The third and final free practice session of the FIA WEC in Bahrain allowed the teams to complete the preparation work for Friday afternoon’s qualifying and, above all, Saturday’s race. The Ferraris improved their performance over the various sessions, confirming how well adapted the 488 GTE’s are to the 5142-metre Sakhir track, even though the cars from Maranello were a bit behind the fastest of their rivals.
FP1. The low-grip tarmac of the track immersed in the desert of Manama complicated the work of the technicians and engineers who thus used the first session in particular for break-ins. Consequently, the times and positions occupied by the 488 GTEs in both the LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am classes do not mean very much. The cars of Calado/Serra and Rigon/Molina finished fifth and sixth after a total of sixty-nine laps. In the LMGTE Am class, the Ferraris ended the session bunched between seventh and ninth position with Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen ahead of Fisichella/Flohr/Castellacci and Grimes/Cozzolino/Noble. The three cars covered a total of 104 laps.
FP2. With the progressive build-up of rubber on the asphalt and the general improvement in grip conditions, times dropped significantly and the team’s work on the setup provided much more useful information for the race than that collected yesterday. Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina completed the session at the top of the standings with the fastest overall time of 1:57.193 on lap nine. The crew of no. 71 completed thirty-four laps, two less than no. 51, which finished the ninety-minute session in third position, 608 thousandths of a second behind its teammates. In the LMGTE Am, AF Corse no. 54 took fourth place with Fisichella/Flohr/Castellacci behind three Porsches and ahead of the Ferrari of Red River Sport with Grimes/Cozzolino/Noble. Last position went to the 488 GTE of AF Corse crewed by Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen. The Piacenza team’s two cars covered 35 laps, while Red River Sport cars lapped 38 times.
FP3. In the last unofficial practice session, the Ferrari crews continued the 488 GTE’s setup work for the race, also trying out various solutions for qualifying. James Calado and Daniel Serra, who completed 26 laps, finished third with 1:57.964, while Rigon/Molina stopped the clock at 1:58.514 on the best of their 27 laps.
In the LMGTE Am class, Perrodo/Collard/Nielsen ended the hour-long session behind Aston Martin no. 98 with a time of 1:58.510 while the Ferrari of Red River Sport finished in ninth and AF Corse no. 54 in tenth. The 488 GTE no. 83 completed 26 laps, while Fisichella/Flohr/Castellacci and Grimes/Cozzolino/Noble covered 27.