Porsche dominate Paul Ricard prologue

March 30, 2015

Porsche dominate Paul Ricard prologue

March 30, 2015

AUTO - WEC TESTS AT PAUL RICARD 2015Porsche won the final race of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship and judging from their pace at the 2015 pre-season prologue at Paul Richard, more victories could be around the corner.

Porsche topped all five sessions of the test with Swizetrland’s Neel Jani bagged the fastest time of the two days (1m37.220s) in the N°17 Porsche 919 Hybrid. That’s 4.069s better than last year’s pre-season test!

The German manufacturer’s new 2015-spec 919 Hybrids, now running in the 8MJ category, were fastest in all five sessions which totalled 18 hours of track time over the two days. Jani’s best lap, posted during the night-time run, was a 4.069s improvement over 2014, and 3.975s better than Nicolas Lapierre’s pole-winning performance for the 2010 8 Hours of Le Castellet in the Peugeot 908 HDi FAP.

Porsche also clocked up the fastest top speed (338.6kph) and the two cars added 4,188km to the 26,000km the German team had already covered since January. With just two weeks to go until the first race of 2015, it has every reason to feel confident.

Porsche Team: Neel Jani“The development and test work was very good, but you’re never finished with that business,” Jani said.

“Since the Prologue we know that we can expect tight competition in Silverstone. For me it is a kind of home race, because part of my family lives in the UK.

“Despite the new part of the track, it is still a fast one and really old-school. In recent years there have been more and more spectators for the WEC race and I hope this continues. The Brits really enjoy good motorsport.”

Next in the order were the No.7 and No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattros (4MJ) which recorded best times of 1m39.058s (Benoît Tréluyer) and 1m39.354s (Loïc Duval) respectively. The fastest times of the two Toyota TS040 Hybrids (6MJ) were 1m39.949s (Anthony Davidson) and 1m40.819s (Alex Wurz). Meanwhile, ByKolles Racing’s new non-hybrid CLM P1/01 completed 1,100km, with Liuzzi posting a 1m46.983s.

The fastest LM P2 prototype over the two days KCMG’s new Oreca05-Nissan thanks to Matt Howsson’s 1m47.456s on Friday evening. Last year’s benchmark in the class was 1m48.970s (Shinji Nakano). Seven cars (five different chassis) lapped within the same second as Howsson, which points to the thrilling season.

The fastest LM GTE car was the No.96 ‘Am’ Aston Martin in the hands of Stuart Hall whose 1m57.116s was 0.215s better than Fernando Rees in the No.99 ‘Pro’ Aston.

The six ‘Pro’ cars were covered by less than a second as Aston Martin, Ferrari (fastest lap: 1m57.440s, Bruni) and Porsche (1m57.976s, Christensen) shared the different session ‘wins’.

The entire field totalled 5,197 laps round the 5,791km circuit, equivalent to 30,095km!

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