Jani grabs COTA pole with last-ditch flyer for Porsche lockout

Porsche locked out the front row of the Six Hours of the Circuit of the Americas at Austin on Friday evening, with the No.18 919 Hybrid grabbing a last-gasp pole over the No.17 sister car.

The No.17 Porsche of Brendon Hartley/Timo Bernhard/Mark Webber had been dominating the session until a last-minute flyer from Neel Jani wrested away top spot, in the car he shares with Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas.

Hartley set the early pace on 1m46.625s, ahead of the Audis of Andre Lotterer (1m47.007s) and Oliver Jarvis (1m47.456s). Jani was uncharacteristically off the pace in fourth due to a hybrid boost failure in the No.18 Porsche on a 1m48.422s.

Loic Duval took over the No.8 car and leapfrogged the sister Audi to second on 1m47.621s, but Lieb quickly restored the Porsche front-row lockout with 1m46.405s.

Hartley’s and Bernhard’s combined times were over a second clear of Jani/Lieb at that point – but Jani got back into the No.18 and rocked an amazing 1m46.018s to give the car pole by 0.164s.

The Duval/Jarvis/Lucas di Grassi Audi will start third, ahead of the Lotterer/Treluyer/ Marcel Fassler championship-leading R18.

The Toyotas will start from the third row, with the No.1 car outpacing No.2 just over a tenth.

The session was red flagged after three minutes to retrieve the No.47 KCMG Oreca, which had stopped just after the pitlane exit with Matt Howson at the wheel.

It then went on to top the LMP2 times, but is under investigation by stewards. The No.26 G-Drive Ligier of Sam Bird/Julien Canal/Roman Rusinov was second fastest.

GT class qualifying battles

The No.99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 will start on LMGTE Pro courtesy of Fernando Rees and Richie Stanaway, ahead of the No.91 Porsche  911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen, which had set the early pace in the session.

The No.97 Aston of Darren Turner and Jonny Adam will start third, ahead of No.95 Aston and No.92 Porsche.

There was rejoicing in the Dempsey-Proton Racing garage, as the No.77 Porsche of Patrick Long, Marco Seefried and Patrick Dempsey scored its first LMGTE Am pole of the season.

Qualifying results:

Pos. No. Drivers Car Time Gap
18 Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
Porsche 1'46.211  
17 Timo Bernhard
Mark Webber
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 1'46.375 0.164
8 Lucas di Grassi
Loïc Duval
Oliver Jarvis
Audi 1'47.538 1.327
7 Marcel Fassler
Andre Lotterer
Benoit Treluyer
Audi 1'47.898 1.687
1 Anthony Davidson
Sebastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota 1'48.990 2.779
2 Alexander Wurz
Stephane Sarrazin
Mike Conway
Toyota 1'49.176 2.965
12 Nicolas Prost
Mathias Beche
Nick Heidfeld
Rebellion/AER 1'53.950 7.739
13 Alexandre Imperatori
Dominik Kraihamer
Daniel Abt
Rebellion/AER 1'54.506 8.295
4 Simon Trummer
Pierre Kaffer
CLM/AER 1'55.794 9.583
10  26 Roman Rusinov
Julien Canal
Sam Bird
Ligier/Nissan 1'57.148 10.937
11  28 Gustavo Yacaman
Luis Derani
Ricardo Gonzalez
Ligier/Nissan 1'57.474 11.263
12  30 Scott Sharp
Ryan Dalziel
David Hansson
Ligier/HPD 1'57.621 11.410
13  43 Pierre Ragues
Oliver Webb
Archie Hamilton
Morgan/SARD 1'58.109 11.898
14  42 Nick Leventis
Danny Watts
Jonny Kane
Gibson/Nissan 1'59.749 13.538
15  31 Ed Brown
Johannes van Overbeek
Jon Fogarty
Ligier/HPD 2'01.480 15.269
16  36 Nelson Panciatici
Paul-Loup Chatin
Vincent Capillaire
Alpine/Nissan 1'57.860 11.649
17  47 Matt Howson
Richard Bradley
Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA/Nissan 1'56.834 10.623*
18  99 Fernando Rees
Alex MacDowall
Richie Stanaway
Aston Martin 2'05.872 19.661
19  91 Richard Lietz
Michael Christensen
Porsche 2'06.134 19.923
20  97 Darren Turner
Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin 2'06.272 20.061
21  95 Marco Sorensen
Christopher Nygaard
Aston Martin 2'06.294 20.083
22  92 Patrick Pilet
Frederic Makowiecki
Porsche 2'06.363 20.152
23  51 Gianmaria Bruni
Toni Vilander
Ferrari 2'06.786 20.575
24  71 Davide Rigon
James Calado
Ferrari 2'06.975 20.764
25  77 Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Long
Marco Seefried
Porsche 2'08.085 21.874
26  96 Francesco Castellacci
Benny Simonsen
Stuart Hall
Aston Martin 2'08.264 22.053
27  83 Francois Perrodo
Emmanuel Collard
Rui Aguas
Ferrari 2'08.332 22.121
28  98 Paul Dalla Lana
Pedro Lamy
Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin 2'08.440 22.229
29  72 Viktor Shaitar
Andrea Bertolini
Aleksey Basov
Ferrari 2'08.442 22.231
30  50 Gianluca Roda
Paolo Ruberti
Kristian Poulsen
Chevrolet 2'08.802 22.591
31  88 Christian Ried
Khalid Al Qubaisi
Earl Bamber
Porsche

no time -

* The No.47 KCMG Oreca had its time disallowed and will start from the back of the LMP2 grid.

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About this article
Series WEC
Event Austin
Track Circuit of the Americas
Drivers Andre Lotterer , Neel Jani , Oliver Jarvis , Brendon Hartley
Article type Qualifying report