Porsche continued to be the pace setters in the final Free Practice session before today’s qualifying session at the Lone Star Le Mans at COTA.
The No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid set the fastest time of the 60-minute session with Brendon Hartley topping the timing screens on a 1m46.435s. This was 0.8s faster than Romain Dumas’ quickest from yesterday’s session.
The No.18 Porsche 919 Hybrid placed second, just 0.346s behind the No.17 machine this morning. Neel Jani set the time this morning on a 1m46.781s.
Audi was just over a second in arrears to the leading Porsche time with Loic Duval peaking on a 1m47.436 to claim the Audi Sport Team Joest squad’s fastest time of the weekend so far.
The No.7 Audi R18 etron quattro continued to fightback after losing most of the first Free Practice session due to an alternator problem. The Andre Lotterer, Benouit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler crewed No.7 car placed fourth on a 1m48.207s lap.
Toyota continued to place in their now customary fifth and sixth positions. The No.2 Toyota TS040 HYBRID was ahead of the No.1 car this time. Mike Conway and Sebastien Buemi set the best times respectively.
Rebellion was 1-2 in the privateer LMP1 category. Again, the No.12 Rebellion R-One-AER outpaced the sister Anglo/Swiss entered car. The ByKolles CLM P1/01-AER was further back compared to yesterday in third place.
The LMP2 class continued to be fiercely contested as the top five positions were frequented by five different chassis makes.
The Signatech Alpine A450B led the way with Paul-Loup Chatin setting a fine 1m56.178 lap. This time was still 0.3s shy of Sam Bird’s best from the FP2 session last night.
Second in LMP2 was the title leading KCMG placed third with Nicolas Lapierre setting a 1m56.655 best in the ORECA 05-Nissan.
Team SARD Morand Morgan Evo with Oli Webb driving, turned in the best time so far for the Swiss entered team. The British racer stopped the clocks at 1.56.454 to place third.
A fine fourth and continuing a competitive start to the Lone Star Le Mans weekend was the No.30 Extreme Speed Motorsport Ligier-HPD driven by Ryan Dalziel.
The title chasing No.26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan had a troubled session after an incident with the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR at Turn 10. Both cars returned to the track after a red flag was waved for some debris on the track.
Like the LMP1 class, Porsche was again quickest in the LMGTE Pro class with the No.92 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Patrick Pilet atop the timing screens with a 2m05.134s lap, which was the fastest in class so far this weekend.
Gianmaria Bruni ensured that the reigning champion AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia was still in touch with the Porches in second place with a 2m05.799s lap. The No.51 car is catching up for some lost time after suffering another electrical issue yesterday.
Third in LMGTE Pro was the No.91 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR of Richard Lietz on a 2m05.521s.
LMGTE Am saw Aston Martin fight back and claim the top position with Pedro Lamy stopping the clocks at 2m06.639s. The experienced Portuguese racer led the No.50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7 which continued its impressive showing so far. Paolo Ruberti set the second best time in class with a 2m06.760s tour.
The qualifying sessions this evening get underway with the LMGTE class session at 5.45pm local time.