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Toyota Quickest on Thursday in Bahrain

Toyota ends Thursday’s practice running for the Six Hours of Bahrain quickest…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing ended the opening day of practice in Bahrain quickest after sweeping to a one-two result on Thursday night, led by Kazuki Nakajima.

After seeing the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid lead the way through FP1, it was the turn of the No. 8 car to move into the ascendancy as Nakajima edged out Jose Maria Lopez early in the session.

Toyota opted to complete its fast runs with its first flying laps of FP2, with Nakajima recording a lap of 1:40.095 to finish over half a second clear of Lopez in the No. 7 Toyota.

Porsche remained in striking distance of Toyota at the front, but once again failed to put up too stern a fight.

Brendon Hartley led its charge in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, finishing less than one-tenth of a second off Lopez in P3, while Nick Tandy took fourth in the No. 1 Porsche, 0.760 seconds off the top time.

LMP2 points leader Vaillante Rebellion sent out a warning shot to title rival Jackie Chan DC Racing ahead of Saturday’s showdown as Bruno Senna finished over half a second clear of the field in No. 31 Oreca 07 Gibson, posting a fastest time of 1:47.664.

The second Vaillante Rebellion entry, the No. 13 Oreca, took P2, while the No. 38 DC Racing crew finished over a second off the time of its title rival in P3, led by Thomas Laurent.

Aston Martin Racing turned up the wick in GTE-Pro by taking a one-two finish ahead of the Vantage GTE’s farewell to the class, led by Darren Turner, whose time of 1:57.014 saw the No. 97 car finish four-tenths of a second clear of Marco Sorensen in the sister No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Clearwater Racing rose to the top of the timesheets in GTE-Am courtesy of an early lap from Matt Griffin, who was the only driver to dip below the two-minute mark with a time of 1:59.773 in the No. 61 Ferrari 488 GTE.

The session went by without any major on-track events, bar a late incident between Earl Bamber in the No. 2 Porsche and Leo Roussel in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca that the stewards are set to investigate.

Running resumes at the Bahrain International Circuit with Free Practice 3 at 11:20 a.m. local time on Friday ahead of qualifying at 5:00 p.m.

RESULTS: Free Practice 2

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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