Friday, 2 September 2016

FIA WEC - 6 Hours of Mexico: Audi takes pole

After a very entertaining qualifying session, Loic Duval & Lucas Di Grassi took pole position for the WEC 6 Hours of Mexico tomorrow at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
Both Audi drivers put in an average lap of 1.25.069, a mere 0.042 seconds faster than Neel Jani & Marc Lieb in the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid. Third fastest was the second Audi of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler who scored an average laptime of ...  . Hartley and Webber qualified fourth in the Porsche 919 Hybrid, ahead of both Toyota's. 

Rebellion took – as expected – pole position in the privateer class, the sole R-One in Mexico ahead of the ByKolles CLM P1/01.

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
In LMP2, Bruno Senna and Ricardo Gonzalez took their first ever WEC pole position, in the team's home race. They qualified the #43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier with an average time of 1.35.485. Second fastest was Nicolas Lapierre in the #36 Signatech Alpine, but already 0.334 seconds behind pole position. Strakka Racing continues its great form throughout the season, now qualifying third with Jonny Kane and Lewis Williamson at the wheel in 1.35.753 .  G-Drive racing took fourth place on the grid tomorrow, with the #44 Manor settling for fifth. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
With just a few minutes to go, Nico Lapierre crashed into the wall in his #36 Alpine A460 causing a red flag and a brief interruption of the session. When the green flag was waived again for a 3 minutes 43 seconds shootout, more errors occured on track. The #2 Porsche had a big slide but somehow stayed out of the barriers. Pipo Derani was less lucky in the #31 ESM Ligier and spun into the wall at T12. .

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
Aston Martin took a clean sweep in GTE qualifying, locking out both GTE classes. In the Pro class, Nicky Thiim and Marco Sorensen were fastest in the #95 Vantage, with an average time of 1.40.458, which gave them the second pole in a row. Second fastest was the #97 Aston Martin Vantage of Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway who were just 0.142 seconds behind. Over half a second behind the Astons was the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Gianmaria Bruni. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
Rounding out the top 5 in GTE Pro are the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche and the #71 AF Corse Ferrari. Andy Priaulx didn't have his best day in qualifying. First having to cope with a door hatch problem in his #67 Ford GT, and minutes later going into the wall in the stadium section of the track (luckily without any major damage). Priaulx qualified seventh, behind the #66 Porsche. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
 Despite a small spin from Pedro Lamy in the #98 AMR, Lamy and Dalla Lana took pole position in GTE-AM with an average laptime of 1.42.437.  Behind the Vantage V8, it's all Porsches. The #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche was second fastest, ahead of the #86 Gulf Racing 911 and the KCMG 911 RSR.  The #50 Larbre Competition Corvette and #83AF Corse Ferrari F458 have been struggling to keep up pace all sessions so far and close out tomorrow’s starting grid. 

© Toyota Gazoo Racing
2 LMP1 factory drivers won't take part in the race tomorrow. Anthony Davidson won't be able to compete in Mexico due to a rib injury sustained at Magny Cours during testing last month. Davidson completed five laps on Thursday morning during the collective test session, but didn't get green light to race from the doctors. Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will now contest the race as a duo. 

© Toyota Gazoo Racing
More bad news for the Japanese team, as Stephane Sarrazin had a big crash on Thursday morning at the exit of the final corner of the track. Sarrazin went hard into the barriers causing sustainable damage to the tub of his #6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid. The mechanics build up a new car overnight around a new tub, so they could run again in the third free practice. 

© Audi - Ferdi Kräling Motorsport-Bild GmbH 
Another driver who will miss the 6 hour race on Saturday is Benoit Tréluyer. The French Audi driver took part in practice on Thursday but missed out FP3 on Friday. The spinal injury Tréluyer got after a bike accident & caused him to miss the race in Germany isn't healed enough yet to take part in the race. Andre Lotterer and Marcell Fassler will (again) drive as a duo. 

Practice sessions

© Porsche
Earlier today and yesterday Audi and Porsche dominated all three practice sessions. Audi topped the timesheets after the first 90 minute free practice session yesterday morning with Andre Lotterer setting a 1.26.705 at the Mexican track in his #7 R18. Second fastest was Lucas Di Grassi in the #8 sister Audi, just ahead of the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid. The sole Toyota (see below) of Buemi and Nakajima was fifth fastest, behind both Audi's and Porsches. 

© Porsche
After the second practice session yesterday, both Porsches were on top. The #2 now 0.248 seconds ahead of the #1 Porsche. Both Audi's were 0.7 and 0.8 second off pace with the #5 Toyota now really closing in on the Audi's. This morning it was Porsche #1 who drove the fastest lap so far in 1.25.387, ahead of both Audi's (#7 & #8) and the second Porsche. The #6 Toyota TS050 was rebuilt again around a new tub, and got immediately faster than the #5, both over a second behind the fastest Porsche. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
The LMP1 privateer class was dominated by Rebellion, the single entered #13 was 0.5 to 1.8 seconds faster than the #4 By Kolles prototype. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
LMP2 has been a close battle over all 3 free practice sessions. Manor was fastest in FP1 in their #44 Oreca 05, closely followed by the #31 ESM Ligier and the #26 G-Drive Oreca. In the second session, the #43 “hometeam” RGR Sport outpaced the competition ahead of the #26 who was now second fastest and the #44 Manor. In the final session G-Drive went up from second to first, now holding off the #36 Signatech Alpine and the #42 Strakka Gibson 015s which once again is being competitive all week so far. 

After the final session, the difference between all cars in class was just over 1.6 seconds, the first 9 even within a second of eachother. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
In GTE-Pro the battle is now really on between the turbo & atmospheric engined cars. The big question mark was who would suffer the most from the high altitude of the track in case of engine performance and downforce. Aston Martin took the upperhand in all three practice sessions but the overall pace of the #51 AF Corse wasn't that far off the Astons (between 0.077 and 1.7 seconds). Ford had a slower start but by the end of third practice closed the gap to the Aston Martins just within a second. 

© Gabi Tomescu - AdrenalMedia.com
GTE Am has been a Porsche vs Aston Martin battle all 3 sessions. The #86 Gulf Racing fastest in the first two sessions and third fastest in the final session. Together with the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Porsche and the #98 Aston Martin they occupied the top 3 in each session.

Results :
- Free Practice 1
- Free Practice 2
- Free Practice 3
- Qualifying LMP
- Qualifying GTE

Kristof Vermeulen.

No comments:

Post a Comment