Porsche 1-2-3 in Qualifying for 6H Spa

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Porsche has swept qualifying for Saturday’s Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, with the German manufacturer lining up 1-2-3 for the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley scored back-to-back poles for the No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, thanks to a record-breaking two-lap average of 1:54.767.

Their time outpaced the No. 19 Porsche, qualified by LMP1 debutants Nico Hulkenberg and Nick Tandy, by 0.258 seconds, with the team’s third entry of Marc Lieb and Neel Jani a further three-tenths back in third.

It marked a dominant run for the German manufacturer, as expected over single-lap qualifying runs with the car’s large-capacity hybrid system, although coming in Porsche’s first race as a three-car effort.

Bernhard dedicated the pole run to the late Stefan Bellof, whom the German is wearing a commemorative in his honor this weekend.

Bernhard and Hartley will share driving duties with Mark Webber on Saturday.

The No. 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler was the best of the rest with a 1:55.540 average, although more than seven-tenths slower than the pole-sitting Porsche.

Audi’s No. 8 entry, also running in Le Mans-spec this weekend, was fourth, while the No. 1 Toyota of Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi completed the top-five overall and in LMP1.

Remarkably, all of the factory LMP1 cars were under last year’s qualifying record.

G-Drive Racing grabbed its second consecutive pole in LMP2, but this time it was the No. 26 Ligier JS P2 Nissan of Sam Bird and Julien Canal.

The pairing teamed for a 2:07.761 average, which edged out the No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan, qualified by Nicolas Lapierre and Matt Howson by 0.158 seconds.

Bird, Canal and Roman Rusinov combined to score class victory last month at Silverstone.

The No. 43 Team SARD-Morand Morgan LMP2 Evo, making its first start of the season, qualified third in class.

Of note, the pair of Tequila Patron ESM Ligier JS P2 Hondas qualified 7th and 9th in class.

The American squad, which makes its first start with the Onroak Automotive-built prototypes, is still coming to grips with the cars, particularly with optimizing its straight-line speed.

The FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps gets underway Saturday at 2:30 p.m. local (8:30 a.m. ET, Live! FOX Sports 1).

RESULTS: Qualifying (LMP1/LMP2)

7 Comments

  1. Matt

    May 1, 2015 at 1:10 pm

    Lol Toyota is an example of what happens when you bring the same car as last year. I hate how so many people are quick to blame everything on budget differences, without even knowing what’s going on. Did you ever think that someone might’ve designed a better car…? The way it’s supposed to be?

    • Thomas

      May 1, 2015 at 1:24 pm

      Sorry I disagree it’s not exactly the same car as last year but not the same leap as the VAG boys.

      This is Motorsport and in the majority of cases money talks. Ok we all know of teams over the years who spends millions and got nothing out of it Toyota anyone?

      The difference is VAG have the money and experience and are willing to spend to win

    • Torgue

      May 1, 2015 at 3:13 pm

      So “what’s going on” then? Porsche has at least twice the budget TMG has, who can’t even afford a third car. The major advancements are within the highly experimental power train and you can burn you cash there in no time. Judging by the race at silverstone the 919 is crushing the others at hot lapping but it’s anyone’s race.

  2. N8

    May 1, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    The qualifying times were just stunning. Goodbye lap records.

    Re: Toyota – they’re way down on trap speed compared to the Audi and Porsche. High downforce set-up? Might stretch tire life tomorrow, but no rain in the forecast.

    • Thomas

      May 1, 2015 at 3:27 pm

      It’s possible that they are maybe testing the possibility of doing one less stop by sticking to a slower delta and getting as much fuel milage as possible.

      This may be Toyotas best chance tomorrow as even Audi and Porsche on pure pace are quicker at the moment

    • Jordan

      May 1, 2015 at 6:15 pm

      The old sportscar lap record was a 1:57.8 by the 2010 Peugeot 908.

      You are right, the times are just stunning.

      If it doesn’t rain at Le Mans, the Le Mans track record is going to go down.

  3. Helmut

    May 2, 2015 at 8:16 am

    I hope the Toyota was indeed on a different set-up, otherwise they have no chance at all. And we all know this would result in a withdrawal sooner or later, independent of whether Toyota has claimed to stay in WEC until at least 2017.

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