Saturday 15 July 2017

FIA WEC - 6 Hours of the Nürburgring: Saturday FP3 & Qualifying

Blue skies, a few clouds and a crisp 14.3° C air temperature this morning for the final free practice session ahead of the 6 Hours of the Nürburgring tomorrow.

Toyota was fastest this session, sweeping the first two places on the timetable ahead of both Porsches. Jose Maria Lopez had a small excursion in the gravel in the opening few minutes, clearly pushing hard before putting the #7 Toyota to the top of the session timing screen with a lap of 1:38.969 which remained quickest of the session up to the chequered flag.

It was good to see the #31 Vailliante Rebellion back on track after missing FP2 yesterday due to damage sustained after a collision in the first session of the day. Despite missing a session yesterday, Bruno Senna topped the times in the LMP2 class with a 1.46.017, ahead of the #35 Alpine and the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing. The second Alpine again showing a very strong performance in class after their previous races in Spa and Le Mans.

Just before the chequered flag, there was what looked like a worrying development for Vilander in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari when it was seen going slowly on track before stopping completely at T6-T7 bringing out a local yellow flag. It later turned out that he had missed pit entry on the previous lap and had run out of fuel.

Olivier Pla was the fastest GT driver of the morning in his #66 Ford GT. His lap of 1.54.875 put him ahead of both AF Corse Ferrari's. In GTE Am, Matteo Cairoli was quickest with his #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche in 1.56.882, outpacing the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari and the #98 Aston Martin.


FP3 LMP1 1st #7 Toyota with 1:38.969 from #8 Toyota & #2 Porsche
FP3 LMP2 1st  #31 Rebellion Oreca with 1:46.017 from #35 Signatech Alpine & #38 DC Racing OrecaSent 
FP3 GTE Pro 1st #66 Ford with 1:54.875 from 2nd #71 AF Corse Ferrari & #51 AF Corse Ferrari
FP3 GTE Am 1st #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche with 1:56.882 from #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari & #98 Aston Martin

LMP Qualifying

Toyota #8 was first on track for LMP qualifying at 15:25. On the first flying laps there was a close call between Alpine #36 and Toyota #8 that came very close to a collision. Following the incident, Panciaticci who was at the wheel of the Alpine, has been handed a 30 second stop and go penalty for tomorrows race.

There followed a major scrap for LMP2 times and a confusing number of deleted laps due to track limits infringements, including what would have been a pole time for the #13 Rebellion. Meanwhile Lopez in Toyota #7 set a clean lap time of 1:38.083 which combined with Kobayashi's lap of 1:38.153 was enough to secure pole position in LMP1.  The Fastest individual lap in LMP1 Qualifying was 1:37.886 for André Lotterer in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

Ben Hanley didn't miss his debut with the #26 G-Drive Oreca, scoring pole position together with Pierre Thiriet in a combined time of 1.44.331. They will face a 3 minute stop & hold penalty in the race though as a result of Roman Rusinov being judged at fault in his accident with the #88 Proton Porsche of Khaled Al Qubaisi  at Le Mans last month. Second fastest were Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ahead of the #31 Vaillante Rebellion.

LMP1 Qualifying 1st #Toyota #7 with 1:38.118 average 2nd #2 Porsche 3rd #1 Porsche
LMP2 Qualifying 1st #26 G-Drive Oreca with 1:45.001, 2nd #38 DC Racing Oreca 3rd #31 Rebellion Oreca 

UPDATE 19:30 G-Drive Racing has lost its LMP2 class pole position for the Six Hours of Nürburgrin
g, as a result of a technical infringement found in scrutineering after Saturday afternoon’s qualifying session. The No. 26 Oreca 07 Gibson was found to have the front part of its skid block deflecting more than 5mm, in breach of article 3.5.6 d of the LMP2 Technical Regulations.  The car will now start tomorrow’s race from the back of the grid.

GTE Qualifying 

Matt Griffin in the #61 Clearwater Ferrari was the firs GTE driver to get out in the session as the green flag for GTE qualifying at 14:55.  Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin set an early time of 1:55.686 which was sufficient with a respectable bronze time of 1:57.756 from Paul Dalla Lana to take their 8th consecutive pole for #98 in GTE Am since Mexico in 2016Dempsey Proton Racing (#77) and Spirit of Race (#54) completed the trop 3 in the Am class.

Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen scored the first pole position in the FIA WEC for the new Porsche 911 RSR.  Their combined time of 1.54.007 was fast enough to put the #92 on the first row of the GTE class. Reigning champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen were second fastest in 1.54.352 in the #95 Aston Martin Vantage, ahead of the second Porsche RSR.

GTE Pro Qualifying 1st #92 Porsche with 1:54.007 2nd #95 Aston 3rd #91 Porsche 
GTE Am Qualifying 1st #98 Aston 1:56.721 2nd #77 Proton Porsche 3rd #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari

Text: Dave Davies/Kristof Vermeulen
Pictures: Kristof Vermeulen/Erik Junius