Beretta of Clearwater Racing followed suit in the LMGTE Am class. He had a best time of 2:01.805 in his Ferrari 488 GTE.
Meanwhile, six new champions were crowned on Saturday night as the chequered flag came down on the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain to end the 2017 season of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Three of the WEC’s nine titles were already decided heading into this year’s Grand Finale at BIC.
Porsche LMP Team won the FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship while their trio of Bernhard, Bamber and Hartley claimed the FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship. Ferrari had also already taken the GT FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship.
Amongst the crowns won on Saturday were the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Teams claimed by Vaillante Rebellion; the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Drivers won by the duo of Bruno Senna and Julien Canal; the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers’ Championship won by Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado; the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Pro Teams won by AF Corse; the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am Teams clinched by Aston Martin Racing; and the FIA Endurance Trophy for GT Am Drivers Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy.