Audi eclipses Porsche in final WEC practice

Audi eclipses Porsche in final WEC practice
May 1, 2015, 1:37 PM

A last-minute charge by Andre Lotterer put Audi top in the final practice session for this weekend's 6 Hours of Spa, narrowly ahead of Porsche.

#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro Hybrid: Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro Hybrid: Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#19 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid Hybrid: Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber, Nick Tandy
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040-Hybrid Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan: Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal, Sam Bird
#51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia: Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander
#97 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage V8: Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke, Rob Bell

Lotterer left the best until last, setting the fastest ever WEC lap around the Belgian circuit in the final moments with a 1m57.368s.

That left the number #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro at the top of the timesheets by just 0.011s, ahead of the #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Force India Formula 1 driver Nico Hulkenberg.

Nick Tandy initially starred in the 60-minute session. The Brit, who is making his LMP1 debut this weekend, set a succession of rapid laps to head the regular #18 and #17 Porsches to temporarily lock out the top three positions.

In the first dry conditions of the meeting, Tandy peaked with a 1m57.396s, which beat the previous fastest lap –  a 1m58.934s, set by Lucas Di Grassi in 2013.

Di Grassi set the fourth fastest time in the #8 Audi he shares with Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis.

Toyota continued to re-group after the dramas of Nakajima’s accident yesterday. The Japanese manufacturer placed sixth and seventh in the session with the #2 TS 040 HYBRID just outpacing the re-built #1 car.

G-Drive and Ferrari set the pace

G-Drive returned to the top of the LMP2 times in the dry running, with Sam Bird setting a best lap of 2m08.415s in the #26 Ligier-Nissan. The winners of the previous round at Silverstone enjoyed a 0.4s advantage over the KCMG ORECA-Nissan of Nicolas Lapierre, Matt Howson and Richard Bradley.

Reigning champions Toni Vilander and Gianmaria Bruni claimed the LMGTE Pro fastest lap in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458, with Vilander setting the pace on 2m18.390s. 

The #99 Aston Martin Vantage placed second, just ahead of the #71 AF Corse Ferrari, the top three in class being split by three tenths.

Pedro Lamy set the best time in LMGTE Am in the #98 Aston Martin with a 2m19.485s, heading the Larbre-run Chevrolet Corvette by a huge 1.7s.

The only significant incidents in the session came early on when Klaus Bachler backed his Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche 911 RSR in to the wall at Pouhon.

Darren Turner also went off, but avoided hitting the wall at the exit of Les Combes as his Aston Martin Vantage beached itself in the gravel.

Practice times:

Pos Drivers Car Time/Gap
Marcel Fassler
Andre Lotterer
Benoit Treluyer
Audi 1m57.368
Nico Hulkenberg
Earl Bamber
Nick Tandy
Porsche 0.011
Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
Porsche 0.493
Timo Bernhard
Mark Webber
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 0.531
Lucas di Grassi
Loic Duval
Oliver Jarvis
Audi 0.860
Alexander Wurz
Stephane Sarrazin
Mike Conway
Toyota 2.262
Anthony Davidson
Sebastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota 2.482
Filipe Albuquerque
Marco Bonanomi
Rene Rast
Audi 4.864
Roman Rusinov
Julien Canal
Sam Bird
Ligier/Nissan 11.047
10  Matt Howson
Richard Bradley
Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA/Nissan 11.486
11  Simon Dolan
Mitchell Evans
Harry Tincknell
Gibson/Nissan 11.597
12  Gustavo Yacaman
Luis Derani
Ricardo Gonzalez
Ligier/Nissan 11.943
13  Nelson Panciatici
Paul-Loup Chatin
Vincent Capillaire
Alpine/Nissan 12.448
14  Simon Trummer
Vitantonio Liuzzi
Christian Klien
CLM/AER 12.594
15  Pierre Ragues
Oliver Webb
Zoel Amberg
Morgan/SARD 12.747
16  Nick Leventis
Danny Watts
Jonny Kane
Dome/Nissan 14.148
17  Scott Sharp
Ryan Dalziel
David Hansson
Ligier/HPD 15.939
18  Jacques Nicolet
Jean-Marc Merlin
Erik Maris
Ligier/Nissan 15.996
19  Ed Brown
Johannes van Overbeek
Jon Fogarty
Ligier/HPD 17.263
20  Gianmaria Bruni
Toni Vilander
Ferrari 21.022
21  Alex MacDowall
Fernando Rees
Richie Stanaway
Aston Martin 21.143
22  Davide Rigon
James Calado
Ferrari 21.242
23  Darren Turner
Stefan Mücke
Rob Bell
Aston Martin 21.248
24  Christoffer Nygaard
Marco Sorensen
Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin 21.763
25  Frederic Makowiecki
Richard Lietz
Porsche 21.807
26  Paul Dalla Lana
Pedro Lamy
Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin 22.117
27  Sven Muller
Kevin Estre
Porsche 22.274
28  Gianluca Roda
Paolo Ruberti
Kristian Poulsen
Chevrolet 23.750
29  Christian Ried
Khalid Al Qubaisi
Klaus Bachler
Porsche 24.078
30  Viktor Shaitar
Andrea Bertolini
Aleksey Basov
Ferrari 24.136
31  Francois Perrodo
Emmanuel Collard
Rui Aguas
Ferrari 24.141
32  Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Long
Marco Seefried
Porsche 24.451
33  Duncan Cameron
Matt Griffin
Alex Mortimer
Ferrari 26.813
34  Francesco Castellacci
Roald Goethe
Stuart Hall
Aston Martin 27.252
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