WEC: Brendon Hartley leads Porsche 1-2 in Sao Paulo opening practice


Porsche’s No. 20 919 Hybrid led the way in today’s opening practice for the World Endurance Championship’s six-hour season finale at Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Brendon Hartley put the No. 20 at the top with his lap of 1 minute, 19.172 seconds, which was a little more than three-tenths of a second faster than Porsche’s sister car, the No. 14 919 Hybrid, driven by Romain Dumas (1 minute, 19.511 seconds).

After the twin Porsches was the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro in third with Formula E championship leader Lucas di Grassi at the controls (1 minute, 19.770 seconds).

Toyota’s No. 8 TS040 Hybrid, driven by Anthony Davidson, was fourth (1 minute, 20.303 seconds), and another Audi, the No. 2 R18 e-tron quattro, rounded out the Top 5 (1 minute, 20.320 seconds). The No. 8 Toyota camp (Davidson/Sebastien Buemi) clinched the WEC driver’s championship in the last round at Bahrain.

In LMP2, whose title remains undecided going into Sao Paulo, G-Drive’s Olivier Pla was quickest in the No. 26 Ligier/Nissan with a lap of 1 minute, 25.670 seconds.

G-Drive carries a slim, eight-point lead over Sergey Zlobin of SMP Racing, who was second in class during opening practice (1 minute, 26.587 seconds).

James Calado piloted the No. 71 Ferrari F458 Italia to the top of the GTE-Pro category with a lap of 1 minute, 31.592 seconds – just enough to knock AF Corse’s sister car, the No. 51 (Gianmaria Bruni/Toni Vilander), off of P1.

And in the GTE-Am class, the No. 95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 (Nicki Thiim/David Heinemeier Hansson/Kristian Poulsen) led the way with a lap of 1 minute, 32.011 seconds.

Second in GTE-Am was the No. 61 AF Corse Ferrari that’s being co-driven this weekend by two-time F1 World Champion and Indy 500 winner Emerson Fittipaldi; one of his teammates, Alessandro Pier Guidi, ran the No. 61’s fastest lap (1 minute, 32.183 seconds).