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WEC Qatar Prologue: Penske Porsche heads final pre-season test session

The Penske Porsche squad topped the order in the final session of the World Endurance Championship Prologue as Frederic Makowiecki set fastest time of the two-day test in Qatar.

#5 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963: Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Frederic Makowiecki

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Makowiecki posted 1m40.404s in the #5 Porsche 963 LMDh just under an hour into the Tuesday afternoon session of the pre-season test ahead of this weekend’s series opener.

The time from the factory Penske Porsche Motorsport driver gave him a margin of two tenths over second-placed Alex Lynn in the Ganassi-run Cadillac Racing entry.

Lynn jumped to second in the times in the Cadillac V-Series.R during a late flurry of improvements as temperatures cooled at the end of the three-hour session on the Losail International Circuit.

He set a 1m40.621s and then improved to a 1m40.458s to get within six hundredths of Makowiecki.

Yifei Ye moved up moved up to third in the customer AF Corse Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercar courtesy of a 1m40.749s with 15 minutes left on the clock.

The time promoted him ahead of the AF-run factory #51 Ferrari in which Antonio Giovinazzi posted a 1m40.926s late on after losing a slightly faster time to a track-limits violation.

Antonio Fuoco put the second factory Ferrari fifth with a 1m40.968s little more than five minutes before the chequered flag.

Laurens Vanthoor was another late improver in the second PPM 963, a series of quick laps ending with a 1m41.036s that was good enough for sixth.

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

#83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman, Yifei Ye

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

They followed an off from team-mate Kevin Estre at Turn 15 in which the car suffered minor damage to the nose.

The #93 Peugeot 9X8 ended up seventh: Jean-Eric Vergne’s late 1m41.331s knocking four hundredths off Mikkel Jensen’s previous best in the car.

Stoffel Vandoorne improved to within three hundredths of Vergne’s time at the end to take eighth position.

Julien Andlauer took ninth spot in the Proton Competition Porsche with a 1m41.452s set in the middle hour of session four.

BMW claimed 10th courtesy of a 1m41.661s from Marco Wittmann in the best of the WRT team’s pair of factory M Hybrid V8 LMDhs.

The Toyota GR010 HYBRID LMHs ended up 12th and 13th and the two Alpine A424 LMHs 14th and 15th.

The two Jota Porsches and the Duqueine-run Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH Competizione didn’t go out on track on Tuesday afternoon.

Participation was mandatory in the middle two sessions and one other and Jota and Duqueine chose to got out on Monday morning.

#15 BMW M Team Wrt BMW M Hybrid V8: Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann

#15 BMW M Team Wrt BMW M Hybrid V8: Dries Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello, Marco Wittmann

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

Makowiecki and Lynn were first and second fastest in the overall times of the Prologue with Callum Ilott taking third position for the Jota Porsche squad with his 1m40.541s set early in the Monday night session.

Fuoco was fourth quickest overall with his 1m40.673s from Monday, Ye and Giovinazzi fifth and sixth with this Tuesday time and Jenson Button seventh in the second Jota entry.

Silver-rated Erwan Bastard led the way in LMGT3 for the D’station Aston Martin team in the final session.

The Frenchman posted a 1m54.778s in his Vantage GT3, which gave him a margin of just under three tenths over late-improver Francesco Castellacci.

The Italian improved to 1m55.060s in the AF Corse 296 GT3s, which was just under two tenth quicker than third-placed Kelvin van der Linde in the #78 Auto Sport Promotion Lexus RC F GT3.

Fastest time of the Prologue in LMGT3 was set by Greogoire Saucy in the best of the United Autosports McLaren 720S GT3s.

He set a 1m54.480s on Friday night, which was less than a tenth up on David Rigon’s for AF time from the same session.

Track action resumes on the Losail circuit on Thursday with the opening two sessions of free practice ahead of Saturday’s Qatar 1812Km.

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