Saturday 23 July 2016

FIA WEC 6 hours of the Nürburgring: Saturday qualifying

Free practice 3 this morning was delayed 30 minutes due to morning fog which eventually burned off and became hazy sunshine. The track however remained damp and the air temperature an unseasonably chilly 17 C.

FP3 failed to throw up any faster times than earlier sessions and by the end there were a few raindrops falling again. The WEC pit walk session seemed as popular as ever despite 'level 2' rain. Unfortunately, due to the delays earlier in the day, the walk was a little shorter than expected to allow for qualifying to start on time.

In GTE Pro qualifying it was the Aston Martin #95 of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen that finally set the fastest average time of 2:01.712, holding off the #66 Ford GT and Aston Martin #97.  In GTE Am it was the #88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche that took pole position with an average time of 2:06.111 from The KCMG Porsche #78 and Aston Martin #98.

There were odd spots of rain here and there in the short interval between GTE qualifying and LMP qualifying, but the track remained reasonably dry. 

Despite the cold and damp, the leading LMP1 contenders quickly dropped in lap times at or under the 1:40 mark. Although Webber was initially quick and topped the timing screen for a few minutes, it was Audi who seemed to have a grip on the track conditions managed to lock out the front row with the Audi R18 #7 of Fassler and Lotterer setting the best average time of 1:39.444, followed by the Audi #8 of DiGrassi.

Duval and Jarvis who had a late spin at the chicane just before the chequered flag. On the LMP1 second row for tomorrow's race are the Porsches #1 and #2 followed neatly by the pair of Toyotas on the 3rd row.  

Today has been cool and wet but tomorrow promises to be warm and sunny for the start of the 6 hours of the Nürburgring from 13:00 to 19:00.

Dave Davies.