Porsche put in a 1:48.965 lap to finish off at the top of the table for Friday’s second Free Practice session at the World Endurance Championship’s Six Hours of Nurburgring.
With the German round effectively a ‘home’ round for all of the LMP1 factory teams (with Toyota being based approx. 1hr away in Cologne) the pressure was on from the start in all three camps to step up and set the pace. Porsche held the top spot for the majority of laps with the #1 919 Hybrid with the session’s only yellow flag being thrown when the #2 Porsche stopped Turn 1 then a FCY while the car was recovered. Audi’s #7 R18 claimed the evening’s second fastest lap with a 1:41.011 while the sister #8 rounded out the fastest three of the class. Rebellion agin set the fastest time in the LMP1 Privateer’s class with a 1:46.790.
LMP2 again proved that it could well be the class to watch when G-Drive showed the Oreca 05 – Nissan’s pace clocking in a 1:48.965 lap putting them 1.1s ahead of Strakka in second. Manor showed again that although they are WEC debutants experience of running race teams at the highest level will always hold in good stead with their cars placing third and fifth in class.
Lewis Williamson shone in his debut in Strakka’s Gibson Nissan, taking to the car as if he’d been driving it all year. By the end of the session he’d put in a 1:50.031 with the ageing Strakka chassis taking second overall – surely a great omen for Saturday’s qualifying?
The second session GTE Pro was dominated early on by the Ferraris and a lone Ford; however with 23 minutes left to run Darren Turner topped the GTE time sheets in the #97 Vantage clocking in a 1:56.908 whihc would give him the overall fastest time of the session. The #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE clocked in a 1:56.982 to seal the second fastest time, just 0.08s behind Turner’s Aston. AF Corse’s sister #71 car closed out the fastest three with a 1:57.187. The #67 #BritPack Ford failed to impress throughout the session and ended the session languishing over a second behind its #68 sister car.
In the GTE Am class things were as tight as ever with on three tenth’s of a second separating the top three places. The #83 Ferrari F458 Italia ended up taking class honours for AF Corse with the Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06 hot on it’s heels clocking in a 1:59.323. The #88 Abu-Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR rounded out the top three signalling that tomorrow’s qualifying will be anything but boring!
Aston Martin’s Pedro Lamy was called to the Race Director’s Office for a dressing down at the end of the session.