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FIA WEC Prologue: Paul Ricard, Saturday Morning Session

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The number of cars on track built steadily through the session but Millennium Racing were packing up as we arrived this morning, their running is done for the Prologue.

Halfway through the session we hadn’t seen the #2 Audi and the #53 RAM Ferrari had completed just a pair of out-in cycles without setting a flying lap time.

The Audi though did eventually emerge and was soon in amongst the factory thrash.

In fact the session was led from early on by the #1 Audi.

We believe meanwhile that the best lap time of the test so far, Brendan Hartley’s 1:41.289 yesterday is just a tenth outside the best LMP1 lap time seen here, that by the Oreca-run Peugeot 908 HDI FAP during the 8 hour race meeting here in 2010, Nicolas Lapierre posting a 1:41.195.

James Calado is settling in nicely to his new role as a Ferrari factory driver – There’ll be a longer interview with James on DSC laster this week: “There’s a lot to learn but the team are just fantastic.

“I’m not struggling too much to adapt to the traffic, but my first night session last night was a bit of an eye opener, concentrating on and adapting to darkness is one thing but then you have the massive disco lights of n LMP1 to deal with too – I settled into it though.”

The AF Corse team have one days testing after today prior to Silverstone which will be the first time that both new cars for the GTE pro class in 2014 will have run together.

Gimmi Bruni meanwhile was here yesterday but ran only today. The reigning GTE World Champion expressed himself to be: “very pleased to be with Toni (Vilander) this year in the #51 car. The Championship looks good once again though we don’t really know yet where the Ram car is the Porsche looks very strong and the Astons will be there too for sure.”

Fabio Leimer will drive the Rebellion Lola again before the close of the test this evening but he is already enthused about the FIA WEC: “It’s very clearly a very professional Championship. The competition is very strong and there will be a lot to think about after today.” We then wait to find out whether the Swiss decides on signing for the team.

The session saw Audi top the times for the first time at a session end so far this weekend, Tom Kristensen doing the honours in the #1 R18 e-tron quattro.

Times at the end of the 4 hour session:

1 Audi 1:43.017
14 Porsche 1:43.341
20 Porsche 1:43.344
8 Toyota 1:43.764
2 Audi 1:43.974
7 Toyota 1:44.069
12 Lola 1:47.726
13 Lola 1:48.238
27 SMP Oreca 1:51.318
37 SMP Oreca 1:51.652
26 G-Drive Morgan 1:51.698
47 KCMG Oreca 1:51.814
92 Porsche 1:58.329
75 Prospeed Porsche 1:58.641
52 RAM Ferrari 1:58.817
71 AF Corse Ferrari 1:58.990
88 Proton Porsche 1:59.617
81 AF Corse Ferrari 1:59.682
61 AF Corse Ferrari 2:00.007
90 8Star Ferrari 2:00.197
95 Aston Martin 2:00.564
99 Aston Martin 2:00.822