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.

Former 5-time ALMS and Le Mans-winning team owner Dave Maraj killed in accident

Photo courtesy Dave Maraj Facebook page
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Well-known sports car team owner and automobile dealership owner Dave Maraj was killed Saturday night in a boating accident in Florida, according to SportsCar365.com.

Maraj’s Champion Racing teams won five consecutive American Le Mans Series championships from 2004 through 2008, and also captured the overall win in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2005, the last American team to do so in the iconic sports car race.

IMSA President Scott Atherton released the following statement mourning Maraj’s passing:

Dave Maraj. Photo courtesy IMSA.

“All of us at IMSA are shocked and saddened by the news of Dave Maraj’s passing. As a team owner in the American Le Mans Series, Dave and his Champion Racing organization were the epitome of professionalism and excellence, as their five series championships and 24 Hours of Le Mans victory will attest.

“Dave was a tremendous competitor and a great friend to all in the paddock throughout his time in our sport. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dave’s family and friends and to all of his associates at Champion Motors.”

Maraj was a very successful automobile dealership owner, most notably Champion Motors and Champion Porsche in Pompano Beach, Florida, the latter considered the No. 1 Porsche dealer in the U.S.

Details of how Maraj died have not been released.

Maraj sold his racing operation after the 2008 season and devoted himself to his Porsche and Audi auto dealerships, as well as competitive sailing.