Timo Glock underlined Toyota's potential for success at a circuit where it tested ahead of the 2009 Formula One season by putting his TF109 at the top of the final practice session times - but ended the hour-long outing parked up at trackside after the car quit under him.
With no-one able to improve on his sub-''08 pole 1min 32.605secs in the final few minutes, Glock remained at the head of the timesheets as the field turned its attention to qualifying, but will have the Toyota team scurrying to trace and repair what appeared to be an electrical gremlin. The German's margin over second-placed Felipe Massa - another to visit Bahrain pre-season - was 0.124secs, with regular practice pacesetter Nico Rosberg third fastest, three-tenths shy of another top spot.
Lewis Hamilton returned to the top four position he occupied on the opening day of the grand prix, while Kimi Raikkonen made it two Ferraris in the top five, giving the leading quintet an unfamiliar appearance in a year so far dominated by Brawn, Toyota and Williams. The best Brawn could manage was Jenson Button's 15th - with team-mate Rubens Barrichello another spot further back - but, like Red Bull in eleventh and 18th, the double grand prix winners did not appear to be too concerned about chasing times.
Replacing them in the top, therefore, were Nelson Piquet Jr - who needs a strong result this weekend to boost his record before the long European campaign - Robert Kubica, Kazuki Nakajima, Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld.
The session was not without its problems, however, for Heidfeld spent some time in the garage, discussing set-up changes for his BMW Sauber, while Kazuki Nakajima lost a rear wheel cover midway through the hour. Fernando Alonso was another struggling to find the optimum set-up, ending the session 13th overall, while Heikki Kovalainen's session hadn't even started before he was being wheeled back to the McLaren garage with a suspected throttle sensor glitch. The Finn wound up twelfth.
Worst off, however, was Toro Rosso's Sebastien Bourdais, who managed just seven laps in the hour - less than half of the average - before casting a frustrated figure in the pit-lane.