Le Mans 24 Hours 2017: #1 Porsche outpaces Toyota in free practice

Porsche set the pace in free practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours, with Neel Jani posting the fastest lap of the session with just five minutes to go

Le Mans 24 Hours 2017: #1 Porsche outpaces Toyota in free practice

It had looked like Toyota would continue to set the pace after dominating the pre-event test day, but Jani's 3m20.362s in the dying moments of practice provided a boost to Porsche ahead of qualifying.

The #1 919 Hybrid finished up 0.604s faster than Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID.

The Japanese driver only joined the fray with 45 minutes of the four-hour long session to go and was instantly on the pace, setting a 3m20.996s lap to put the #7 TS050 HYBRID car fastest.

Kobayashi then spun exiting the final corner when trying to find further time, and had to settle for second best.

The #9 Toyota in the hands of marque returnee Nicolas Lapierre was at the head of the leaderboard for the majority of the session with a time set very early on.

But he was then demoted down the order by the #2 Porsche with 2015 winner Earl Bamber at the wheel of the 919 Hybrid.

Bamber finished third on a 3m21.687s, 1.3s down on Jani, and less than a tenth of a second ahead of Sebastien Buemi in the #8 machine.

All five of the manufacturer cars finished with times relatively close together with Lapierre ending up fifth and only 1.6s behind Jani.

Besides Kobayashi's rotation there was little incident in the session with all five cars setting around 50 laps.

The ByKolles CLM completed the sextet of LMP1 cars but only set 24 laps with fluid reported to be leaking from it.

Its best time of 3m27.828s was 6.8s slower than Kobayashi but was still three seconds quicker than the fastest LMP2 machine.

LMP2: LYNN LEADS ORECA BATTLE

Former Williams junior Formula 1 driver Alex Lynn set the pace in LMP2 driving the #26 G-Drive ORECA.

He went top with just under 40 minutes remaining in the TDS-run machine with a time of 3m30.363s.

This relegated the #13 Rebellion ORECA, which held top spot for over two hours thanks to the pace first of Nelson Piquet Jr and then Mathias Beche, to second place.

The Rebellion car was 1.3s slower than Lynn, with the sister #31 car third fastest in the hands of Bruno Senna and less than a tenth further behind.

Having mixed it near the top of the timesheets for the first three hours of the session, the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs ended up fourth and fifth.

Ho-Pin Tung ensured the #38 machine that won the Silverstone World Endurance Championship opener was the faster of the two, with Tristan Gommendy setting a time good enough for fifth during the final hour.

This shuffled the #21 DragonSpeed ORECA, which had been as high as second in the hands of Ben Hanley, down to sixth by the chequered flag.

As anticipated, ORECA dominated with 14 of the leading 15 cars. The best non-ORECA was the #27 SMP Dallara, which ended up 10th thanks to Victor Shaytar's lap just over four seconds off the pace.

The best of the Ligiers was the #32 United Autosports entry of Filipe Albuquerque in 16th. The sole Riley Mk30, run by Keating Motorsports, was slowest.

Former Ferrari Formula 1 ace Rubens Barrichello was 19th quickest on his Le Mans 24 Hours debut in the #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara he shares with 1988 winner Jan Lammers.

GTE: BIRD PUTS FERRARI AHEAD

Ferrari set the pace in GTE Pro courtesy of a late flyer by Sam Bird in the #71 AF Corse 488 he shares with Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, but Aston Martin and Chevrolet led the majority of the running.

The #95 Aston Martin flew early on in the hands of Marco Sorensen, leading for much of the first half of the session, but was eventually outpaced by Chevrolet, Ferrari and Ford and then suffered a rear-left puncture at the end of the third hour while Richie Stanaway was at the wheel.

After keeping a low profile during the first two hours of the session, Chevrolet picked up the pace and a 3m56.004s lap set by Jan Magnussen at the end of the third hour stood as the fastest time of all - until Darren Turner beat it with a 3m55.299s in the #97 Aston during the last half hour.

Bird then brought Turner's tenure at the top to an end with a 3m54.832s, but the #51 AF Corse couldn't quite match the sister car's pace despite the best efforts of James Calado, whose late 3m55.504s was good for third.

The #95 Aston returned to the track in the hands of Nicki Thiim, who demoted the Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor to fifth with a 3m55.925s in the final half hour.

Aston Martin's factory-entered #98 Vantage shared by Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy set the early GTE Am pace in the hands of Lauda before being supplanted by a flying Fernando Rees in the #50 Larbre Competition Corvette, whose 3m58.234 was faster than anything the works Chevrolets running in the Pro class could manage.

Rees handed over to Le Mans first-timer Christian Philippon, who promptly shunted the car at the exit of the Porsche Curves.

Larbe remained at the top of the timesheets for a further hour while the car sat in the garage before Alvaro Parente beat Rees's time in the #60 Clearwater Racing Ferrari. That car later suffered a front-left puncture at the end of the third hour while still leading the class.

In the final hour Lamy returned the #98 Aston to the top with a 3m56.082s lap that remained the benchmark until the end of the session.

FREE PRACTICE RESULTS

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 LMP1 N.Tandy, A.Lotterer, N.Jani Porsche LMP Team Porsche 3m20.362s - 50
2 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, S.Sarrazin Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m20.966s 0.604s 51
3 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche LMP Team Porsche 3m21.687s 1.325s 56
4 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m21.775s 1.413s 50
5 LMP1 J.M.Lopez, Y.Kunimoto, N.Lapierre Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m21.975s 1.613s 54
6 LMP1 O.Webb, M.Bonanomi, D.Kraihamer ByKOLLES Racing Team ENSO CLM/NISMO 3m27.828s 7.466s 24
7 LMP2 A.Lynn, R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m30.363s 10.001s 47
8 LMP2 N.Piquet Jr., M.Beche, D.H.Hansson Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 3m31.666s 11.304s 50
9 LMP2 N.Prost, B.Senna, J.Canal Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 3m31.749s 11.387s 49
10 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m32.025s 11.663s 45
11 LMP2 T.Gommendy, A.Brundle, D.Cheng Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m32.286s 11.924s 47
12 LMP2 B.Hanley, F.Rosenqvist, H.Hedman Dragonspeed - 10 Star ORECA/Gibson 3m32.491s 12.129s 30
13 LMP2 E.Collard, M.Vaxiviere, F.Perrodo TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m32.910s 12.548s 47
14 LMP2 V.Petrov, S.Trummer, R.Gonzalez CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m34.053s 13.691s 37
15 LMP2 R.Dumas, G.Menezes, M.Rao Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 3m34.356s 13.994s 35
16 LMP2 E.Trouillet, E.Guibbert, J.Winslow Graff ORECA/Gibson 3m34.479s 14.117s 47
17 LMP2 M.Aleshin, S.Sirotkin, V.Shaytar SMP Racing Dallara/Gibson 3m34.507s 14.145s 34
18 LMP2 J-E.Vergne, J.Hirschi, T.Graves CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m34.806s 14.444s 32
19 LMP2 R.Bradley, J.Allen, F.Matelli Graff ORECA/Gibson 3m34.950s 14.588s 44
20 LMP2 M.Rojas, R.Hirakawa, J.Gutierrez G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m35.505s 15.143s 30
21 LMP2 N.Panciatici, A.Negrao, P.Ragues Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 3m35.862s 15.500s 35
22 LMP2 F.Albuquerque, W.Owen, H.de Sadeleer United Autosports Ligier/Gibson 3m35.977s 15.615s 43
23 LMP2 A.Belicchi, R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara/Gibson 3m36.085s 15.723s 35
24 LMP2 N.Berthon, T.Buret, F.Barthez Panis Barthez Competition Ligier/Gibson 3m36.096s 15.734s 44
25 LMP2 R.Barrichello, J.Lammers, F.van Eerd Racing Team Nederland Dallara/Gibson 3m37.679s 17.317s 42
26 LMP2 V.Capillaire, M.McMurry, M.Patterson Algarve Pro Racing Ligier/Gibson 3m37.726s 17.364s 43
27 LMP2 N.Moore, K.Chandhok, P.Hanson Tockwith Motorsports Ligier/Gibson 3m37.913s 17.551s 42
28 LMP2 P.Lafargue, P.Lafargue, D.Zollinger Idec Sport Racing Ligier/Gibson 3m39.807s 19.445s 46
29 LMP2 K.Calko, R.Breukers, M.Konopka ARC Bratislava Ligier/Gibson 3m40.379s 20.017s 32
30 LMP2 J.Nicolet, P.Nicolet, E.Maris Eurasia Motorsport Ligier/Gibson 3m42.850s 22.488s 41
31 LMP2 J.Bleekemolen, R.Taylor, B.Keating Keating Motorsports Riley/Gibson 3m43.372s 23.010s 27
32 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 3m54.832s 34.470s 42
33 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam, D.Serra Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m55.299s 34.937s 53
34 GTE Pro A.P.Guidi, J.Calado, M.Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari 3m55.504s 35.142s 36
35 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m55.925s 35.563s 50
36 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, J.Taylor Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet 3m56.004s 35.642s 49
37 GTE Pro T.Vilander, G.Fisichella, P.Kaffer Risi Competizione Ferrari 3m56.079s 35.717s 24
38 GTE Am P.Lamy, M.Lauda, P.D.Lana Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m56.082s 35.720s 49
39 GTE Pro R.Briscoe, S.Dixon, R.Westbrook Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 3m56.563s 36.201s 35
40 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet 3m56.934s 36.572s 48
41 GTE Pro J.Hand, T.Kanaan, D.Muller Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 3m56.935s 36.573s 40
42 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki, P.Pilet Porsche GT Team Porsche 3m57.013s 36.651s 45
43 GTE Pro M.Christensen, D.Werner, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 3m57.069s 36.707s 45
44 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, P.Derani Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 3m57.319s 36.957s 37
45 GTE Pro O.Pla, S.Mucke, B.Johnson Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 3m57.472s 37.110s 40
46 GTE Am A.Bertolini, N.Jonsson, T.Krohn DH Racing Ferrari 3m57.540s 37.178s 35
47 GTE Am W.Stevens, D.Vanthoor, R.Smith JMW Motorsport Ferrari 3m57.614s 37.252s 35
48 GTE Am A.Parente, H.Katoh, R.Wee Clearwater Racing Ferrari 3m57.797s 37.435s 45
49 GTE Am F.Rees, R.Brandela, C.Philippon Larbre Competition Chevrolet 3m58.234s 37.872s 20
50 GTE Am T.Bell, B.Sweedler, C.MacNeil Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m58.511s 38.149s 43
51 GTE Am A.Balzan, C.Nielsen, B.Curtis Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m58.559s 38.197s 39
52 GTE Am M.Griffin, K.Sawa, Mok W.S. Clearwater Racing Ferrari 3m58.901s 38.539s 46
53 GTE Am R.Bell, E.Hankey, S.Yoluc TF Sport Aston Martin 3m58.940s 38.578s 47
54 GTE Am M.Cioci, A.Scott, D.Cameron Spirit of Race Ferrari 3m59.111s 38.749s 36
55 GTE Am M.Cairoli, M.Dienst, C.Ried Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 4m00.049s 39.687s 43
56 GTE Am R.Gunn, O.Bryant, A.Howard Beechdean AMR Aston Martin 4m00.321s 39.959s 49
57 GTE Am O.Beretta, F.Castellacci, T.Flohr Spirit of Race Ferrari 4m00.595s 40.233s 48
58 GTE Am P.Long, A.Al Faisal, M.Hedlund Proton Competition Porsche 4m00.599s 40.237s 41
59 GTE Am B.Barker, N.Foster, M.Wainwright Gulf Racing Porsche 4m01.148s 40.786s 45
60 GTE Am K.Bachler, S.Lemeret, K.Al Qubaisi Proton Competition Porsche 4m01.264s 40.902s 50


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