Austin WEC: Neel Jani takes dramatic pole for Porsche

Porsche driver Neel Jani returned to the track for a second qualifying run to claim pole position together with Marc Lieb for the Austin round of the World Endurance Championship

Austin WEC: Neel Jani takes dramatic pole for Porsche

Jani had been only fourth and nearly two seconds off the pace after a problem with the energy-retrieval systems left him with no hybrid boost on his first timed lap in the #18 Porsche.

Marc Lieb vaulted the 919 Hybrid up to second behind the sister car with a 1m46.405s before Jani got back in to set a 1m46.018s on old tyres to grab the extra point for pole position.

Jani and Lieb's laps combined to make an average of 1m46.211x, which was 0.164s ahead of that of team-mates Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

"I had zero hybrid boost, which gives you a brake problem, so I just had to finish the lap," said Jani.

"Audi was still close after Marc's lap, which is why I went out again.

"I never thought I could do a lap like that on old tyres."

Jani's problem on his first timed lap, following an early red flag, also cost the sister car time because he accidentally baulked Hartley.

Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval were third fastest in the #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro on a 1m47.538s average.

Audi, unlike Porsche, didn't use a second set of fresh tyres on either of its two cars.

Andre Lotterer had been quicker than Jarvis after the first runs, but team-mate Benoit Treluyer dropped to fourth, admitting that he "was not ready for qualifying" after getting limited running through free practice.

Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima just edged out Toyota team-mates Mike Conway and Alex Wurz to claim fifth.

Matt Howson and Richard Bradley claimed LMP2 pole for the KCMG squad despite bringing out the red flags when the team's ORECA-Nissan 05 was hit by a fuel pressure problem leaving the pits at the start of the session.

The team managed to fix the problem after the car was returned to the pits through the infield, after which Howson set third best time in class.

Bradley's second lap was enough to give them pole with a 1m56.834s average.

That was three tenths up on the second-placed G-Drive Ligier-Nissan JSP2 qualified by Julien Canal and Sam Bird, who set the fastest single P2 lap of the session.

Aston Martin claimed pole in GTE Pro after Richie Stanaway set the fastest lap in class to propel the Vantage GTE in which team-mate Fernando Rees had initially been fourth fastest to the top of the order.

Stanaway set two laps in the 2m05s bracket on fresh rubber, his second time of 2m05.672s reducing the car's average to 2m05.872s.

Manthey Porsche duo Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen ended up second with a 2m06.134s average after using only one set of Michelins between them.

Class points leaders Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander were only sixth in the their AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia having complained of an understeering car.

Patrick Long and Patrick Dempsey claimed GTE Am honours for the Proton Porsche team.

QUALIFYING TIMES:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 1m46.211s -
2 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 1m46.375s 0.164s
3 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m47.538s 1.327s
4 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m47.898s 1.687s
5 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota 1m48.990s 2.779s
6 LMP1 A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway Toyota Racing Toyota 1m49.176s 2.965s
7 LMP1 N.Prost, M.Beche, N.Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 1m53.950s 7.739s
8 LMP1 A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.Abt Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 1m54.506s 8.295s
9 LMP1 S.Trummer, P.Kaffer Team ByKolles CLM/AER 1m55.794s 9.583s
10 LMP2 R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 1m57.148s -
11 LMP2 G.Yacaman, P.Derani, R.Gonzalez G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 1m57.474s -
12 LMP2 S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.H.Hansson Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 1m57.621s -
13 LMP2 P.Ragues, O.Webb, A.Hamilton Team SARD Morand Morgan/SARD 1m58.109s -
14 LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan 1m59.749s -
15 LMP2 E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.Fogarty Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 2m01.480s -
16 GTE Pro F.Rees, A.MacDowall, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m05.872s -
17 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 2m06.134s -
18 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m06.272s -
19 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, C.Nygaard Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m06.294s -
20 GTE Pro P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 2m06.363s -
21 GTE Pro G.Bruni, T.Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 2m06.786s -
22 GTE Pro D.Rigon, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 2m06.975s -
23 GTE Am P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 2m08.085s -
24 GTE Am F.Castellacci, B.Simonsen, S.Hall Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m08.264s -
25 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 2m08.332s -
26 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m08.440s -
27 GTE Am V.Shaytar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov SMP Racing Ferrari 2m08.442s -
28 GTE Am G.Roda, P.Ruberti, K.Poulsen Larbre Competition Chevrolet 2m08.802s -
29 LMP2 N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 1m57.860s -
30 LMP2 M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Lapierre KCMG ORECA/Nissan - -
31 GTE Am C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, E.Bamber Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche - -

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