Audi clinches pole in WEC farewell

Audi has taken pole in its farewell WEC race in Bahrain

Audi has taken pole in its farewell WEC race in Bahrain

Audi will start its last race in the FIA World Endurance Championship from pole position after topping qualifying at the Bahrain finale.

Oliver Jarvis set the foundation for the Audi success with a lap of 1:39.58s, but the pole was put beyond doubt when his teammate Lucas Di Grassi cracked a 1:38.82 lap for a record-breaking average of 1:39.20.

The pole comes less than a month after Audi announced it would be terminating its WEC and Le Mans 24-hour sportscar programs.

Audi has become a leading figure in sportscar racing during the last 18 years, winning the prestigious Le Mans 24 Hours 13 times, while also taking out the WEC drivers’ and manufacturers’ crowns from 2012-2013.

The news arrives as part of a realignment of Audi’s motorsport programs, with the manufacturer to focus on its participation in the all-electric FIA Formula E single seater series with the Abt-Schaeffler squad.

Audi will share the front row of the grid with the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Australian Mark Webber, who will be having the last start of his motor racing career.

Webber’s team-mates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley set times of 1:39.33 and 1:39.60 respectively for a combined average qualifying time of 1:39.47 – 0.26 slower than the Audi.

The championship-leading Porsche of Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas will start third, 0.198s behind the #1 car and 0.462s behind the pole-winning Audi.

Porsche have already wrapped up their second consecutive manufacturer’s title, but a fifth place or better in tonight’s final round will give Jani, Lieb and Dumas the driver’s title.

Audi’s second car of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer could only manage fourth quickest.

Toyota locked out the third row with its pair of TS050 Hybrids.

In the title hunt, the Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway, who had a time deleted for a track-limit violation, was fifth with an average time of 1:40.22s.

It was more than a second off the pole, but more than 0.5s of a second quicker than the sister car qualified by Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima.

RESULT: Bahrain 6 Hour qualifying

1 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1:39.20s
2 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 0.26
3 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 0.46
4 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 0.49
5 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1.01
6 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1.56
7 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 5.88
8 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 10.48
9 LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, A.Lynn Manor ORECA/Nissan 10.82
10 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, F.Albuquerque, B.Senna RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 11.20
11 LMP2 T.Dillmann, G.van der Garde, S.Gelael Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 11.47
12 LMP2 J.Canal, R.Gonzalez, R.Merhi Manor ORECA/Nissan 11.59
13 LMP2 R.Dalziel, L.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 11.86
14 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, P-L.Chatin Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 11.97
15 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani, M.Aleshin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 12.22
16 LMP2 V.Petrov, K.Ladygin, V.Shaytar SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 12.26
17 GTE Pro J.Adam, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 17.74
18 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 17.87
19 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 18.17
20 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 18.68
21 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 18.99
22 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 19.29
23 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey Racing – Proton Porsche 19.67
24 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 20.67
25 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 21.02
26 GTE Am P.Ragues, R.Taylor, R.Brandela Larbre Competition Chevrolet 21.73
27 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing UK Porsche 22.90
28 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 1:00.36
29 LMP2 R.Rusinov, R.Rast, A.Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan
30 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb, P.Kaffer ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER
31 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.H.Hansson, P.Long Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche

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