Porsche sent out a strong statement of intent in qualifying for the second round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday by securing the top three positions on the grid ahead of tomorrow’s six hour race.
The German marque displayed a good pace throughout pre-season testing at Paul Ricard in France, and put its superior, straight-line speed to good use through the Ardennes forest in qualifying.
After a wet Thursday practice, conditions were dry and cool on Friday, allowing the drivers to smash the WEC lap record at Spa-Francorchamps by four seconds.
Porsche remained in control for the entire session, and it was the No. 17 car of Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley which secured pole position. Mark Webber will join the duo for the race on Sunday.
Joining the No. 17 on the front row is Porsche’s third car entry for Spa, the No. 19, piloted by Nick Tandy and Force India F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg. The German will start his first ever WEC race from second place on the grid ahead of the no. 18 of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.
Audi was unable to answer the pace shown by Porsche on Friday, finishing seven tenths of a second adrift of pole position. The No. 7 of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer will start fourth on Saturday ahead of the No. 8 of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis.
Toyota’s miserable weekend continued in qualifying as the No. 1 car of Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson – reduced to a two-man effort after Kazuki Nakajima’s crash in practice – finished sixth ahead of the sister No. 2 car in seventh place. Audi’s third car, the No. 9, will start eighth.
G-Drive resumed normal service in LMP2 by claiming class pole with the No. 26 of Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal and Sam Bird. KCMG will start from second in class with the No. 47 ahead of Team SARD Morand’s no. 43 and the second G-Drive car in fourth place.
Aston Martin Racing’s strong showing in GTE Pro at Spa continued in qualifying as the No. 99 of Fernando Rees, Alex MacDowell and Richie Stanaway edged out Ferrari’s AF Corse team for pole position by just 0.070 seconds. Defending WEC champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander will start from second place on the grid ahead of the No. 97 AMR car of Darren Turner, Stefan Mucke and Rob Bell.
In GTE Am, there was yet more delight for AMR as Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda claimed the class pole position, beating the Larbre Competition Chevrolet by 1.1 seconds at the top of the timesheets.
For the complete results from qualifying, click here.