18 novembre 2016
Sakhir, 18 November 2016 – Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Bahrain was very tight on Friday afternoon at Sakhir. The Ferrari 488 GTEs of AF Corse no. 51 and no. 71 will set off on Saturday at 4 pm local time (2 pm CET) from third and fifth position. In the GTE-Am class the 458 Italia no. 83 of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas just missed out on pole and will start second. The crew’s main aim will be to complete more than 70% of the race distance. If they achieve that the trio will have clinched the title.
GTE-Pro. In the GTE-Pro class Gianmaria Bruni started the session in the 488 no. 51 while Davide Rigon was in the 71 car. On the first lap “Gimmi” stopped the clock at 1.57:466 and then returned to the pits to hand the car to James Calado. The British driver also completed just one flying lap setting a time of 1.57:294 to make an average time of 1.57:380, enough for third position. Rigon in no. 71 was held up by the Porsche no. 78 of Joel Camathias and could only manage 1.57:969 on his first attempt, which he improved to 1.57:841 next time round. At that point Sam Bird took over, with a lap of 1.58:933 and then 1.58:533. The final average time was 1.58:201, good enough for fifth. The race will be very tough with tyre wear and the ability to manage it is possibly the key to a good result. The picture will be complicated by big temperature changes on the asphalt, blistering at the start and significantly cooler by the end when the track will be lit by floodlights.
GTE-Am. In the GTE-Am class the 458 Italia of AF Corse no. 83 crewed by Emmanuel Collard and François Perrodo, joined in the race by Rui Aguas, was a few tenths of a second off a pole that would have sealed the title a day early. Collard began the session completing his only flying lap in 1.59:589 before handing over to François Perrodo. The Frenchman's first lap time was only 2.01:448, but in the second he clocked up a superb 2.00:865 that reduced the average to 2.00:227, which at that point was worth pole and the title. However, no one in the AF Corse pits was counting their chickens and indeed shortly after the Aston Martin no. 98 just shaded pole position to stay in the race for the title. The overall pole position went to the Audi of Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis.