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

Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley lead Porsche qualifying sweep…

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)

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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