16.11.2017    First day of practice in Bahrain: a demanding start to the final race weekend

The final race weekend for the Porsche LMP Team and the 919 Hybrid has kicked off in Bahrain. In the first two free practice sessions for the last round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) came third and fourth respectively. The new world champions, Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ), finished in the same positions but in reverse order. Hartley clocked today’s fastest lap for the 
Porsche 919 Hybrid in 1:40.773 minutes. Two Toyotas topped the time sheets.

Saturday’s six-hour race at the 5.41 kilometre long Grand Prix circuit in the Kingdom’s desert will mark the end of an era. After three outright victories at the Le Mans 24-Hours and winning the world championships for drivers as well as for manufacturers in 2015, 2016 and 2017, Porsche pulls out of the Le Mans Prototype category. For its final race, the exceptionally successful race car has got a special livery: the red stripe carries the names of all the people that have contributed to this chapter of Porsche’s motorsport history. Furthermore, the fin indicates the #919tribute social media campaign. The nicest farewell wishes from Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that use the hashtag will be published on the official Porsche homepage http://porsche.com/919tribute and in the LED strip light at the Porsche Museum in Zuffenhausen.

The first practice session was interrupted for 37 minutes due to circuit repairs and cleaning. Later the 919 Hybrid of Jani/Lotterer/Tandy had to pit for quick repairs after a shortcut in a loom required fixing. The second 90-minute session took place entirely in darkness in pleasant ambient temperatures of around 25 degrees Celsius. Shortly before the end of FP2, Bamber touched a LMP2 car but was able to drive back to the pits.

The qualifying session for the Le Mans prototypes on Friday from 17:30 to 17:50 hrs local time also takes place in the dark. The six-hour race on Saturday will start at 16:00 hrs local time with the sun setting 46 minutes later.

“In the first session we were focusing on the race set-up,” said Timo. “The second practice session we began with a qualifying simulation. Earl went on a long run after that to see for how many laps the tyres will last over the distance. This will be key for a good race result here.”

TV and live streaming:
- The official WEC App can be downloaded free of charge with an extended (not free of charge) version available which includes full live streaming and full timing. The live stream is voiced by the FIA WEC TV team including live interviews from the pits.
- The WEC races can be followed on various international TV channels in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North and South America as well as in the Middle East and Africa. Here is the full TV distribution list: http://press.fiawec.com/assets/fileuploads/5a/0b/5a0b00b97abe3.pdf

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