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Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche takes 1-2 in free practice

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Le Mans 24 Hours: Porsche takes 1-2 in free practice
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Jun 15, 2016, 6:21 PM

Last year's Le Mans 24 Hours polesitter Neel Jani set the quickest time in free practice for this year's running of the French classic, the Swiss driver heading up a Porsche 1-2 as LMP1 rivals Audi and Toyota hit trouble.

Jani set a 3m22.011s lap in the final 10 minutes of the session in the #2 919 Hybrid to outpace the sister #1 car, which in the hands of Brendon Hartley set a time 0.539s away from Jani’s best.

Each of the three LMP1 manufacturer teams led at various stages during a four-hour session that saw both dry and wet running thanks to scattered showers in the second and third hours.

Toyota’s Anthony Davidson set the initial pace, but soon Mark Webber was at the top of the screens on a 3m35.272s in the #1 Porsche.

Some time later, Loic Duval registered a 3m24.852s lap in the #8 Audi R18 to lead the way at the end of the firs hour, but then after the rain cleared a flurry of fastest laps eventually saw the Porsche 1-2 manifest itself.

Lucas di Grassi briefly outpaced the Porsches with a 3m22.985s lap in the #8 Audi, but the Brazilian then suffered a lurid moment at the first Mulsanne chicane and rattled the kerbs.

This caused the Audi to limp back to the pits, with di Grassi reporting some smoke and vibrations from the front of the R18.

The #8 did not emerge from the pits as repairs were carried out in readiness for qualifying.

The #7 Audi of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer had a troublesome session, which included an early spin for Treluyer. The three-time winners ended the session in sixth position after struggling with a loose connector on a fuel flow meter.

Toyota eventually placed fourth and fifth, with the #6 car just under of a second ahead of the sister TS 050 Hybrid.

But late drama struck Stephane Sarrazin, as he toured back to the pits with significant front-end damage after an incident at Indianapolis that brought out the third and final red flag - which ended the session prematurely.

Two other red flags interrupted proceedings, the first occurring just before half-distance as Pierre Kaffer’s LMP1 privateer CLM P1/01-AER caught fire between the Mulsanne chicanes before being brought back to the paddock on a flatbed truck.

The second was caused by Bruno Senna in the #43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier, the Brazilian ending up getting stuck in the gravel at Indianapolis.

KCMG tops LMP2

In the LMP2 class, Tristan Gommendy’s time of 3m40.781s set early in the session put the #33 Eurasia Oreca atop the screens for the majority of the session.

This was soon usurped by one of the class favourites, the #36 Signatech Alpine A410-Nissan driven by reigning class champion Nicolas Lapierre, who peaked with a 3m39.721s.

But in the dying stages, it was the #47 KCMG car of Richard Bradley that stole the top spot on a 3m39.133s to go six tenths clear of his former teammate.

Paul-Loup Chatin took third for the new Panis-Barthez Competition outfit, while Gommendy’s early time stayed good enough for fourth. Thiriet by TDS Racing made it four Oreca cars in the top five.

Ferrari sweeps GTE

Meanwhile, the GTE Pro class saw Ferrari emerge as top dogs after Gianmaria Bruni set a 3m53.833s in the #51 AF Corse 488.

The double Le Mans class winner outpaced the similar Michelotto-designed car entered by Risi Competizione, Bruni’s former WEC partner Toni Vilander setting the time of 3m54.180s.

Third in the LMGTE Pro class was the best Ford GT - the #68 machine driven by Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais, which was just over a second adrift of the leading Ferrari.

There was trouble however for the #66 Ford in the closing stages as Billy Johnson spun and smote the wall at Mulsanne Corner before crawling back to the pits.

In the GTE Am class, the Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Rob Bell created a major surprise as it headed the class on a 3m57.543s, some 1.6 seconds ahead of the opposition.

Practice results:

Pos#DriversCarClassLapsTimeGap
1 2  Romain Dumas 
 Neel Jani 
 Marc Lieb 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 44 3'22.011  
2 1  Mark Webber 
 Timo Bernhard 
 Brendon Hartley 
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 46 3'22.550 0.539
3 8  Lucas di Grassi 
 Loic Duval 
 Oliver Jarvis 
Audi R18 LMP1 37 3'22.985 0.974
4 6  Stéphane Sarrazin 
 Kamui Kobayashi 
 Mike Conway 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 42 3'23.158 1.147
5 5  Anthony Davidson 
 Kazuki Nakajima 
 Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 40 3'24.031 2.020
6 7  Andre Lotterer 
 Marcel Fassler 
 Benoit Tréluyer 
Audi R18 LMP1 38 3'25.526 3.515
7 12  Nick Heidfeld 
 Nelson Piquet Jr. 
 Nicolas Prost 
Rebellion R-One LMP1 43 3'28.036 6.025
8 13  Alexandre Imperatori 
 Dominik Kraihamer 
 Matheo Tuscher 
Rebellion R-One LMP1 42 3'28.291 6.280
9 4  Simon Trummer 
 Oliver Webb 
 Pierre Kaffer 
CLM P1/01 LMP1 15 3'33.232 11.221
10 47  Matthew Howson 
 Richard Bradley 
 Tsugio Matsuda 
Oreca 05 LMP2 34 3'39.133 17.122
11 36  Nicolas Lapierre 
 Gustavo Menezes 
 Stéphane Richelmi 
Alpine A460 LMP2 30 3'39.721 17.710
12 23  Paul-Loup Chatin 
 Fabien Barthez 
 Timothé Buret 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 42 3'40.308 18.297
13 33  Tristan Gommendy 
 Pu Junjin 
 Nick de Bruijn 
Oreca 05 LMP2 39 3'40.321 18.310
14 46  Mathias Beche 
 Pierre Thiriet 
 Ryo Hirakawa 
Oreca 05 LMP2 40 3'40.455 18.444
15 42  Nick Leventis 
 Danny Watts 
 Jonny Kane 
Gibson 015S LMP2 30 3'40.976 18.965
16 30  Scott Sharp 
 Ed Brown 
 Johannes van Overbeek 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 37 3'41.327 19.316
17 26  Will Stevens 
 Roman Rusinov 
 René Rast 
Oreca 05 LMP2 48 3'41.410 19.399
18 31  Pipo Derani 
 Ryan Dalziel 
 Chris Cumming 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 37 3'42.116 20.105
19 49  Laurens Vanthoor 
 John Pew 
 Oswaldo Negri Jr 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 39 3'42.119 20.108
20 35  Nelson Panciatici 
 Ho-Pin Tung 
 David Cheng 
Alpine A460 LMP2 25 3'42.143 20.132
21 44  Roberto Merhi 
 Tor Graves 
 Matthew Rao 
Oreca 05 LMP2 32 3'42.866 20.855
22 27  Maurizio Mediani 
 Nicolas Minassian 
 Mikhail Aleshin 
BR01 LMP2 36 3'43.407 21.396
23 38  Giedo van der Garde 
 Simon Dolan 
 Jake Dennis 
Gibson 015S LMP2 41 3'43.455 21.444
24 37  Vitaly Petrov 
 Viktor Shaytar 
 Kirill Ladygin 
BR01 LMP2 30 3'43.828 21.817
25 43  Bruno Senna 
 Ricardo Gonzalez 
 Filipe Albuquerque 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 34 3'44.086 22.075
26 28  Leo Roussel 
 Inès Taittinger 
 Remy Striebig 
Morgan LMP2 28 3'44.118 22.107
27 48  Jeroen Bleekemolen 
 Ben Keating 
 Marc Goossens 
Oreca 03R LMP2 26 3'45.817 23.806
28 34  Shinji Nakano 
 Nicolas Leutwiler 
 James Winslow 
Oreca 03R LMP2 39 3'46.130 24.119
29 22  Erik Maris 
 Vincent Capillaire 
 Jonathan Coleman 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 28 3'48.953 26.942
30 40  Tracy Krohn 
 Nic Jonsson 
 Joao Barbosa 
Ligier JS P2 LMP2 21 3'49.988 27.977
31 51  Gianmaria Bruni 
 James Calado 
 Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE Pro 33 3'53.833 31.822
32 82  Giancarlo Fisichella 
 Toni Vilander 
 Matteo Malucelli 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE Pro 20 3'54.180 32.169
33 68  Sébastien Bourdais 
 Joey Hand 
 Dirk Müller 
Ford GT LMGTE Pro 32 3'54.893 32.882
34 66  Stefan Mücke 
 Olivier Pla 
 Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE Pro 30 3'55.081 33.070
35 67  Harry Tincknell 
 Andy Priaulx 
 Marino Franchitti 
Ford GT LMGTE Pro 31 3'55.436 33.425
36 71  Sam Bird 
 Davide Rigon 
 Andrea Bertolini 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE Pro 32 3'55.502 33.491
37 69  Ryan Briscoe 
 Scott Dixon 
 Richard Westbrook 
Ford GT LMGTE Pro 30 3'55.510 33.499
38 92  Frédéric Makowiecki 
 Earl Bamber 
 Jörg Bergmeister 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE Pro 28 3'55.661 33.650
39 64  Oliver Gavin 
 Tommy Milner 
 Jordan Taylor 
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE Pro 25 3'56.131 34.120
40 63  Jan Magnussen 
 Antonio Garcia 
 Ricky Taylor 
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE Pro 28 3'56.490 34.479
41 91  Nick Tandy 
 Patrick Pilet 
 Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE Pro 31 3'56.506 34.495
42 95  Marco Sorensen 
 Nicki Thiim 
 Darren Turner 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE Pro 46 3'56.618 34.607
43 77  Richard Lietz 
 Michael Christensen 
 Philipp Eng 
Porsche 911 RSR (2016) LMGTE Pro 26 3'56.996 34.985
44 97  Fernando Rees 
 Richie Stanaway 
 Jonathan Adam 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE Pro 46 3'57.457 35.446
45 61  Rob Bell 
 Mok Weng Sun 
 Keita Sawa 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE Am 40 3'57.543 35.532
46 62  William Sweedler 
 Townsend Bell 
 Jeff Segal 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE Am 28 3'59.103 37.092
47 83  François Perrodo 
 Emmanuel Collard 
 Rui Aguas 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE Am 33 3'59.294 37.283
48 88  David Heinemeier Hansson
 Patrick Long 
 Khaled Al Qubaisi 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 36 3'59.592 37.581
49 78  Christian Ried 
 Wolf Henzler 
 Joel Camathias 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 28 4'00.418 38.407
50 98  Pedro Lamy 
 Paul Dalla Lana 
 Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE Am 43 4'00.853 38.842
51 50  Pierre Ragues 
 Yutaka Yamagishi 
 Jean-Philippe Belloc 
Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE Am 26 4'01.177 39.166
52 55  Duncan Cameron 
 Matt Griffin 
 Aaron Scott 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE Am 39 4'01.200 39.189
53 89  Marc Miller 
 Cooper MacNeil 
 Lehman Keen 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 34 4'02.191 40.180
54 60  Christina Nielsen 
 Johnny Laursen 
 Mikkel Mac 
Ferrari F458 Italia LMGTE Am 34 4'02.432 40.421
55 86  Michael Wainwright 
 Adam Carroll 
 Ben Barker 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE Am 24 4'03.783 41.772
56 57  Mark Patterson 
 Johnny O'Connell 
Oliver Bryant 
Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 LMGTE Am 30 4'04.526 42.515
57 99  Gary Hirsch 
 Liam Griffin 
 Andrew Howard 
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE Am 31 4'07.679 45.668
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