Porsche stay on top as Prologue concludes

The next time the WEC field will be in action will be at Silverstone in two weeks’ time where the true pace and performance hierarchy will be seen for the first time.

Saturday’s running began with a four-hour session held in cool, sunny and thankfully less windy conditions than yesterday.

Timo Bernhard set the fastest time with a 1m39.157s lap as the teams elected for longer runs this morning. The German slightly outpaced Audi Sport Team Joest’s André Lotterer by 0.356s.

In LMP2 it was the #26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2-Nissan at the top of the times, as Julien Canal turned in a 1m47.760s lap. Canal’s time just beat reigning ELMS champion Nelson Panciatici’s 1m47. 950s time in the Signatech Alpine-Nissan.

Fernando Rees claimed the top spot in LMGTE Pro, taking the Aston Martin Vantage he shares with Alex MacDowell and Richie Stanaway this season to P1 in class with a 1m57.331s.

The LMGTE Am best was set by Stuart Hall in the #96 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8. The British racer peaked on a 1m57.116, which was his best lap of the test so far.

After ‘The Avener’s’ beat-thumping lunchtime festivities concluded most the cars returned to the track.

Porsche Team again enjoyed a 1-2 at the top of the screens with the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Neel Jani outpacing the #17 sister car, with Timo Bernhard in the cockpit, by just 0.041s.

The two new-look Audi R18 e-tron quattros again placed third and fourth with Marcel Fässler setting a time just 0.407s adrift of the leading Porsche. Lucas Di Grassi set the fourth best time – 1m40.153s - for the #8 Audi Sport Team Joest entry.

The session was shortened by 15 minutes after Mike Conway stopped the #2 Toyota TS 040 HYBRID out on the track after an incident with the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Toni Vilander.

G-Drive again led the way in LMP2 but this time it was the #28 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan which was quickest. Colombian driver Gustavo Yacaman, who shares the cockpit with Pipo Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez, set the time of 1m48.588 to lead the # 43 Team SARD Morand car, driven by Tristan Vautier, by just under 0.3s.

Aston Martin Racing again claimed the best time in the LMGTE class with Marco Sørensen continuing to accrue valuable testing miles as he gets ready for his endurance racing debut. The Dane set a best time of 1m57.675 in the #95 car.

Dempsey-Proton Racing finished a very encouraging test at Circuit Paul Ricard to lead the field in LMGTE Am. A 1m58.473 set by Klaus Bachler was just under a second quicker than the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.

The appetites of WEC drivers, teams, media and fans alike has been well and truly whetted by two days of track action. All that is left to be said are three very special words. Bring on Silverstone!

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