Porsche emerged fastest in the final Free Practice session at the Nurburgring this morning, sounding a warning to rivals Audi who topped both of yesterday’s sessions.
Unlike the slender margins between the two German marques yesterday, Porsche controlled the session from the get go, with Romain Dumas laying down an initial marker of 1m37.727s, before teammate Marc Lieb went even faster to top the times on a 1m36.036s in the No.18 Porsche 919 Hybrid. This was 0.6s quicker than the sister Porsche 919 Hybrid in which Mark Webber set the best time of 1m36.647s.
It was incident filled session which involved the No.18 Porsche which was involved in contact with the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari driven by Francois Perrodo. Contact at turn two resulted in a left rear puncture for the Ferrari, and Romain Dumas also had to pit for minor repairs.
Just after this there were two other incidents. The first was the on-track stoppage of the No.13 Rebellion Racing LMP1 driven by Daniel Abt, which brought out a Full Course Yellow.
More or less at the same time, Paul Dalla Lana suffered a puncture and stopped his Aston Martin Vantage V8 which returned to the paddock on a flatbed truck.
Audi placed third and fourth with the quickest R18 etron quattro setting a 1m37.035s lap with Lucas di Grassi at the wheel.
The No.7 Audi, which topped both of yesterday’s sessions, placed fourth with Marcel Fassler claiming a 1m37.109. The three-time Le Mans winner’s time at the wheel also included a slow speed spin at turn two.
Toyota continued to operate in what was essentially a class of their own behind the top two manufacturers. The 2014 champions, who have ceased all major development on the Toyota TS 040 again placed fifth and sixth with Sebastien Buemi and Alex Wurz setting the times respectively.
The LMP1 privateer battle between Rebellion Racing and ByKolles started to hot up with a reduced gap between the two protagonists. The No.13 led the way but its sister No.12 R-One-AER and the ByKolles CLM P1/01 were just a few tenths of a second behind.
Both Daniel Abt and Alexander Imperatori stopped temporarily on the track after hitting apparent technical problems during the session.
The LMP2 Strakka Gibson finished the session in class P1 with Jonny Kane setting a 1m45.720s lap which was the fastest LMP2 time of the weekend.
This time was just under a tenth of a second faster than Nick Tandy’s best in the Le Mans winning KCMG ORECA 05-Nissan.
Third in LMP2 was the No.28 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan driven by impressive Brazilian WEC rookie Pipo Derani.
Ferrari left it late in LMGTE Pro with reigning champion Gianmaria Bruni setting a 1m54.331s lap to lead the times in the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.A 1m54.481s lap by James Calado in the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia was good enough for second spot in the LMGTE Pro class.
The British former Force India F1 test driver deposed the No.99 Aston Martin of Alex MacDowell into third position.
The LMGTE Am category saw a clear leader in the shape of the Abu-Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Ring specialist Earl Bamber. The German set a time one second ahead of the rest of the competition with a 1m55.288s.
Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring gets underway at 14.00 local time with 20-minute split LMP1/2 and LMGTE sessions.
|3||Lucas di Grassi
|26||Paul Dalla Lana