WEC: Porsche storms to front-row lock-out in Shanghai


Porsche’s dominant form in the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship continued in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Saturday as it romped to another front-row lock-out.

The no. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard romped to its fourth pole position of the year by seven-tenths of a second, leaving the sister no. 18 entry to settle for P2 for the start of tomorrow’s race.

The result maintains Porsche’s 100% pole record in 2015, as well as extending its streak that dates back to last year’s race in Shanghai.

Audi struggled to match the relentless pace of the Porsche cars once again, being forced to settle for third and fourth place on the grid. The no. 7 entry of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer will start from P4, starting Sunday’s race in Shanghai one point behind Webber, Hartley and Bernhard at the top of the championship standings.

Toyota assumed its usual grid slots of P5 and P6 once again in Shanghai, finishing some three seconds off the pace of the pole-sitters.

LMP2 class pole went to the no. 26 G-Drive of Roman Rusinov, Julien Canal and Sam Bird, with the latter duo sharing duties in qualifying. A blistering lap from Bird saw the Russian team claim pole ahead of the no. 47 KCMG car by six-tenhs of a second, with the second G-Drive runner rounding out the top three.

In GTE Pro, defending champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander claimed their second pole position of the season in the no. 51 AF Corse entry, heading up a one-two for the Ferraris ahead of the no. 71 of James Calado and Davide Rigon. Aston Martin Racing’s no. 99 was forced to settle for P3, finishing less than three-tenths off the pole time.

AMR hit back in GTE Am, though, as the no. 98 of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda charged to pole by less than two-tenths of a second, edging out the British marque’s no. 96 entry. The no. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette finished third as the Ferrari and Porsche privateer entries struggled for pace in qualifying.