Fuji WEC: Hartley sets pace for Porsche on opening day

Porsche's Brendon Hartley set the fastest lap during free practice for this weekend's 6 Hours of Fuji.

Fuji WEC: Hartley sets pace for Porsche on opening day
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#18 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#91 Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSR: Richard Lietz, Michael Christensen
#77 Dempsey Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR: Patrick Dempsey, Patrick Long, Marco Seefried
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
Andre Lotterer, Audi Sport Team Joest
Listen to this article

The Kiwi set a best of 1m24.480s in the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, as he and teammates Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard look to score a third successive WEC victory in Japan.

Hartley’s FP2 time was a fraction quicker than Audi man Andre Lotterer’s best effort from the slightly cooler opening session.

The German, who treats Japan as a second home after racing there for the last decade, set the quickest ever WEC lap of Fuji on a 1m24.497s - 1.8s faster than the previous best, which he had set in 2012.

Most of the teams were experimenting with different set-ups during the morning session, with Porsche evaluating body-kits in an effort to determine the best aero solution for the near-mile long straight and technical final sector.

With rain forecast for raceday on Sunday, teams also took the opportunity to throw on additional downforce and test grippier set-ups.

Romain Dumas looked set to eclipse team mate Hartley’s best effort in the afternoon, but his lap was compromised because of a red flag, as Scott Sharp stopped in his ESM Ligier.

As a result, the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid had to settle for third, ahead of the other Audi R18 e-tron quattro crewed by Lucas Di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval.

The only significant on-track incident during the day came in the morning session as Nick Leventis in the Strakka Racing Gibson was adjudged to have made contact with Loic Duval's Audi. Leventis was subsequently given a suspended stop/go penalty for the altercation.

Nelson Panciatici’s Signatech Alpine led LMP2 class in the morning, but his time of 1m32.701s was beaten by Sam Bird in the afternoon session.

The former Mercedes test driver set a series of fast laps around the 2.83-mile track, peaking with a 1m32.131s in the G-Drive Ligier-Nissan.

G-Drive’s title rivals KCMG placed second in the quicker afternoon session with Nick Tandy exploring the Fuji track for the first time and immediately showing good pace in the ORECA 05-Nissan.

The #92 Manthey Porsche and the Larbre Corvette topped the GTE-Pro and Am classes respectively in the first session, while Gianmaria Bruni showed his Ferrari's straight-line speed supremacy in the afternoon by leading home AF Corse teammate James Calado for a Maranello 1-2.

Stuart Hall made it a positive afternoon for AF Corse by claiming the top spot in LMGTE Am on a 1m40.706s lap.

shares
comments
KCMG poised for WEC and Asian Le Mans battle at Fuji
Previous article

KCMG poised for WEC and Asian Le Mans battle at Fuji

Next article

The Rebellion Racing team is ready for the Japanese challenger

The Rebellion Racing team is ready for the Japanese challenger
Load comments
Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement Prime

Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021