Brendon Hartley: We expected to be fifth in Bahrain qualifying
Brendon Hartley qualified third for the Bapco 8 Hours of Bahrain, but thought he was going to end up in fifth place due to the Success Handicap placed on the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima shared the car during the qualifying session and became the fastest Toyota, outqualifying both the #7 sister car and the #5 Team LNT Ginetta. When asked about his session by Motorsport Week, the New Zealander explained how he was happy with the result given the circumstances.
"Actually, we had a high feeling in our car that we were going to be fifth," Hartley said. Obviously, we have the biggest Success Handicap possible, even compared to the sister car. So I think we really put everything together and we decided not to put two sets of tyres, so we just used one set of tyres, because there’s big disadvantage by using up a few laps going into the race. So I think we’re quite happy with third place."
Hartley also expressed optimism for tomorrow's race, suggesting Toyota could put up more of a fight than during last month's 4 Hours of Shanghai.
"Obviously, the Success Handicap is quite extreme," he continued. "Probably if we had the same success handicap numbers that were proposed at the the start of the year, we’d be seeing much closer racing right now, but with that being said: China was impossible for us to win the race. Rebellion kept it together, they did a clean job.
But this race could be different. Definitely we don’t have the performance on one lap compared to our non-hybrid rivals who don’t have a big Success Handicap, but over the length of the race, with the reliability of our car, hopefully less tyre degradation with four wheel drive, maybe it can be closer fight and we’re going to be doing our best to try and win the race."