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.

Ken Roczen signs with HEP Progressive Ecstar Suzuki for 2023

Roczen Progressive Ecstar Suzuki
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ANAHEIM, California – Ken Roczen will make the move from HRC Honda to H.E.P. Motorsports with the Progressive Ecstar Suzuki team, ending a long and eventful offseason that saw his split from his longstanding team after he committed to running World Supercross (WSX).

“H.E.P. Motorsports is thrilled to announce that the team has signed Ken Roczen as its premier rider for the 2023 season,” the team announced on Instagram. “Former AMA Motocross champion Roczen will be aboard a Suzuki RM-Z450. Roczen, who won his most recent championship on a Suzuki, will be reunited with the brand and bring his exciting style, determination, and grit back to the RM Army.

“Ken Roczen will compete in the upcoming 2023 Supercross and Motocross Championship series which is set to start on January 7 at Anaheim Stadium in Southern California.”

For Roczen, it is a return to the bike of his youth and on which he had some of his greatest professional success.

“This thing has been going on for weeks and weeks and weeks in the making, but there was so much uncertainty,” Roczen told NBC Sports during Monster Energy Supercross Media Sessions. “It was a very unique situation. I just finally signed two nights ago, so it’s really only legit once the ink hits the paper. It’s been in the works for a long time, but there were just a lot of questions and a lot of input from a lot of other teams too.

“Good things take time, and I’m okay with that. I grew up riding Suzuki. Ot’s like a homecoming. It’s a special feeling”

Roczen won the 2016 Lucas Oil Pro Motocross Championship on a Suzuki before making the move to Honda. That year he won nine of 12 Nationals and finished no worse than second as he easily outpaced Eli Tomac by 86 points. He finished third in his next Pro Motocross outing in 2018 after sitting out the outdoor season in 2017.

“I am beyond excited to reconnect with Suzuki for the 3rd time in my career. We’ve had a lot of success in the past and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish together in our future.” Roczen said in the Instagram post.