Kobayashi leads first Bahrain WEC practice for Toyota

The No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRID topped the first practice session of the 8 Hours of Bahrain weekend, with a 1m49.856s from Kamui Kobayashi. The time was set after a lengthy red-flag stoppage and before heavy rain towards the end of the running.

The red-flag period was caused by strong winds trackside, light rain and banners being blown onto the track at Turn 1. It lasted 45 minutes and came after the front-running Hypercars had completed a handful of laps. This led to race control extending the session by 45 minutes, to 2:30pm local time.

When the track went green again, the entire field headed straight back out to make the most of the extended session, but that was interrupted again by heavy rain with around 30 minutes remaining. Initially, when the rain arrived, only a handful of cars braved the conditions, with both Toyotas, the No. 51 Ferrari and No. 5 Penske Porsche among the first cars to head back out on wet tires.


The No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari, meanwhile, stopped out on track with WEC newcomer Franck Dezoteux at the wheel shortly after the rain started coming down.

Up front, with no improvements in the closing minutes due to the weather, the No. 8 Toyota ended up second, with a 1m9.960s set by Sebastien Buemi. The No. 99 Proton Competition Porsche 963 came closest to the Toyotas after Gianmaria Bruni completed a 1m50.290s tour of the circuit shortly after the red flag. The No. 6 and No. 5 Penske 963s completed the top five.

Ferrari AF Corse’s 499Ps ended up eighth and ninth, slower than the No. 38 JOTA and No. 2 Cadillac that finished up sixth and seventh.

In LMP2 it was United Autosports’ No. 22 ORECA that ran fastest after Filipe Albuquerque reeled off a 1m54.100s, half a second quicker than the rest of the field. The No. 10 Vector ORECA ended up second, with the No. 31 WRT ORECA third.

D’Station Racing’s No. 777 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GTE set the pace in GTE Am, after Tomonobu Fujii managed a 1m59.516s. The No. 57 Kessel Ferrari slotted in second, while the GR Racing Porsche took third making it three manufacturers in the top three.

Free Practice 2 is set to get underway at 5:30pm local time.


Story originally appeared on Racer