Porsche on top again as WEC test ends

Porsche again held the upper hand on day two of the official WEC tests at Paul Ricard today, the German marque topping all five of the sessions held over the two days.

Porsche on top again as WEC test ends
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#17 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#1 Toyota Racing Toyota TS040 Hybrid: Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
Mark Webber, Porsche Team, Anthony Davidson, Toyota Racing, Loic Duval, Audi Sport Team Joest
#18 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

Although times were not as fast today, with most of the manufacturer cars electing to concentrate on long stint runs, the two significantly developed Porsche 919 Hybrid’s still enjoyed an advantage on track.

Timo Bernhard set the best lap of the day – 1m39.157s, in the morning session, but this was some 1.9 seconds off Jani’s flyer yesterday evening, when the Swiss scorched to a 1m37.220s lap as dusk set.

Jani set the fastest lap in the afternoon session today with a 1m39.321s.

Rivals give chase

Audi and Toyota worked through their programmes with the former placing third and fourth in both of the sessions. Toyota were fifth and sixth throughout but the reigning champions ended the day with a damaged car when Mike Conway went over run-off kerbs in his #2 Toyota TS 040 HYBRID in avoiding Toni Vilander’s Ferrari.

The resulting excursion appeared to cause a mechanical issue with the car as smoke was seen coming from the Japanese LMP1-H car. With 15 minutes remaining in the session the decision was taken not to re-start it in order to retrieve the Toyota which was carefully placed on to a flatbed truck and returned to the pits.

Close battle in LMP2

The fiercely competitive LMP2 class saw the G-Drive Racing team claim the top position today with firstly their #26 Ligier JS P2-Nissan, and then the #28 car driven by Colombia’s Gustavo Yacaman, who emerged quickest with a 1m48.588s lap. Yacaman shares the seat with Pipo Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez this season in an all-Latin Amercian line-up.

The fastest overall LMP2 time was set by Nick Tandy in the new KCMG ORECA 05. The works Porsche driver was experiencing an LMP2 car for the first time ahead of undertaking most of the FIA WEC season with the Hong Kong-based team.

Aston tops LMGTE classes

Aston Martin took the honours in LMGTE today with Fernando Rees in the No.99 Vantage V8 fastest in the morning running. Former Lotus F1 test driver Marco Sorenson familiarised himself with the #95 Aston and peaked with a 1m57.675 lap.

The LMGTE Am class saw Stuart Hall top the times in the #96 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8. The British racer peaked on a 1m57.116.

Dempsey-Proton Racing finished the afternoon session P1 with Klaus Bachler setting a time that was some 1.3s slower than Hall’s earlier effort.

The first round of the FIA WEC season will take place at Silverstone in two weeks time.

Combined Times from Ricard over two days

  1. Neel Jani, Porsche 919 Hybrid, 1m37.220s
  2. Timo Bernhard, Porsche 919 Hybrid, 1m38.552s
  3. Benoit Treyluer, Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1m39.058s
  4. Loic Duval, Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1m39.354s
  5. Anthony Davidson, Toyota TS 040 HYBRID, 1m39.949s
  6. Alex Wurz, Toyota TS 040 HYBRID, 1m40.819s
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