Audi once again headed the time sheets overall, while LMGTE Pro category continued to provide excitement and close competition between the three luxury car manufacturers.
It was an interrupted second and final Free Practice session today, in preparation for the 6 Hours of Shanghai. Two red flag periods featured, the first of which caused the session to be extended by 20 minutes following on-track repairs. The second was a shorter stoppage to retrieve the No.25 Delta-ADR which was stranded off track.
Audi once again headed the time sheets overall, while LMGTE Pro category continued to provide excitement and close competition between the three luxury car manufacturers, Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche, with little to choose between them. The Italian duo of Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella claimed the top spot with Bruni’s lap of 2:04.607 in the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, three hundredths of a second faster than the quickest class time this morning.
The Ferrari was 0.62 seconds ahead of the No.97 Aston Martin Vantage of Turner-Mucke which edged its sister car, the No.99 of Lamy-Senna-Stanaway by just 0.062s. The No.91 Porsche of Lieb-Lietz was in fourth place in class, only two tenths of a second behind the two Aston Martins.
This afternoon it was the turn of the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Lotterer-Tréluyer-Fässler to set the fastest time – Marcel Fässler doing the honours with a lap of 1:48.655 on a track which appeared to lack grip for many. Sebastien Buemi continued to chase hard in the No.8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Buemi-Davidson-Sarrazin), his lap time of 1:49.302 being two tenths of a second faster than the No.7 Toyota (Wurz-Lapierre) and almost seven tenths faster than the No.2 Audi (Kristensen-Duval-McNish).
OAK Racing’s No.35 Morgan-Nissan of Baguette-Gonzalez-Plowman claimed the top spot in the LMP2 category, but by the narrowest of margins. Great Britain’s Martin Plowman set a fast lap of 1:56.330, only seven thousandths of a second ahead of the No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 03 Nissan of Rusinov-Martin-Conway. The No.25 Delta-ADR was third in class, despite the delays it experienced in the session, ahead of the No.41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan of FIA WEC newcomer Mark Shulzhitskiy, Eric Lux and Björn Wirdheim.
Ferrari also topped the time sheets in the LMGTE Am category, the No.81 8Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia of Potolicchio-Aguas-Rigon heading the No.61 entry of Gerber-Griffin-Cioci. Apart from the Pro category, all class times were a little slower than this morning, and the No.81’s best time of 2:06.027 was a second behind this morning’s best from the No.88 Proton Porsche. Third in the category this afternoon was the Danish-piloted No.95 Aston Martin Vantage of Thiim-Nygaard-Poulsen.