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Porsche Fastest To Kick Off Sunday’s Prologue Action

Vaxiviere puts TDS on top in LMP2

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In LMP1, Porsche was at the top of the time sheets most of the morning, even while the track was still drying. Neel Jani clocked the fastest lap of the session in the #1 919 Hybrid with a 1:32.020. There was no improvement on the best time set yesterday.

The other Porsche (#2) of Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and brendon Hartley ended in second position, only four thousands of a second behind the sister car. Both 919s demonstrated impressive reliability by covering over one hundred laps each. Because the track was still wet this morning, the conditions improved throughout and lap times became significant some 90 minutes into the session.

Although often the quickest in the Sector 1 of the track (including the long start/finish line straight), Toyotas’ fastest laps were half a second slower than the leading Porsche. The #8 TS050 of Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima and Nicolas Lapierre ended in third position ahead (1:32.500) of #7 of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Yuji Kunimoto (1:32.543).

All LMP1 cars turned laps except the #4 ByKolles LCM P1/01. The car will not be seen this afternoon either, after the team opted to withdraw from the second day. It has been a disappointing weekend overall for ByKolles, as its non-hybrid LMP1 car only covered a handfull of laps in the rain yesterday.

In LMP2 meanwhile, competition continued to be fierce with five different cars leading the time sheets this morning. The #28 TDS Racing Oreca Gibsondriven by Mathieu Vaxiviere set the class leading time (1:36.078) and improved on yesterday’s fastest lap by a few thousands of a second.

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#26 G-Drive Racing ended in second place, nearly half a second behind the #28.

Down in LMGTE Pro, Porsche works cars kept the lead. Kevin Estre reeled off a 1:47.507 onboard #92 Porsche 911. It was no improvement on yesterdays’s fastest lap. The sister car #91 of Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki ended only a few thousands of a second behind (1:47.515)

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In LMGTE Am, Spirit of Race’s Ferrari 488 driven by Spaniard Miguel Molina managed a time 1:50 some forty five minutes before the end of the session (1:49.843). It was a two-tenth improvement on yesterday’s fastest lap set by Ben Barker in Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

Gulf’s car meanwhile finished second in the Am category, some two tenths behind the leading 488 GTE (1:50.010).

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Despite the absence of grip outside the race line, there were only a few significant incidents in the session with two cars spinning at Turn 1, the #28 TDS Racing driven by Matthieu Vaxiviere first and then by Francois Perrodo, and #35 Alpine driven by André Negrao.

The final session of the 2017 WEC Prologue is set to begin at 14:00 local time in Italy.

SUNDAY MORNING TIMES >>