André Lotterer’s 1:39.201 in the #7 Audi topped the timing screens in the first competitive session of the weekend at the Nürburgring on a drying circuit.
Rain came down in the run up to the 90 minute session, making the track very tricky for the drivers as they turned in their first laps. 30 of the 31 cars made it out, the absentee being the #43 Morand Morgan which arrived at the circuit soon after the session ended, it’s due to make its first appearance in FP2.
The times tumbled as the session ran on, when the rain stopped, the early laps coming in roughly 10 seconds slower than the ultimate pace.
The #18 Porsche 919 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb finished up 0.075 off Lotterer’s time after a quick lap from Jani; both of the Porsche’s P1 cars led much of the mid portion of the session as a dry line formed. Loïc Duval put the #8 Audi third a further six tenths back, just 0.05 quicker than the #19 Porsche.
Quickest of the Toyota’s was the #2 TS040 of Mike Conway, Stéphane Sarrazin and Alex Wurz, rounding out the top five; but a 1.41.8122 was the best lap from the trio, 2.6 off the leading R18.
Top of the LMP2 class was the #28 G-Drive Ligier which managed a 1:46.631 late in the session with Gustavo Yacaman driving. A 1:46.631 was the Columbian’s best effort, and ended up being a second clear of the sister #26 JSP2 that finished second. Yacaman’s tour was also eight tenths quicker than the quickest of the LMP1-L entries: Rebellion Racing’s #12 R-One.
Up front throughout the session was the Strakka Racing Gibson, which in the wet conditions was the quickest of the class when Jonny Kane was aboard.
The British squad managed third by session end, and have every right to be confident ahead of qualifying and the race.
AF Corse started the weekend strong, going fastest in both GTE classes. The #51 of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander (1:55.661) and the #83 of François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas (1:57.876) led Pro and Am respectively for almost the entire 90 minutes. In Pro, the #71 of Davide Rigon and James Colado made it an AF 1-2 by coming home second, both reeled off laps a second clear of the rest of the class.
There was one short red flag period in the session for debris on track, despite the greasy surface there were thankfully no major incidents.