Porsche has ended the opening day of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season on top, with its pair of 919 Hybrids leading both Free Practice sessions for Sunday’s Six Hours of Silverstone.
Brendon Hartley was quickest on the mixed-condition Friday, having taken his No. 1 entry to a best lap of 1:39.655 on a drying track in FP2. It was some 1.6 seconds faster than the sister car of Romain Dumas, which had an eventful afternoon session.
Dumas’ co-driver Marc Lieb was hit by a GT car and spun into the gravel at Turn 7, sustaining right-rear tire damage and bringing out a Full Course Yellow. Lieb returned to the pits under the car’s own power after being retrieved from the gravel.
It was the only notable incident of the 90-minute session, which ended in wetter conditions.
Audi ended the day third quickest, with the No. 8 Audi R18 of Loic Duval recording a 1:41.454 lap in FP2, outpacing Kamui Kobayashi’s No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid by 0.069 seconds.
The No. 7 Audi of Marcel Fassler completed the top-five overall and in the LMP1 class, although some two seconds slower than Hartley’s pace-setting time.
As was the case in LMP1, all of the class-leading times were set in FP2, which saw Strakka Racing end quickest in class with its Gibson 015S Nissan.
Jonny Kane reeled off a 1:49.632 to edge out the No. 44 Manor Oreca 05 Nissan of James Jakes by 0.064 seconds.
The No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460b Nissan of Gustavo Menezes was third quickest in FP2 and combined on the day.
Ferrari continued to lead the way in GTE-Pro, with James Calado’s 2:00.107 ending up quickest of the day in the hotly contested class.
The pair of AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE cars were 1-2 in class, followed by the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR, thanks to a 2:01.314 lap set by Richard Lietz in FP2.
Gulf Racing, meanwhile, led the way in GTE-Am with its Porsche 911 RSR, improving on Rui Aguas’ best time in FP1 by some two seconds.
Free Practice 3 is set for 9 a.m. local time on Saturday, and rain is again in the forecast.
RESULTS: Free Practice 2