Text: Rick Kiewiet
Images: FIA WEC / Adrenal Media
After yesterdays' qualifying session, the first six cars of each class advance to Hyperpole, today at 11.30 CET. In the hyperpole session, each car is allowed only 1 run to set a time.
As there are only 5 cars competing in LMP1, this automatically means all will join the last session that determines the grid for Saturday. The #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and José Maria Lopez came to a laptime of 3:17:089, which was 0.247 seconds faster than the #8 sister car. Buemi, Nakajima and Hartley in turn were 4.2 seconds quicker than the first Rebellion, the #1 of Senna, Nato and Menezes. The #4 ByKolles and the other Rebellion follow in 4th and 5th.
The Toyota's gain most time in and out of the corners, as the top speeds of both Rebellions are significantly higher than the TS050's (344kph over 336kph in qualifying). Rebellion might not have shown the back of its tongue, as last year they were well capable of driving a 3.16 lap time. This was underlined in yesterday evening's FP3, in which Rebellion topped the charts with the #3, almost 2 seconds faster than in the first qualifying session.
Last year's F2 champion Nyck de Vries advances to the hyperpole session leading the LMP2 class. In the #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca he drove a 3.26.648, 0.449 seconds faster than Will Stevens in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Oreca. United Autosports advances with two cars, the #22 of Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta was third, the #32 with Will Owen, Job van Uitert and Alex Brundle was 5th. The #26 G-Drive and #33 High Class Racing entries advance as 4th and 6th.
Qualifying was dominated by Oreca chassis': the first 16 places were of the same manufacturer (although some re-branded Aurus or Alpine). Of the five cars using Goodyear tires, one made it to hyperpole: the #37 is fitted with American rubber, the rest uses Michelin.
In GT Pro, Aston Martin was slightly quicker than the competition. The #95 with Nicky Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Richard Westbrook was a mere 0.053s quicker than the #97 of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell. They were the only cars under the 3.51, last year's winners in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Daniel Serra stopped the stopwatch at 3.51.244. The #71 AF Corse Ferrari and both Porsches advance to the hyperpole session as 4th, 5th and 6th.
Aston Martin was also the car to beat in GT Am, as the #98 Aston Martin Racing and #90 TF Sport Aston's led the field. The #86 Gulf Racing Porsche, was only 0.009s away, followed by the #61 Luzich Racing Ferrari and the Porsches of Dempsey-Proton (#77) and Project 1 (#56).