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Toyota Leads Bahrain FP1 After Lengthy Red Flag Delay

Toyota 1-2 in opening practice in Bahrain following lengthy red flag for oil leak from Ford GT…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing swept to a one-two finish in opening practice for the Six Hours of Bahrain on Thursday afternoon after a lengthy red flag delay led to the session being extended by half an hour.

Mike Conway recorded in an early effort of 1:42.313 in the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid to go fastest ahead of the sister No. 8 Toyota.

Just half a second covered the quartet of LMP1s, as Porsche took P3 and P4, with Neel Jani leading from Timo Bernhard in the 919 Hybrids, with their early runs being cut short due to a red flag.

An oil leak for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing’s Harry Tincknell on the No. 67 Ford GT left the GTE-Pro title contender stranded at Turn 6, having also dumped oil over much of the circuit, warranting a lengthy clean-up.

The session did not resume for almost 40 minutes as marshals worked to clear up the oil, prompting race control to extend running by half an hour to make up for most of the lost time.

Despite the added track time, there were few improvements to be found through the remainder of the session, with Conway’s top time and Toyota’s one-two position remaining set to the checkered flag.

Tincknell, meanwhile, also returned to track with around 10 minutes remaining.

A wiring loom issue on the No. 1 Porsche caused Andre Lotterer, Neel Jani and Nick Tandy to lose some of their track time, with Tandy being forced to crawl slowly back to the pits mid-session.

Nelson Piquet Jr. set the pace in LMP2 for Vaillante Rebellion in the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson, turning in a best lap time of 1:48.707.

Piquet finished three-tenths of a second clear of Loic Duval in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca, which completed just 16 laps in total after stopping at Turn 14 with an issue with Leo Roussel at the wheel.

The championship-leading No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Alessandro Pier Guidi led the way in GTE-Pro, while Matteo Cairoli was quickest in GTE-Am in the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

Free Practice 2 is set for 7:30 p.m. local time.

RESULTS: Free Practice 1

Luke Smith is a British motorsport journalist who has served as NBC Sports’ lead Formula 1 writer since 2013, as well as working on its online sports car coverage.

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