Audi on top once again in second Nürburgring WEC practice

1 Comment

NÜRBURGRING – Audi set the pace in the second free practice session ahead of this weekend’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring as its duel with Porsche at the top of the timesheets continued.

Following a two-month break, the FIA World Endurance Championship returns this weekend at the Nürburgring for the fourth round of the 2015 season.

As we saw at Le Mans in June, Audi and Porsche are set to battle for top honors at their home circuit, and with just 0.079 seconds separating the top three cars in FP2, a thrilling battle appears to be on the cards.

Audi’s no. 7 car of Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer bounced back from an early excursion into the gravel to top FP2 with a fastest lap of 1:37.862 seconds.

Treluyer’s late lap was enough to displace the no. 17 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley from the top of the timesheets, which finished just 0.059 seconds behind in second place.

Porsche’s pace was underpinned by the no. 18 car of Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani, which finished a further 0.02 seconds down in P3. The Audi no. 8 car rounded out the top four, albeit a second back from its rivals.

Toyota endured another difficult session as its cars finished fifth and sixth overall, over 1.7 seconds down on the Audi in fourth place.

In LMP2, G-Drive led the way once again with a one-two finish in a reverse order to Friday’s FP1 session. The no. 26 of Julien Canal, Roman Rusinov and Sam Bird finished 1.7 seconds clear of the no. 28 car. Strakka Racing’s no. 42 rounded out the top three a further 0.044 seconds behind.

Aston Martin Racing hit back in GTE Pro to lock out three of the top four positions in class. The no. 99 of Fernando Rees, Richie Stanaway and Alex MacDowall finished just 0.038 seconds clear of AF Corse’s no. 51 car. The no. 97 and no. 95 followed within seven-tenths of the leading GT car.

SMP Racing bounced back from a difficult morning to top the GTE Am class standings, posting a fastest lap of 1:56.238 to finish half a second clear of AMR’s no. 98. Larbre Competition’s Corvette rounded out the top three a further three-tenths of a second back.

The drivers will get one final chance to practice at the Nürburgring on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying in the afternoon. The six-hour race kicks off at 1pm local time (CET) on Sunday.

Zach Veach splits with Andretti Autosport for rest of IndyCar season

Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
1 Comment

Zach Veach will be leaving his Andretti Autosport ride with three races remaining in the season, choosing to explore options after the decision was made he wouldn’t return for 2021.

In a Wednesday release, Andretti Autosport said a replacement driver for the No. 26 Dallara-Honda would be named in the coming days. The NTT IndyCar Series will race Oct. 2-3 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course and then conclude the season Oct. 25 on the streets of St. Petersburg, Florida.

Veach was ranked 11th in the points standings through 11 races of his third season with Andretti. Since a fourth in the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, he hadn’t finished higher than 14th.

“The decision was made that I will not be returning in 2021 with Andretti Autosport in the No. 26 Gainbridge car,” Veach said in the Andretti release. “This, along with knowing that limited testing exists for teams due to COVID, have led me to the decision to step out of the car for the remainder of the 2020 IndyCar season. I am doing this to allow the team to have time with other drivers as they prepare for 2021, and so that I can also explore my own 2021 options.

“This is the hardest decision I have ever made, but to me, racing is about family, and it is my belief that you take care of your family. Andretti Autosport is my family and I feel this is what is best to help us all reach the next step. I will forever be grateful to Michael and the team for all of their support over the years. I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for a relationship that started many years ago with Road to Indy. I will also be forever grateful to Dan Towriss for his friendship and for the opportunity he and Gainbridge have given me.

“My love for this sport and the people involved is unmeasurable, and I look forward to continuing to be amongst the racing world and fans in 2021.”

Said team owner Michael Andretti: “We first welcomed Zach to the Andretti team back in his USF2000 days and have enjoyed watching him grow and evolve as a racer, and a person. His decision to allow us to use the last few races to explore our 2021 options shows the measure of his character.

“Zach has always placed team and family first, and we’re very happy to have had him as part of ours for so many years. We wish him the best in whatever 2021 may bring and will always consider him a friend.”

Andretti fields five full-time cars for Veach, Alexander Rossi, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Marco Andretti and Colton Herta.

It also has fielded James Hinchcliffe in three races this season.