WEC: Porsche secures one-two in qualifying for 6 Hours of Silverstone

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Porsche has delivered on the promise that it showed during pre-season testing by securing a one-two finish in qualifying for the opening round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone on Saturday.

After putting both Audi and Toyota in the shade at Paul Ricard last month, the German marque produced another dominant display during qualifying for the 6 Hours of Silverstone as the no. 17 car of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley secured pole position for the first race of the year.

A two lap average of 1:39.721 was six-tenths better than that of the sister Porsche, the no. 18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, as the team’s second year in LMP1 began in style.

Audi and Toyota were unable to put up a serious challenge for pole position, but did come close to splitting the Porsches. Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis will start from third place on the grid after finishing with an average that was just 0.012 seconds down on the no. 18’s, whilst defending WEC champions Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi had to settle for P4 alongside Kazuki Nakajima in the no. 1.

Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer will start tomorrow’s race from P5 on the grid after they finished 1.4 seconds down on Porsche’s best time, with the second Toyota of Alexander Wurz, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin ending P6 on Saturday.

In LMP2, G-Drive carried its practice form into qualifying by also going P1 and P2 as its cars were separated by just 0.062 seconds on the final timesheets. Class pole went to the no. 28 of Gustavo Yacaman, Luis Felipe Derani and Ricardo Gonzalez, whilst KCMG proved to be the Russian outfit’s most serious challenger in third place, some 1.3 seconds behind.

Not wishing to be outdone by Porsche or G-Drive, Aston Martin Racing went one better in GTE Pro by taking the top three positions in class. Pole position went to the all-Danish no. 95 of Christoffer Nygaard, Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim as the no. 99 and no. 97 were forced to settle for P2 and P3 respectively.

Porsche Team Manthey qualified as the ‘best of the rest’ in fourth place with the no. 91 of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen finishing ahead of AF Corse’s no. 51 Ferrari in fifth, the sister no. 92 Porsche 911 RSR in P6 and the final AF Corse car of James Calado and Davide Rigon at the back of the class.

To make the day all the sweeter for Aston Martin Racing, the no. 98 of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda secured GTE Am pole position ahead of the no. 50 Larbre Corvette and the no. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing car, which finished in second and third place respectively.

For the complete classification from qualifying, click here.

The 6 Hours of Silverstone kicks off at midday local time on Sunday (7a ET), with live timing available at www.fiawec.com.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”