Porsche once again set the pace in free practice for the penultimate round of the 2015 FIA WEC at Shanghai courtesy of Mark Webber.
The Australian set the fastest time of the day with a 1m45.111s during FP2 in the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, beating Neel Jani’s best time of 1m45.351s in the sister #18 machine.
The Swiss ace set the time early on in the second 90-minute session, which was held in cool and overcast conditions.
In the earlier session, Audi had enjoyed a 1-2 formation at the head of the timing screens as Andre Lotterer peaked with a 1m45.707s lap. The German’s FP1 time was 0.645s ahead of Lucas di Grassi in the sister #8 R18 e-tron quattro.
The afternoon session saw both Audis lap within a second of Webber’s benchmark, with Oliver Jarvis in the #8 car and Benoit Treluyer in the #7 machine setting the times.
Toyota slipped into its familiar sub-class behind the Porsches and Audis, with the #2 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid fifth and the reigning champion car of Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson in sixth.
KCMG sets the LMP2 pace
The KCMG ORECA 05-Nissan lead the way in the LMP2 class in both of the sessions. Richard Bradley set the quickest time in the morning on a 1m55.069s lap, while his teammate Nick Tandy claimed the best afternoon effort with a 1m54.185s.
It was a good end to the day for the Hong Kong-entered team, which had earlier taken a suspended drive-through race penalty. The sanction has been implemented until the end of the season.
This decision came after stewards received a report from the Technical Delegates after Bradley’s now-infamous race-ending incident with G-Drive Racing’s Gustavo Yacaman in Fuji earlier this month.
Bradley was deemed to have begun braking 40 metres earlier than the previous lap, extending the braking zone from 150 to 190 metres.
The Signatech Alpine claimed second in the quicker second session with WEC rookie Tom Dillmann impressing with a best time of 1m54.285s. Third was Ricardo Gonzalez in the G-Drive racing Ligier-Nissan which he shares with Pipo Derani and Yacaman.
Title leaders Sam Bird, Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov placed only eighth in the second session. The G-Drive trio enjoy a 12-point advantage going in to the penultimate race at Shanghai this weekend.
Ferrari dominates GTE
The LMGTE Pro class witnessed AF Corse dominate, with James Calado easily the fastest driver in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.
The former Force India test driver was almost a second ahead of title rival Toni Vilander with a best effort of 2m03.028s, compared to Vilander’s 2m03.947s.
In LMGTE Am, Viktor Shaitar set the pace with a lap of 2m04.527s in the SMP Racing Ferrari 458 Italia.
Sharing with Andrea Bertolini and Aleksey Basov, Shaitar has laid claim to being one of the most improved drivers in the WEC this season, and his confidence netted a slender 0.067s advantage over the Larbre run Chevrolet Corvette C7, which was fastest in the hands of Paolo Ruberti.
Combined practice times:
|Porsche Team||Porsche 919 Hybrid||1:45.111||1:45.111|
|Porsche Team||Porsche 919 Hybrid||1:45.351||+0.240|
Lucas di Grassi
|Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi R18 e-tron quattro '15||1:45.930||+0.819|
|Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi R18 e-tron quattro '15||1:46.087||+0.976|
|Toyota Racing||Toyota TS040 Hybrid||1:47.373||+2.262|
|Toyota Racing||Toyota TS040 Hybrid||1:47.724||+2.613|
|Rebellion Racing||Rebellion R-One||1:50.790||+5.679|
|Rebellion Racing||Rebellion R-One||1:51.441||+6.330|
|Team ByKolles||CLM P1/01||1:53.951||+8.840|
|Signatech Alpine||Alpine A450b||1:54.285||+9.174|
|G-Drive Racing||Ligier JS P2||1:54.706||+9.595|
|Strakka Racing||Gibson 015S||1:54.713||+9.602|
|Team SARD Morand||Morgan LMP2 Evo '15||1:55.063||+9.952|
|15||David Heinemeier Hansson
|Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ligier JS P2||1:55.162||+10.051|
Johannes van Overbeek
|Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ligier JS P2||1:55.807||+10.696|
|G-Drive Racing||Ligier JS P2||1:55.934||+10.823|
|Pegasus Racing||Morgan LMP2||1:56.647||+11.536|
|AF Corse||Ferrari F458 Italia||2:03.028||+17.917|
|AF Corse||Ferrari F458 Italia||2:03.947||+18.836|
|Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin Vantage V8||2:03.995||+18.884|
|Porsche Team Manthey||Porsche 911 RSR||2:04.019||+18.908|
|Porsche Team Manthey||Porsche 911 RSR||2:04.329||+19.218|
|Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin Vantage V8||2:04.475||+19.364|
|25|| Aleksey Basov
|SMP Racing||Ferrari F458 Italia||2:04.527||+19.416|
|Larbre Compétition||Chevrolet Corvette C7.R||2:04.594||+19.483|
|Dempsey Racing - Proton||Porsche 911 RSR||2:05.112||+20.001|
|28|| Liam Griffin
|Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin Vantage V8||2:05.924||+20.813|
Paul Dalla Lana
|Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin Vantage V8||2:06.294||+21.183|
|AF Corse||Ferrari F458 Italia||2:06.624||+21.513|
|31||Khaled Al Qubaisi
|Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing||Porsche 911 RSR||2:07.807||+22.696|