Sunday 3 September 2017

FIA WEC - 6 Hours of Mexico: Porsche locks out front row

Porsche locked out the front row tonight at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico city.  After leading the first 2 practice sessions, both Porsche 919 Hybrids outpaced the Toyota's again in qualifying. Signatech Alpine clinched pole in LMP2, Ferrari in GTE Pro and Demspey-Proton Racing in GTE Am.
With rain predicted for the end of the qualifying sessions, the LMP1 and LMP2 cars were released out of the pitlane almost immediately after the GTE qualifying. 
© FIA WEC/Adrenal Media

Brendan Hartley quickly set the fastest time in his #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid before handing over the wheel to Timo Bernhard. Both drivers set an average time of 1.24.562 which gave them and edge of 0.148 seconds over André Lotterer and Nick Tandy in the #1 Porsche. Tandy tried hard by the end of the session to close the gap with the #2 car but wasn't helped by rain that came in at the final minutes. Behind the Porsches, Toyota kept on pushing the whole session but stranded behind both Porsches. Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez were the fastest Toyota drivers, taking third place on the grid with an average time of 1.24.802. Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastian Buemi complete the second row later today. 
© FIA WEC/Adrenal Media

André Negrao & Nicolas Lapierre took pole position in LMP2 and fifth place on the grid with a combined qualifying time of 1.32.809 in their #36 Signatech Alpine. The #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing of Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent was second fastest, 0.296 seconds behind the Alpine. The #31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca of Bruno Senna and Nicolas Prost will start in third position tomorrow, despite Bruno Senna being the fastest man on track during qualifying. Rounding out the top 5 are the #26 G-Drive Racind and #25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing.  Bad luck for the second Vaillante Rebellion when David Heinemeier Hansson exceeded the pitlane maximum speed and saw his time deleted. The #13 will have to start at the back of the grid. 
© FIA WEC/Adrenal Media

Davide Rigon and Sam Bird took pole position in the GTE Pro class. A perfect return for Bird who missed the previous race at the Nürburgring due to the Formula E race in New York. Bird and Rigon set an average time of 1.39.688 in their Ferrari F488 GTE, an improvement of last years lap record. Second fastest were Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen in the #95 Aston Martin with a combined time of 1.39.534, just one tenth of a second behind the leading Ferrari. Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell put the #67 Ford GT on third place, just ahead of the #66 sister car of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mücke.  All 8 cars in class qualified within 0.83 seconds.
© FIA WEC/Adrenal Media

In the Am class it's the #77 Dempsey-Proton Competition Porsche of Matteo Cairoli and Christian Ried who took the honours. An average laptime of 1.42.056 put them on front of the field, closely chased by Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana in the #98 Aston Martin Vantage (+ 0.102 seconds). The third spot on the grid went to the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche which has been in the top 3 all weekend. Benjamin Barker set the fastest lap overall in this qualifying session, combined with the lap of Michael Wainwright, they managed an average time of 1.42.965. The Ferrari's of Clearwater Racing and Spirit of Race complete the class grid for the race. 

Results LMP1 and LMP2
Results LMGTE Pro and Am

Toyota Gazoo Racing picked up pace again to lead the pack in the third and final free practice session.

© FIA WEC/Adrenal Media

Sebastian Buemi put the #8 TS050 Hybrid on top with a lap of 1.25.789, almost a second faster than Jose Maria Lopez in the second practice session. Nick Tandy put the #1 Porsche on second place with a 1.25.983 but lost out the top spot due to exceeding the maximum speed in the pitlane. His best lap of 1.25.678 being cancelled by the race stewards. Third fastest was Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota, 0.280 seconds behind Buemi. 

LMP2 was very close in the final practice session, the first 4 cars only separated by 0.061 seconds. Alex Brundle was fastest overall in his #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 in 1.33.130, the fastest time in LMP2 so far for the weekend. Nico Lapierre showed his speed again in the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut, just 0.014 seconds short of Brundle. A very close third was Alex Lynn in the #26 G-Drive, a whisper of 0.006 seconds behind Lapierre. Thomas Laurent, who lead the class for a long time, rounded out the top 4 with a lap of 1.33.191.

In GTE Pro Ferrari got back on top with Sam Bird in his #71 Ferrari F488. Bird clocked a 1.39.722 which was 0.166 faster than Stefan Mücke in the #66 Ford GT and the #92 Porsche of Kevin Estre. Ben Barker got on top of the GTE Am sheets in his #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche (1.41.6 09), beating Matteo Cairoli in the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche with only 0.005 seconds. After struggling for speed in the first two sessions, the #61 Clearwater Ferrari took third place, just under a second of both Porsches.

FP3 Results
Kristof Vermeulen.