Mark Webber fastest in Le Mans 24 Hours free practice for Porsche

Ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber set the pace in free practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours, beating the 2014 pole position time as Porsche led the way

Mark Webber fastest in Le Mans 24 Hours free practice for Porsche

Webber's #17 car topped the timesheets after coming out on top in a duel with the #19 Porsche of Nick Tandy just after the halfway point in the four-hour session.

Tandy had taken the #19 car back over from Earl Bamber after the Kiwi got out of shape at the first Mulsanne chicane and got the car stuck in the gravel.

Romain Dumas also beat last year's pole-position time, set by Toyota's Kazuki Nakajima, with 22 minutes remaining and moved ahead of Webber in the process.

But Dumas had to cut the first part of the final chicane on his quickest lap in avoidance of a GTE Ferrari, which resulted in a stewards' investigation and the time being deleted shortly after the end of the session.

Audi's Loic Duval prevented a Porsche lockout of the top three spots, getting ahead of the #19 car with a lap squeezed in between the resumption after a red flag and the second of two brief rain showers that interfered with teams' plans.

The #7 and #9 Audis kept 2014 WEC champion Toyota locked out of the top six, with the #1 car of Anthony Davidson leading the second TS040 entry, as neither car got within three seconds of the pace at the front.

All three Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs set times within one second of each other, lapping roughly 19 seconds off the pace and locking out positions 12-14 on the overall leaderboard, with the #21 car of Tsugio Matsuda heading the trio.

KCMG's ORECA-Nissan 05 stopped on track during the opening minutes, but ended practice comfortably fastest in LMP2 and ahead of the three Nissan LMP1s.

A water-pressure problem caused the car to crawl to a halt on its outlap and spend 90 minutes in the garage, but Richard Bradley moved to the top with a 3m41.422s lap within 10 minutes of reappearing.

Bradley improved to a 3m39.897s - two seconds faster than LMP2's test-day benchmark an - shortly afterwards, and finished the session 1.414 seconds clear at the top.

A late run from Laurens Vanthoor took OAK Racing's Honda-powered Ligier to second, ahead of the Thiriet by TDS Racing and Greaves Motorsport entries.

Mark Patterson caused a long red flag when he crashed the Murphy Prototypes ORECA 03R at the Porsche Curves, heavily damaging the car and leading to barrier repairs.

Aston Martin Racing headed both of the GTE categories comfortably.

A series of quick laps from Richie Stanaway culminated in a 3m55.895s, and put the #99 Vantage more than 1.5s clear of the #64 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R.

Tommy Milner's lap in the Pratt & Miller-run Chevy put him between the top two Astons, with Stefan Mucke third quickest in the #97 'art car'.

The lead Porsche was fourth, Patrick Pilet fractionally slower than Mucke, while Davide Rigon's 3m59.653s put the #71 Ferrari 458 Italia best of the AF Corse cars in sixth.

The Italian was slower than the pace-setting GTE Am Aston Martin, which Pedro Lamy guided to a 3m58.783s.

The Portuguese's effort left the #98 Aston almost three seconds clear of the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Long.

FREE PRACTICE TIMES

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time
1 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 3m21.362s
2 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m21.950s
3 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 3m22.059s
4 LMP1 N.Hulkenberg, E.Bamber, N.Tandy Porsche Team Porsche 3m22.819s
5 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m23.051s
6 LMP1 F.Albuquerque, M.Bonanomi, R.Rast Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m23.480s
7 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota 3m24.763s
8 LMP1 A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway Toyota Racing Toyota 3m25.537s
9 LMP1 N.Prost, M.Beche, N.Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 3m28.441s
10 LMP1 A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.Abt Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 3m33.176s
11 LMP2 M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Lapierre KCMG ORECA/Nissan 3m39.897s
12 LMP1 T.Matsuda, M.Shulzhitskiy, L.Ordonez Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m40.332s
13 LMP1 O.Pla, J.Mardenborough, M.Chilton Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m40.429s
14 LMP1 H.Tincknell, M.Krumm, A.Buncombe Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m41.302s
15 LMP2 C.Cumming, L.Vanthoor, K.Estre Oak Racing Ligier/HPD 3m41.311s
16 LMP2 P.Thiriet, T.Gommendy, L.Badey Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA/Nissan 3m41.742s
17 LMP2 G.Hirsch, G.Paletou, J.Lancaster Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 3m42.163s
18 LMP2 R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 3m42.641s
19 LMP2 S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.H.Hansson Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 3m43.344s
20 LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Dome/Nissan 3m43.948s
21 LMP2 L.Roussel, D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung Pegasus Racing Morgan/Nissan 3m43.990s
22 LMP2 M.Aleshin, K.Ladygin, A.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 3m44.482s
23 LMP2 P.Ragues, O.Webb, Z.Amberg Team SARD Morand Morgan/SARD 3m44.767s
24 LMP2 G.Yacaman, P.Derani, R.Gonzalez G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 3m44.794s
25 LMP2 N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 3m44.807s
26 LMP2 M.Mediani, D.Markozov, N.Minassian SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 3m45.233s
27 LMP2 S.Dolan, M.Evans, O.Turvey JOTA Gibson/Nissan 3m45.291s
28 LMP1 S.Trummer, P.Kaffer, T.Monteiro Team ByKolles CLM/AER 3m45.873s
29 LMP2 P.Perret, I.Bellarosa, J.Ibanez Ibanez Racing ORECA/Nissan 3m47.893s
30 LMP2 E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.Fogarty Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 3m48.150s
31 LMP2 T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, J.Barbosa Krohn Racing Ligier/Judd 3m48.840s
32 LMP2 K.Chandhok, M.Patterson, N.Berthon Murphy Prototypes ORECA/Nissan 3m49.427s
33 LMP2 J.Nicolet, J-M.Merlin, E.Maris Oak Racing Ligier/HPD 3m52.979s
34 GTE Pro F.Rees, A.MacDowall, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m55.895s
35 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, J.Taylor Corvette Racing Chevrolet 3m57.539s
36 GTE Pro D.Turner, S.Mucke, R.Bell Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m58.448s
37 GTE Pro P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki, W.Henzler Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 3m58.469s
38 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, R.Briscoe Corvette Racing Chevrolet 3m58.501s
39 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m58.783s
40 GTE Pro D.Rigon, J.Calado, O.Beretta AF Corse Ferrari 3m59.653s
41 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen, J.Bergmeister Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 3m59.892s
42 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, C.Nygaard, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 4m00.034s
43 GTE Pro G.Bruni, T.Vilander, G.Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 4m00.082s
44 GTE Am P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 4m01.611s
45 GTE Am C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, K.Bachler Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 4m02.029s
46 GTE Am G.Roda, P.Ruberti, K.Poulsen Larbre Competition Chevrolet 4m02.332s
47 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 4m02.637s
48 GTE Am J.Bleekemolen, B.Keating, M.Miller Riley Motorsports-Ti Auto SRT/Dodge 4m03.287s
49 GTE Am B.Sweedler, T.Bell, J.Segal Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 4m03.799s
50 GTE Am P.Mann, R.Giammaria, M.Cressoni AF Corse Ferrari 4m03.840s
51 GTE Am A.Al Faisal, K.Giermaziak, M.Avenatti JMW Motorsport Ferrari 4m04.367s
52 GTE Am V.Shaytar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov SMP Racing Ferrari 4m05.137s
53 GTE Am D.Cameron, M.Griffin, A.Mortimer AF Corse Ferrari 4m05.319s
54 GTE Am R.Goethe, S.Hall, F.Castellacci Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 4m05.550s
55 GTE Am J.San Chen, A.Kapadia, X.Maassen Team AAI Porsche 4m05.787s
56 GTE Am H.C.Chen, G.Vannelet, M.Parisy Team AAI Porsche 4m06.704s

shares
comments
ADESS begins building new LMP3 for potential October ELMS debut

Previous article

ADESS begins building new LMP3 for potential October ELMS debut

Next article

Neel Jani takes provisional Le Mans pole position for Porsche

Neel Jani takes provisional Le Mans pole position for Porsche
Load comments
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Plus

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and were considered heavy favourites to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen

Le Mans
Aug 14, 2021
Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Plus

Why Argentina’s current great isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally

WEC
Aug 14, 2021