WEC Austin: Audi leads close first practice with Oliver Jarvis

Oliver Jarvis claimed the top spot for Audi right at the end of opening free practice for this weekend's Austin round of the World Endurance Championship

WEC Austin: Audi leads close first practice with Oliver Jarvis

Jarvis leapfrogged the #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro ahead of Porsche driver Neel Jani with a 1m48.453s on what was his third from last lap of the 90-minute session.

That turned a deficit of 0.050s to the Porsche 919 Hybrid into an advantage of 0.047s.

Jani's 1m48.500s left him four tenths ahead of the second Audi with Andre Lotterer driving at the end of a session in which five of the six factory LMP1 entries ended up within the same second.

Loic Duval and Lucas di Grassi, Jarvis's team-mates in the #8 Audi, also set times in the mid-1m48s.

Timo Bernhard took fourth aboard the second Porsche with a 1m49.248s, while Mike Conway was a shade over a tenth behind in the best of the Toyota TS050 HYBRIDs.

The G-Drive Racing team led the way in LMP2 with a 1m57.000s from Rene Rast aboard its Jota-run ORECA-Nissan 05.

That put him sixth tenths up on the Signatech-run DC Racing Alpine ORECA with Nelson Panciatici at the wheel.

Richard Bradley was a further three hundredths back in third in the Manor team's ORECA

Ford headed the GTE Pro times courtesy of a 2m05.457s from Stefan Mucke aboard the #66 GT.

That put him just over a tenth up on Gianmaria Bruni in the best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs.

Davide Rigon took third spot in the a second AF Ferrari with a time a further three tenths in arrears.

The pole-winning Aston Martin Vantage GTE of the past two races was only fourth in Marco Sorensen's hands, after the British car was given a smaller diameter air-restrictor for Austin under the Balance of Peformance regulations.

Ricky Taylor was fastest in GTE Am aboard Larbre Competition's Chevrolet Corvette C7-R, in which Briton Lars Viljoen has replaced Japanese driver Yutaka Yamagishi.

Porsche factory driver Kevin Estre, who has taken the seat originally earmarked for Klaus Bachler at Austin, was second fastest in class for the Abu Dhabi-Proton squad.

FP1 TIMES

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m48.453s
2 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 0.047s
3 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 0.436s
4 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 0.795s
5 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 0.908s
6 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1.256s
7 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 6.026s
8 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 7.664s
9 LMP2 R.Rusinov, R.Rast, A.Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 8.547s
10 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 9.160s
11 LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, R.Merhi Manor ORECA/Nissan 9.194s
12 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 9.546s
13 LMP2 R.Dalziel, P.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 10.300s
14 LMP2 N.Leventis, L.Williamson, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan 10.358s
15 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 10.567s
16 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Senna, F.Albuquerque RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 11.442s
17 LMP2 V.Petrov, V.Shaytar, K.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 11.498s
18 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 11.674s
19 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 17.004s
20 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 17.107s
21 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 17.370s
22 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 18.181s
23 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 18.446s
24 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 18.771s
25 GTE Am L.Viljoen, P.Ragues, R.Taylor Larbre Competition Chevrolet 18.959s
26 GTE Pro D.Turner, F.Rees Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 19.065s
27 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.H.Hansson, K.Estre Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 19.390s
28 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche 19.921s
29 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 20.183s
30 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 20.611s
31 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 20.660s

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