Audi has scored an emotional pole in its final race in FIA World Endurance Championship competition, with the German manufacturer set to start from the top in Saturday’s season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain.
Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis combined for a best two-lap average of 1:39.207 in their No. 8 Audi R18 edging out the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, qualified by Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley by 0.264 seconds.
Late improvements by Bernhard and the championship-leading No. 2 Porsche of Marc Lieb denied an all-Audi front row, with the No. 7 car of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler qualifying fourth overall.
It marked the No. 8 Audi’s third pole of the season, as Di Grassi, Jarvis and co-driver Loic Duval look end the manufacturer’s 18-year prototype legacy with a win tomorrow.
Toyota Gazoo Racing struggled in qualifying, with the pair of Toyota TS050 Hybrids fifth and sixth, and more than one-second off the pace from the pole-sitting Audi.
The No. 13 Rebellion Racing R-One AER was quickest of the LMP1 Privateer cars, after troubles for the No. 4 ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER.
G-Drive Racing scored its sixth pole of the season in LMP2, with Roman Rusinov and the returning Rene Rast combining for a 1:49.672 average in their No. 26 Oreca 05 Nissan.
Their combined time edged out the championship-elect No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan of Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi by just 0.018 seconds.
The No. 44 Manor Oreca 05 Nissan of Matt Rao and Alex Lynn, who scored pole in Shanghai, qualified third in class, following a series of lap deletions for a number of other LMP2 contenders for track limits.
The FIA WEC Six Hours of Bahrain gets underway Saturday at 4 p.m. local time.