Both Porsche 919 Hybrid in front after first qualifying
With a strong performance the two Porsche 919 Hybrids came first and second in the first of three qualifying sessions for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The best lap time for the field of 60 cars was achieved by Neel Jani on Wednesday night. Early into the session, the Swiss lapped the 13.629 kilometre long circuit in 3:19.733 minutes. He shares the (662 kW) 900 HP number 2 prototype with Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb. Timo Bernhard achieved the second fastest time today in 3:20.203 minutes, he partners Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber in the number 1 sister car.
In Le Mans three qualifying sessions are held with each of them lasting for two hours. The best lap time achieved in these six hours is the one that decides each car’s grid position. Because the weather conditions are currently tending to be changeable, it is not clear what Wednesday’s time sheets from the dry session may be worth in terms of grid positions. The session was red flagged for about 13 minutes, but not extended. It also saw frequent incidents and yellow flags, which made it difficult to find a clear lap. The second qualifying session for the 24 Hours will take place on Thursday from 19:00-21:00 hrs, with the third and final one following from 22:00-24:00 hrs.
The one and only free practice session of the event was held from 16:00 to 20:00 hrs and also saw Porsche in positions one and two. The fastest laps were achieved by Jani (3:22.011 mins) and Hartley (3:22.550 mins). The four-hour session was hampered partly by rain and interrupted several times because of accidents.
“We got through most things we wanted to, which was good,” said Mark. “There is just one more day of qualifying to go before we get to the real stuff. I think we have done enough practice now, so we are looking forward to the race more and more. The boat is about to leave the jetty.”