Porsche dominates FIA WEC prologue
Porsche head into the FIA World Endurance Championship season as overwhelming favourites after topping the times in all five sessions at the Paul Ricard prologue.
The reigning world champions posted the fastest time of the two-day test in Saturday’s final session, with Kiwi Brendon Hartley clocking a 1:37.448 lap of the French circuit.
Hartley’s time was four hundredths of a second quicker than the effort set by his team-mate Neel Jani in the sister car during Friday’s night session.
Porsche elected to split its two entries over the two days with the #2 of Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas running on Friday, with the #1 of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Hartley taking to the track on Saturday.
Despite the new regulations limiting fuel flow to the engines, Porsche, who ran its high downforce package, were only 0.2s adrift of their best time set last year.
Toyota’s new TS050 made an impressive debut with the Japanese manufacturer third fastest overall.
The team elected to run just one TS050 with all its drivers enjoying outings in the car. Stephane Sarrazin set the best time which was 0.8s adrift of the leading Porsche.
Benoit Treluyer posted the fastest time for Audi with the Frenchman chalking up a 1:38.2s behind the wheel of the German marque’s new R18 e-tron quattro.
The Signatech Alpine topped the times in LMP2 thanks to Nicolas Lapierre’s effort, which was three thousandths of a second faster than the Jonny Kane’s time in the Strakka Racing entry.
AF Corse’s two Ferrari 488s dominated GTE Pro with the top Chip Ganassi Ford GT in third 0.8s shy of the Italian squad.
The Labre Competition Corvette was quickest in GTE Am.
The opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season begins at Silverstone from April 15-17.