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Porsche Quickest in Mixed-Condition Opening Test Session at Le Mans

Neel Jani tops time charts in opening test session at Le Mans…

Photo: Brecht Decancq

Photo: Brecht Decancq

Porsche has topped the time charts in a mixed-condition opening test session at Le Mans.

The No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani reeled off a best lap of 3:21.945 early in the four-hour session, outpacing LMP1 rivals Audi and Toyota in dry conditions.

Jani’s time was set prior to the arrival of rain shortly after 10:30 a.m. local, which saw the 8.5-mile circuit either in damp or full wet conditions for the remainder of the morning.

The Nos. 9 and 7 Audi R18 e-tron quattros were second and third quickest, respectively, with the No. 17 Porsche in fourth and the No. 8 Audi completing the top-five overall.

Toyota ended the session sixth and seventh overall, with the TS040 Hybrids running five seconds slower than the leading Porsche.

All three of the debuting Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs failed to set representative times, with the No. 23 car quickest of the entries in 16th overall, and more than 20 seconds adrift, slotting behind the pace-setting LMP2 cars.

The No. 22 Nissan stopped at the Dunlop Curve to bring out the first red flag, while the No. 23 car also ground to a halt with electrical issues but managed to return to the pits in the final hour of the session.

The second red flag was for debris spread by the No. 4 ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 AER, which shredded a left-rear tire and damaged the engine as well.

LMP2 saw the No. 34 OAK Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Laurens Vanthoor go quickest, thanks to the Belgian’s 3:41.919 lap time, also set in the early stages.

Engine issues, however, parked the black-and-pink-liveried car in the final 90 minutes of the session.

The No. 36 Signatech Alpine A450b Nissan and No. 47 KCMG Oreca 05 Nissan completed the top-three in class.

Corvette Racing (GTE-Pro) and AF Corse (GTE-Am) paced the production-based classes in the session.

Rain continues to be in the forecast for this afternoon, with the final four-hour session set to get underway at 2 p.m. local.

RESULTS: Test Session 1

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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