Spa WEC: Porsche dominates to lock out front row
Porsche secured its first pole position of the 2016 World Endurance Championship season as Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard took the top spot in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa.
Having led Friday morning's third practice by a comfortable margin, the #1 car ended the session with a clear advantage of nearly eight tenths over the sister #2 919 Hybrid.
Hartley began the session by setting a blistering time of 1m55.691s, 0.8s up on what Bernhard had managed in FP3, before the German took the reins after a brief red flag period and posted a 1m55.895s.
That gave the duo, who share the #1 car with Mark Webber, a combined average of 1m55.793s, 0.797s up on the #2 car of Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.
Toyota and Audi both lagged some way off the pace of Porsche, but engaged in their own close battle for best of the rest honours, the Japanese marque just coming out on top.
The #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro had held the advantage after the first runs, courtesy of a 1m57.422s from Oliver Jarvis, but Loic Duval was eight tenths off his teammate's pace, not helped by an apparent mechanical problem that forced the car to limp back to the pits.
That allowed the #6 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi and Stephane Sarrazin, who set the car's best time of 1m57.619s, to sneak ahead by a scant 0.018s on average times - albeit 1.905s shy of the #1 Porsche.
The #5 Toyota of Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima was fifth, just half a tenth back, with the #7 Audi completing the hybrid grid, just over two seconds adrift of the pace.
Among the LMP1 privateers, it was the #13 Rebellion R-One that took the top spot ahead of the #12 entry, both well clear of the #4 ByKolles - which caused the delay to the session when it shed some rear bodywork at Eau Rouge.
LMP2 class pole fell to the #26 G-Drive Oreca of Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov, whose combined efforts put the car half a second ahead of the #36 Signatech Alpine.
Manor qualified its two Orecas third and fifth in class, Roberto Merhi leading the class after an impressive first run in the #45 car, split by the #38 G-Drive Gibson after Giedo van der Garde's effort in the second runs.
Ferrari sweeps front row in GTE
In GTE-Pro, the #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird took pole position for the second race on the trot, both drivers recording near-identical times.
Rigon led the first part of the session with a 2m17.632s, with Bird keeping the team clear of the opposition with a time only 0.025s slower for an average of 2m17.644s.
That was 0.317s better than the combined efforts of James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni in the #51 car, which went second fastest to complete an all-Ferrari class front row.
The #97 Aston Martin of Fernando Rees and Richie Stanaway was third, just 0.026s behind the #51 car, ahead of the two Ford GTs, which both qualified within a second of the #71 Ferrari.
Aston Martin took a comfortable pole in the Am class, as Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana collectively went 1.8s clear of their nearest challenger, the #83 AF Corse Ferrari.
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|Drivers||Timo Bernhard , Brendon Hartley|
|Teams||Porsche Team Shop Now|