FIA WEC: Audi quickest on Thursday in Bahrain

Audi's Marcel Fassler led the time charts in Free Practice 2 for the Six Hours of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit.

Audi has shown the early pace in Bahrain, with the pair of diesel-powered prototypes topping the time charts in Thursday’s Free Practice for this weekend’s FIA WEC season finale.

Marcel Fassler led an Audi 1-2 in Free Practice 2, with the Swiss driver reeling off a 1:42.133 lap time, a time that was more than 1.2 seconds quicker than the competition.

The night-time session seemed to suit the Audis, which improved some seven-tenths on its best time from FP1, a session that was led by Porsche’s Timo Bernhard.

The pair of Porsche 919 Hybrids ended the day an uncharacteristic third and fourth quickest, with Bernhard’s 1:42.800 from the afternoon holding as the quickest for the champions-elect.

G-Drive Racing was quickest in LMP2, thanks to a flying lap by Pipo Derani, who took the No. 28 Ligier JS P2 Nissan to a 1:50.029 in FP2.

Derani’s time was more than six-tenths quicker than the No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan, which was second, with the class championship-leading No. 26 G-Drive entry in fourth.

AF Corse continued its dominance in GTE-Pro, with Toni Vilander improving on his pace-setting time from FP1 by more than a half-second.

Vilander’s No. 51 Ferrari F458 Italia was one of only three cars to break the 2:00 barrier, having reeled off a 1:59.402 in his Prancing Horse, which bids farewell at the end of the weekend.

GTE-Am, meanwhile, was led by the No. 72 SMP Racing Ferrari of Andrea Bertolini, who edged out the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR by less than one-tenth.

Free Practice 3 gets underway Friday at 11 a.m. local time, with qualifying set for the evening.