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Porsche Dominates Prologue Test at Paul Ricard

Porsche dominates FIA WEC Prologue at Paul Ricard…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Porsche has ended the Prologue on top, with the pair of new Porsche 919 Hybrids dominating the two-day FIA World Endurance Championship pre-season test at Paul Ricard.

The German manufacturer topped the time charts in all five sessions, with a 1:37.220 lap time set by Neel Jani during a simulation qualifying run on Friday night holding as the quickest of the weekend.

It was nearly two-seconds clear of the competition, with Benoit Treluyer’s 1:39.058 lap set in the No. 7 Audi R18-etron quattro being the best of the non-Porsches following their 1-2 performance.

The pair of Audis were third and fourth quickest, followed by the two Toyota TS040 Hybrids, which were nearly three seconds adrift from the pace-setting Porsche.

Saturday’s final session ended nearly 15 minutes early after the No. 2 Toyota of Mike Conway jumped over a curb and stopped on track, after apparently avoiding the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia of Toni Vilander.

KCMG’s new Oreca 05 Nissan led the way in LMP2, thanks to Matt Howson’s 1:47.456 lap time, also set in the night session.

The debuting French coupe was three-tenths quicker than the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Ligier JS P2 Nissan of Julien Canal, with the No. 36 Signatech-Alpine A450b Nissan completing the top-three in class.

While the Hong Kong-backed team got off to a quick start, it wasn’t without drama, as the car crashed in the opening session, followed by further delays this morning. However, both Nick Tandy and Nicolas Lapierre gained seat time in the car.

Aston Martin Racing led the way in both the GTE classes, with the No. 99 Vantage V8 of Fernando Rees edging out the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni by one-tenth in GTE-Pro.

Stuart Hall, meanwhile, topped GTE-Am in the Gulf Racing-backed Aston, some seven-tenths ahead of the No. 66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Kuba Giermaziak, who ended the test second quickest in class.

Hall’s time was in fact quickest of the GTE cars altogether.

A total of 30 cars took part over the two-day test, although a handful of entries elected to sit out the final day, including American squad Tequila Patron ESM, which completed the minimum amount of laps on Friday.

Both of the OAK Racing-run G-Drive Ligier JS P2 Nissans didn’t take to the track until Friday evening, while the No. 35 OAK Ligier-Nissan battled engine issues on day one and a minor accident this morning.

RESULTS: Prologue (Combined)

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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