Bahrain WEC: Buemi leads Toyota 1-2 in first practice

Toyota driver Sebastien Buemi topped the times in opening free practice for this weekend's Bahrain 6 Hours FIA World Endurance Championship round.

The Swiss driver put in a fastest lap of 1m50.571s early in the 90-minutes session aboard the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, four tenths up on the 1m50.972s set by Jose Maria Lopez in the sister #7 car.

Toyota's times with its new-for-2021 Le Mans Hypercar were seven seconds off the pace of its LMP1 TS050 in the first practice session at the Bahrain finale of the 2019/20 last November.

The solo Alpine A480, the only other car competing in the Hypercar in the two Bahrain races this weekend and next weekend that close out the 2021 WEC, was a further tenth back in Nicolas Lapierre's hands on 1m51.098s.

The grandfathered LMP1 car was fourth overall behind the fastest LMP2 entry, the #38 JOTA Oreca-Gibson 07.

Antonio Felix da Costa set a 1m51.083s early in the session to beat Realteam Racing driver Loic Duval to top of the class order.

Duval's 1m51.212s aboard the Swiss entrant's TDS-run Oreca put him three tenths up on the second JOTA entry in which Sean Gelael posted a 1m51.529s.

Racing Team Nederland ended up fourth in P2 with a 1m51.887s from Giedo van der Garde, while United Autosports driver Filipe Albuquerque was just over a tenth back in fifth.

Porsche claimed 1-2 in GTE Pro, a 1m57.983s from Richard Lietz yielding the top spot by eight tenths from Kevin Estre in the sister 911 RSR run by the factory Manthey team.

Estre's 1m58.785s was another eight tenths up on the best of the factory Ferrari 488 GTE Evos in the hands of Alessandro Pier Guidi.

His 2m00.330s was a second and a half quicker than teammate Miguel Molina in the second of the two AF Corse-run cars.

Ferrari's lack of pace follows the release of a statement by the Italian marque in which it claimed that the changes to the GTE Pro Balance of Performance for this weekend were outside of the remit of the automatic system used in the class since 2017.

The Project 1 Porsche team led the way in GTE Am with Matteo Cairoli.

Best GTE Am Ferrari, the #83 AF-run car, was sixth and nearly two seconds off the class pace in the hands of factory driver Nicklas Nielsen.

The 488 GTE has been hit with a similar decrease in engine power in GTE Am as in the Pro class.

Practice resumes on Friday at 8:30am local time in Bahrain.

WEC Bahrain 6 Hours - FP1 results

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 1'50.571
2 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 1'50.972 0.401
3 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.083 0.512
4 36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 1'51.098 0.527
5 70 Switzerland Esteban Garcia
France Loic Duval
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.212 0.641
6 28 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.529 0.958
7 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.887 1.316
8 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.995 1.424
9 31 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.084 1.513
10 20 Denmark Dennis Andersen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Poland Robert Kubica
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.280 1.709
11 1 Germany Sophia Flörsch
Netherlands Beitske Visser
France Gabriel Aubry
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'53.315 2.744
12 44 Slovakia Miro Konopka
United Kingdom Oliver Webb
India Kush Maini
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'53.501 2.930
13 21 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'53.930 3.359
14 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'54.484 3.913
15 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 1'57.983 7.412
16 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Italy Riccardo Pera
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'58.177 7.606
17 92 France Kevin Estre
Switzerland Neel Jani
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 1'58.785 8.214
18 88 United Arab Emirates Khaled Al Qubaisi
Belgium Adrien de Leener
France Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'58.897 8.326
19 77 Germany Christian Ried
Australia Jaxon Evans
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'59.328 8.757
20 33 United States Ben Keating
Luxembourg Dylan Pereira
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1'59.476 8.905
21 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Andrew Watson
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1'59.722 9.151
22 83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'00.070 9.499
23 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'00.084 9.513
24 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'00.110 9.539
25 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'00.330 9.759
26 60 Italy Rino Mastronardi
Italy Andrea Piccini
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'00.623 10.052
27 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Brazil Augusto Farfus
Brazil Marcos Gomes
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'01.021 10.450
28 57 Japan Takeshi Kimura
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
Australia Scott Andrews
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'01.292 10.721
29 52 Brazil Daniel Serra
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'01.899 11.328
30 85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Belgium Sarah Bovy
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'01.964 11.393
31 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'02.635 12.064
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