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Hartley Leads Toyota Lockout in 6H Bahrain Qualifying

Brendon Hartley beats Kamui Kobayashi for Toyota lockout of front row for 6H Bahrain…

Photo: Jose Bispo

Brendon Hartley led a front row lockout for Toyota Gazoo Racing in qualifying for Saturday’s 6 Hours of Bahrain. 

The Kiwi in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid stormed to a best lap of 1:47.049 in the ten-minute session to edge out teammate Kamui Kobayashi by 0.396 seconds.

It marked the car’s first FIA World Endurance Championship pole of the season and a crucial point for Hartley and co-drivers Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi in the Hypercar class drivers’ championship title fight, who entered the weekend with a nine-point deficit to its sister car.

Andre Negrao qualified the No. 36 Alpine A480 Gibson third overall and in class with a 1:48.003 lap time. 

The Brazilian’s best time, which was not faster than either Toyota, was deleted due to track limits, an issue that struck a number of drivers in both qualifying sessions. 

Top qualifying honors in LMP2 went to Tom Blomqvist in the No. 28 JOTA Oreca 07 Gibson, meanwhile.

Blomqvist reeled off a 1:49.885 lap time to edge out a late challenge from the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca of Filipe Albuquerque, who ended up 0.109 seconds slower in second.

The sister JOTA entry of Antonio Felix Da Costa qualified third, followed by Loic Duval in the Realteam entry and Renger van der Zande’s Inter Europol Competition Oreca, which completed the top-five in class.

Duval’s entry picked up the top pole honors in LMP2 Pro-Am.

Estre Scores Fourth Pole in Five Races in GTE-Pro

Kevin Estre claimed another pole in GTE-Pro, leading a Porsche sweep of the top two positions in class.

The Frenchman reeled off a 1:56.144 lap in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 to outpace the sister No. 91 entry of Gianmaria Bruni by 0.034 seconds.

It marked Estre’s fourth pole of the season out of five events to date this year in the car he’ll share with Neel Jani on Saturday.

Miguel Molina in the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo qualified third, more than 1.1 seconds adrift from the class pole-sitting Porsche, showing an improvement on its pace from Free Practice amid a controversial pre-event Balance of Performance change.

The Spaniard was a further three-tenths up on teammate and championship leader Alessandro Pier Guidi, who brought up the rear in the four-car class.

Rino Mastronardi, meanwhile, claimed GTE-Am class pole honors in the No. 60 Iron Lynx Ferrari.

Mastronardi, a last-minute substitute for Claudio Schiavoni, recorded a best lap of 1:58.687 to edge out the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Paul Dalla Lana by 0.644 seconds.

It marked Iron Lynx’s first class pole in WEC competition and in Mastronardi’s first appearance in Bahrain.

Egidio Perfetti qualified third in class in the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche, followed by the No. 47 Cetilar Racing Ferrari of Roberto Lacorte and Thomas Flor’s No. 54 AF Corse Ferrari, which completed the top-five.

The 6 Hours of Bahrain gets underway Saturday at 11 a.m. local time.

RESULTS: Qualifying

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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