The championship-leading No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas, and Marc Lieb set the fastest time in the first Free Practice session for the Six Hours of Bahrain on Thursday.
Jani’s early benchmark time of 1:42.107 was not beaten in the remainder of the session, putting the defending Bahrain winners 0.343 seconds quicker than Loic Duval in the No. 8 Audi R18.
Jani had to pit for minor repairs to his door lock but continued afterwards with no further problems.
The Frenchman was in turn a little over half a second faster than compatriot Benoit Treluyer in the second Audi, with the No. 6 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi fastest of the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids in fourth.
The second Porsche of Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber, and Timo Bernhard was almost a second behind its sister car in fifth.
Newly-crowned champions Signatech Alpine led the way in LMP2, with Nicolas Lapierre 0.189 seconds ahead of Roberto Merhi in the No. 45 Manor Oreca 05 Nissan.
GTE-Pro was dominated by Aston Martin, with Darren Turner and Nicki Thiim setting the first and second quickest times in the early stages. The No. 77 Porsche of Richard Lietz took third in an encouraging start to the weekend for the Dempsey-Proton squad.
Emmanuel Collard in the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 finished the session just 0.002 seconds faster than the No. 98 Aston Martin in the Am class. Paul Dalla Lana had a spin into the turn one gravel, but re-joined with no damage after the session’s only full course yellow.
Free Practice 2 is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. local time.
RESULTS: Free Practice 1