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Buemi Quickest on Thursday in Bahrain

Sebastien Buemi leads Toyota Gazoo Racing sweep in opening practice in Bahrain…

Photo: Jose Bispo/JB Photo

Sebastien Buemi led a Toyota Gazoo Racing 1-2 in the opening Free Practice of the weekend for Saturday’s 6 Hours of Bahrain.

Buemi reeled off a best lap of 1:50.571 in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid to edge out the sister Hypercar championship-leading No. 7 Toyota of Jose Maria Lopez by 0.401 seconds.

The No. 36 Alpine A480 Gibson of Nico Lapierre was fourth overall on the time sheets, behind the LMP2 pace-setting No. 38 JOTA Oreca 07 Gibson of Antonio Felix Da Costa.

The Portuguese ace recorded a best lap of 1:51.083, which was 0.015 seconds faster than the grandfathered LMP1 car.

Da Costa edged out the No. 70 Realteam Racing Oreca of Loic Duval by 0.129 seconds, with the sister, points-leading No. 28 JOTA entry of Sean Gelael ending up third in class.

The No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of Richard Lietz paced GTE-Pro, in an expected sweep for the factory Manthey-run entries.

Lietz’s 1:57.983 lap time was nearly one-second clear of the sister No. 92 Porsche of Kevin Estre, with the best Ferrari 488 GTE Evo some 2.3 seconds slower.

It came after a pre-event Balance of Performance adjustment to all Ferraris competing here this weekend. 

GTE-Am was paced by the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche of Matteo Cairoli, who recorded a 1:58.177 lap time. 

Porsches and Aston Martin Vantage GTEs occupied the top five positions in GTE-Am, with the quickest Ferrari in the class being the No. 83 AF Corse example in sixth with Nicklas Nielsen at the wheel.

There were no major incidents during the 90-minute session, which featured a late-session Full Course Yellow.

Free Practice 2 gets underway Friday at 8 a.m. local time.

RESULTS: Free Practice 1

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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