Audi secures final pole in Bahrain

No. 8 Audi on pole
No. 8 Audi on pole

Lucas di Grassi (BR) and Oliver Jarvis (GB) achieved two personal bests and secured the best possible starting base for Audi at the last sports car event in the company's history.

Audi came out of an emotional roller coaster stronger in Bahrain on Friday. The number 8 Audi R18 secured the top spot on the grid in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) finale, in spite of an engine change required for safety reasons directly before qualifying. Now having achieved six best times in nine qualifying sessions, the premium brand clearly dominated these statistics in the 2016 season.

Lucas di Grassi, having set a lap time of 1m 38.828s, celebrated a new record – being clocked 0.842 seconds faster than Timo Bernhard last year and 0.511 faster than his quickest rival this weekend – who, again, was Timo Bernhard.

"I'm absolutely happy. This track record in qualifying is amazing," said di Grassi. "My teammate Oliver Jarvis delivered the basis for our result by the good time he set." For the Briton, this means a premiere. For the first time in his sports car career, Jarvis clinched a pole position with Audi.

"The Audi R18 was fantastic to drive. I was able to give my all – on just a single set of tires," said Jarvis.

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich was happy about the performance of his squad: "Our team did a superb job, perfectly managed the engine change and prepared a car for our drivers in which they were more than two tenths faster than our best rival. Thank you for this team performance."

While the fastest Audi achieved an advantage of 0.264 seconds on the averaged two best laps, the sister car, number 7, set the fourth-best time. André Lotterer (D) and Marcel Fassler (CH) were short 0.491 seconds of their teammates' result.

"I'm not completely happy today," said the German. "On both outings, I made a braking mistake on entering turn one. But I'm confident for Saturday because we have a good car over the distance."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Marcel Fassler, who together with Lotterer had clinched three pole positions this year, was unhappy with his performance as well: "My car felt good, but I simply didn't manage a perfect lap."

For Audi, this marked the 81st pole position in total since the beginning of the LMP program in 1999, and the 16th best time in qualifying on 41 FIA WEC weekends since 2012.

"Congratulations to the squad on this tremendous final performance," said Stefan Dreyer, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. "We've laid a solid foundation for showing everything once again in our final LMP race.

‘Thanks a lot' to the squad of number 8 for the top performance in changing the engine during the time between free practice and qualifying. We're confident after the practice and qualifying sessions. We have an endurance race before us in which we intend to say goodbye to the WEC with maximum success."

The 6 Hours of Bahrain will start on Saturday at 16:00 local time (14:00 CET). Eurosport is going to offer free video live streaming of the entire race on its German website and will show the final stage (17:00–20:00 CET) live on Eurosport 1. Audi is keeping its fans up to speed on Facebook (AudiSport) and Twitter (@audisport).

Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley stole second in closing stages

Title leaders Marc Lieb and Neel Jani claimed third position as they enter race needing just a fifth place finish.

Toyota will start fifth and sixth as the No.6 TS 050 HYBRID heads the No.5 car

The No. 67 Ford will start 4th
The No. 67 Ford will start 4th

Rebellion Racing claimed another LMP1 Privateer pole position as Kraihamer and Imperatori combined to head ByKolles entry which suffered technical problems

The No.97 Aston Martin driven by Darren Turner and late replacement Jonny Adam took their first pole of season to head an Aston Martin 1-2 in LMGTE Pro

Title leaders Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim start second as they look to score necessary points to take the LMGTE Pro crown.

The GT Manufacturers' title fight comes down to 9 points as Aston Martin reduced the gap to Ferrari with one pole point.

All times from qualifying can be found HERE. Tomorrow's 9th and final round of the 2016 FIA WEC season will be the Bapco 6 Hours of Bahrain, starting at 16h00 local time and running into the night.

Qualifying Results

Pos No. Cat Driver Car Average Gap
1 8 LMP1 Lucas DI GRASSI, Loic DUVAL, Oliver JARVIS Audi R18 1'39.207 +0.000s
2 1 LMP1 Timo BERNHARD, Mark WEBBER, Brendon HARTLEY Porsche 919 Hybrid 1'39.471 +0.264
3 2 LMP1 Romain DUMAS, Neel JANI, Marc LIEB Porsche 919 Hybrid 1'39.669 +0.462
4 7 LMP1 Marcel FASSLER, Andre LOTTERER, Benoît TRELUYER Audi R18 1'39.698 +0.491
5 6 LMP1 Stephane SARRAZIN, Mike CONWAY, Kamui KOBAYASHI Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 1'40.222 +1.015
6 5 LMP1 Anthony DAVIDSON, Sebastien BUEMI, Kazuki NAKAJIMA Toyota TS050 – Hybrid 1'40.776 +1.569
7 13 LMP1 Matheo TUSCHER, Dominik KRAIHAMER, Alexandre IMPERATORI Rebellion R-One – AER 1'45.091 +5.884
8 36 LMP2 Gustavo MENEZES, Nicolas LAPIERRE, Stephane RICHELMI Alpine A460 – Nissan 1'49.690 +10.483
9 44 LMP2 Matthew RAO, Richard BRADLEY, Alex LYNN Oreca 05 – Nissan 1'50.034 +10.827
10 43 LMP2 Ricardo GONZALEZ, Filipe ALBUQUERQUE, Bruno SENNA LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan 1'50.410 +11.203
11 30 LMP2 Tom DILLMANN, Giedo VAN DER GARDE, Sean GELAEL LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan 1'50.685 +11.478
12 45 LMP2 Julien CANAL, Roberto GONZALEZ, Roberto MERHI Oreca 05 – Nissan 1'50.800 +11.593
13 31 LMP2 Ryan DALZIEL, Luis Felipe DERANI, Christopher CUMMING LIGIER JS P2 – Nissan 1'51.071 +11.864
14 35 LMP2 David CHENG, Ho-Pin TUNG, Paul Loup CHATIN Alpine A460 – Nissan 1'51.185 +11.978
15 27 LMP2 Nicolas MINASSIAN, Maurizio MEDIANI, Mikhail ALESHIN BR01 – Nissan 1'51.427 +12.220
16 37 LMP2 Vitaly PETROV, Kirill LADYGIN, Victor SHAITAR BR01 – Nissan 1'51.475 +12.268
Pos No. Cat Driver Car Average Gap
1 97 LMGTE Pro Jonathan ADAM, Darren TURNER, Aston Martin Vantage V8 1'56.953 +0.000s
2 95 LMGTE Pro Nicki THIIM, Marco SORENSEN, Aston Martin Vantage V8 1'57.081 +0.128
3 51 LMGTE Pro Gianmaria BRUNI, James CALADO, Ferrari 488 GTE 1'57.380 +0.427
4 67 LMGTE Pro Andy PRIAULX, Harry TINCKNELL, Ford GT 1'57.891 +0.938
5 71 LMGTE Pro Davide RIGON, Sam BIRD, Ferrari 488 GTE 1'58.201 +1.248
6 66 LMGTE Pro Stefan MUCKE, Olivier PLA, Ford GT 1'58.504 +1.551
7 77 LMGTE Pro Richard LIETZ, Michael CHRISTENSEN, Porsche 911 RSR (2016) 1'58.882 +1.929
8 98 LMGTE Am Paul DALLA LANA, Pedro LAMY, Mathias LAUDA Aston Martin Vantage V8 1'59.879 +2.926
9 83 LMGTE Am Francois PERRODO, Emmanuel COLLARD, Rui AGUAS Ferrari F458 Italia 2'00.227 +3.274
10 50 LMGTE Am Pierre RAGUES, Ricky TAYLOR, Romain BRANDELA Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 2'00.938 +3.985
11 86 LMGTE Am Michael WAINWRIGHT, Adam CARROLL, Benjamin BARKER Porsche 911 RSR 2'02.112 +5.159
12 78 LMGTE Am Christian RIED, Wolf HENZLER, Joel CAMATHIAS Porsche 911 RSR 2'39.576 +42.623

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