Image credit: Nick Dungan – AdrenalMedia.com.
It looked like the no8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro was going to post the fastest lap of the second 90-minute Free Practice session with Lucas Di Grassi’s 1m47.684, but Timo Bernhard in the No17 Porsche 919 Hybrid beat it with just three minutes left on the clock. Run in darkness, as the final hours of the race will be, the German posted a 1m47.442 lap, 0.242 quicker than the Audi to ensure Porsche claimed the top position in both of today’s Free Practice sessions.
The no18 Porsche, in the hands of Romain Dumas was third quickest, just 0.55 seconds ahead of the second No7 Audi. The two Toyota TS040 HYBRIDS were fifth and sixth fastest once again, with the no1 car heading the no2 by less than a tenth of a second. However, both cars received five minute stop and go penalties for abusing track limits in the final 30-minutes of the session.
The no 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier set the pace in LMP2, pushing the no47 KCMG Oreca off the top spot, with Sam Bird setting a time of 1m55.874, nearly two seconds quicker than the best time posted in the first Free Practice session.
Nicolas Lapierre had earlier gone off the track at T11 and the KCMG Oreca had to be snatched from the gravel trap, causing a Full Course Yellow to be declared for three minutes. At the chequered flag the Hong Kong based team was four tenths behind the Russian Ligier and 1.3 seconds ahead of the third placed car, the no36 Signatech Alpine.
Porsche fight back in LMGTE Pro
Porsche fought back in Free Practice 2 to claim the top LMGTE Pro time and give the perfect answer to Ferrari’s domination of the first session this afternoon.
Patrick Pilet headed the times for the vast majority of the session after setting the best class time of 2m06.041s in the first 15 mins. The French ace posted a fastest lap just 0.113s faster than FP1 pace setters, the No71 AF Corse entry. James Calado again claimed the fastest time in the Ferrari 458 Italia.
The second of the Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 911 RSRs, driven by Michael Christensen, placed third. The Dane managed a 2m06.369s lap to ensure the top three was covered by a mere 0.280s.
Points’ leaders, Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander continued to complete more laps after losing the majority of the first session after an electrical problem stopped their Ferrari 458 Italia. They placed fourth on a 2m06.652s lap in the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.
Runaway LMGTE Am points leaders SMP Racing enjoyed a significant gap to the opposition in Free Practice 2 after Victor Shaytar set a blistering pace of 2m06.547s in the blue, red and white Ferrari 458 Italia.
The experienced Italian’s time was never threatened and was almost 0.7s ahead of the No.77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 RSR. Pat Long set a time of 2m07.245s to continue a fine start for the car which he shares with Patrick Dempsey and Marco Seefried.
The final 60-minute Free Practice session is scheduled to get underway at 10.30am tomorrow morning.