Porsche ends Paul Ricard WEC test fastest with Brendon Hartley

Porsche maintained its monopoly on the top spot on the timesheets in the fifth and final session of the official World Endurance Championship test at Paul Ricard

Porsche ends Paul Ricard WEC test fastest with Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley set the fastest time of the two-day test in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid over the course of Saturday's three-hour afternoon session.

His 1m37.448s eclipsed team-mate Neel Jani's previous test best of 1m37.487s, set in the Friday night session, by just four hundredths of a second.

Both drivers set their times during a qualifying simulation run.

Third fastest behind the two Porsches - which ran one day of the test each - was the solo Toyota TS050 HYBRID.

Stephane Sarrazin set a 1m38.273s aboard a car that was shared by the two Toyota crews during a new-tyre run in Saturday's morning session.

Benoit Treluyer set the fastest Audi time aboard the new R18 e-tron quattro on the final afternoon with a 1m38.827s.

Porsche was only just over two tenths slower than its best time from the corresponding test last year despite a reduction in the per-lap fuel allocation of approximately eight per cent.

It was, however, running the high-downforce aerodynamics it will race at the Silverstone WEC opener on April 17 rather than the less favourable, lower-drag set-up it tested at Ricard last year.

Jani told Autosport: "Our times show that we have did some good work over the winter improving the car.

"It is not a true comparison, but it is an indication of where we are."

Toyota expressed satisfaction with its test performance, which resulted in an improvement from last year of nearly 1.7 seconds.

"We have had two good days of testing, but we are not jumping up and down," said Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon.

The new R18 had "a productive two days", according to Audi Sport Team Joest boss Ralf Juttner.

"We had little issues that lost us time yesterday, but the car ran without problems today," he said.

The Signatech Alpine squad took top spot in LMP2 with a 1m46.974s lap from Nicolas Lapierre aboard its Nissan-ORECA 05 this morning.

That put him just two hundredths ahead of Jonny Kane's day-one best in Strakka Racing's Gibson-Nissan 015S.

The two AF Corse Ferrari 488s were quickest in GTE Pro: Gianmaria Bruni ended up on a 1m57.808s and Sam Bird on a 1m58.083s.

The times in the class should not be regarded as representative, however.

Bruni's best was more than half a second slower than the fastest GTE time last year despite new regulations that give the cars more power and more efficient aerodynamics.

Paolo Ruberti was quickest in GTE Am for the Larbre Competition Chevrolet team.

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Brendon Hartley keeps Porsche on top in Paul Ricard WEC test

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