Saturday 2 September 2017

FIA WEC - 6 Hours of Mexico: Porsche dominates first practice sessions

Porsche has dominated both 90 minute free practice sessions ahead of the 6 Hours of Mexico tomorrow. André Lotterer was fastest on a drying track yesterday, Brendon Hartley topped the timesheets today in the second free practice. 

In a dry session this morning, laptimes dropped significantly compared to yesterday. Hartley did a 1.25.007 in his #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, 0.484 seconds ahead of Nick Tandy in the #1 Porsche. Both Toyota's struggled for pace as they lost over 1.6 seconds compared to Porsches quickest times. Jose Maria Lopez was the quickest man in the #8 Toyota in this session in 1.26.681.  

Ho Pin Tung lead the LMP2 class in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca with a 1.33.390, outpacing Alex Lynn in the #26 G-Drive Oreca who set a 1.33.666 on the timetable. Bruno Senna was now the fastest driver in a Vaillante Rebellion, putting the #31 in third place, just under half a second from Ho Pin Tung. 

The Aston Martins outpaced the competition in the GTE Pro class. Marco Sorensen went quickest in the #97 Vantage V8 in 1.39.931, ahead of the co-driver Nicki Thiim. Daniel Serra put the #95 Aston on the second place with a 1.40.202. His teammate Darren Turner was fourth fastest overall. The first non Aston Martin driver was James Calado in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, 0.381 seconds behind Sorensen. 

In the GTE AM class, Matteo Cairoli had 2 perfect runs so far being fastest in both practice session. His fastest lap this morning was a 1.41.536, which put him 0.367 seconds ahead of Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin.  Ben Barker was third fastest in the #96 Porsche in a 1.41.979. 

Porsche also dominated yesterdays first 90 minute practice session in the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.  

André Lotterer set the fastest time on a drying track in his #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid with a 1.27.026.  Second fastest was the #2 sister car of Earl Bamber, 0.649 seconds behind Lotterer.  The Toyota's were on top of the timesheets at the start of the session, but lost time to the Porsches when the track started to dry out. Mike Conway was fastest in the #7 TS050 (1:28.029), Sebastian Buémi in the #8 Toyota (1:29.131). 

Nicolas Lapierre set the pace in the LMP2 class, steering his #36 Signatech Alpine round the Mexican track in 1.35.556. Mathias Beche in the #13 Vaillante Rebellion was second fastest, 0.367 seconds behind the Frenchman. Bruno Senna in the second Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 was third fastest, 0.657 seconds behind Lapierre. Roman Rusinov (#26 G-Drive) and Vitaly Petrov (#25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing) completed the top 5. 

In GTE-Pro we saw three different cars on top of the timesheets. James Calado was fastest in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari F488 in 1.41.101. Fred Makowiecki placed his #91 Porsche 911 RSR on second place, just 0.076 seconds behind the Ferrari.  Aston Martin Racing completed the top 3 with Nicki Thiim behind the wheel of the #95 Vantage V8. 

GTE-Am saw the older – naturally aspirated – cars outpace the turbocharged Ferrari's. Matteo Cairoli drove the fastest lap in the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche (1.42.469) ahead of Ben Barker in the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche (1.42.576) and Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Vantage V8. 

The final practice session and qualifying is set for this afternoon local time in Mexico.

Kristof Vermeulen.