Porsche, Audi lead Friday practice in WEC opener at Silverstone

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The first day of the 2014 World Endurance Championship season is in the books, with Porsche and Audi leading today’s two practice sessions for Sunday’s curtain-raising Six Hours of Silverstone.

Porsche’s No. 14 919 Hybrid for drivers Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb set the fastest time in Practice 1 at 1:44.042, which was four-tenths quicker than the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Lucas di Grassi, Tom Kristensen, and Loic Duval.

Also not far behind in third place was the No. 8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Nicolas Lapierre, and Sebastien Buemi, who were just less than two-tenths of a second behind the No. 1 Audi.

Those three manufacturers’ sister cars also claimed positions fourth through sixth, with privateers Rebellion Racing winding up seventh in the session at 1.5 seconds off the No. 14’s pace.

The No. 26 G-Drive Morgan/Nissan of Roman Rusinov, Olivier Pla and Julien Canal topped the P2 category (1:51.004), while GTE-Pro was led by Porsche’s No. 91 911 RSR (Patrick Pilet, Jörg Bergmeister, Nick Tandy; 1:58.981). In GTE-Am, the No. 81 Ferrari 458 Italia of Sam Bird, Stephen Wyatt and Michele Rugolo was quickest (2:01.210).

As for the more recent Practice 2, Audi and Toyota turned the tables on Porsche with the No. 1 of di Grassi/Kristensen/Duval logging a 1:43.134 with di Grassi at the controls. The No. 2 Audi (Andre Lotterer/Marcel Fassler/Benoit Treluyer) moved up to second on the time sheets, as Lotterer turned in a 1:43.534.

Toyota’s No. 7 Hybrid for Alex Wurz, Kazuki Nakajima, and Stephane Sarrazin was third-quickest (1:44.097 with Wurz). The WEC’s most-hyped newcomer, Mark Webber, got Porsche’s No. 20 919 up to P4 (1:45.051).

G-Drive’s No. 26 was fastest again in P2 (1:50.401 with Rusinov), while Porsche’s No. 92 911 RSR (Marco Holzer, Frédéric Makowiecki, Richard Lietz) went to the top in GTE-Pro (2:00.455). Another 911, the No. 88 of Christian Ried, Klaus Bachler, and Khaled Al-Qubaisi, led in GTE-Am (2:00.570).

A third practice session and qualifying will take place tomorrow at Silverstone to lead into Sunday’s main event at 7 a.m. ET (12 Noon local time).

Racing world reacts to Danica Patrick’s Daytona, Indy double news

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Here’s a sampling of quotes and social media reaction to Danica Patrick’s news announced earlier Friday that this would be her last full-time season as a driver, and that she’ll race in the Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500 only in 2018.

This ends a full-time stretch in the top flights of NASCAR and IndyCar. She was in NASCAR from 2012 through 2017, and IndyCar from 2005 through 2011.

Her’s her own post on Twitter and Instagram.

Well…. 2018 Daytona 500 and Indy 500 here I come. 🙌🏼

A post shared by Danica Patrick (@danicapatrick) on

IMS President J. Douglas Boles

“We’re glad Danica plans to return to the Indianapolis 500 presented by PennGrade Motor Oil next May,” IMS President J. Douglas Boles said. “Her final career start will make what’s already shaping up to be a terrific Month of May even more interesting for our fans.

“It’s also fitting that Danica is wrapping up her career at the place and in the race where she became a household name and captured the world’s attention in 2005 – the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Indianapolis 500. We’re looking forward to seeing her back in an Indy car next May alongside all of the tremendous drivers of the Verizon IndyCar Series.”

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