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WEC: Toyota enjoys double 1-2 in Bahrain’s opening practice sessions


Toyota Gazoo Racing enjoyed the first two spots in both practice sessions held on the opening day of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship season-concluding event, the 8 Hours of Bahrain

Kamui Kobayashi went fastest in the weather-affected opening practice session of the event, which featured both rain and wind and was eventually red-flagged due to gusty winds in the area of the Bahrain International Circuit.

Kobayashi set a 1m49.856s best, with his team-mate Buemi only 0.1s off the pace-setter as the Japanese and team-mates Mike Conway and José María López are attempting to reduce their 15 points gap to Buemi, Hartley and Hirakawa.

Proton Competition Porsche 963 driven by Gianmaria Bruni grabbed third position ahead of the two Porsche Penske 963 machines as #6 (Laurens Vanthoor) leading the #5 (Michael Christensen) sister 963.

#22 United Autosports entry topped LMP2 as the popular class gets ready for the final race in WEC after 11 seasons.

Vector Sport took the second position as Gabriel Aubry lapped within 0.6s of Albuquerque’s best. 

The #31 WRT rounded out the top three as Ferdinand Habsburg recorded the time in the car he shares with Sean Gelael and Robin Frijns.

LMGTE Am saw the #777 D’Station Aston Martin lead the way as Tomonobu Fuji set the best lap for the British manufacturer in its endeavor to get the first win of 2023 in Bahrain.

Kobayashi also set the pace in the second free practice session of the day, held in dry conditions, recording 1m46.851s. 

That time is 0.4s clear of the sister #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing car with Brendon Hartley claiming his fastest time with a 1m47.312s lap. 

Leading the chase to Toyota was the sole Cadillac Racing V-Series.R as Alex Lynn competed the top three. 

The #22 United Autosports entry again came out on top in the LMP2 class as Filipe Albuquerque topped the timing screens with a 1m52.850s 

The Portuguese ace enjoyed a 0.3s gap over the #63 Prema Oreca-Gibson with Mirko Bortolotti setting the time for the Italian outfit.

#36 Alpine ELF Team entry was third as Charles Milesi peaked on the best tour of 1m53.180. The top three in LMP2 were covered by a mere 0.3s.

Kessel Racing hit the front in LMGTE Am as Daniel Serra went one better than FP1 with a fastest time of 1m58.246s.