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.