Porsche sweeps opening day of WEC Prologue at Paul Ricard

© Adrenal Media/FIA WEC

Porsche picked up where it left off at the end of last year’s FIA World Endurance Championship season by leading all three sessions on the opening day of collective testing at Paul Ricard in France.

The beginning of the WEC Prologue saw Porsche go head-to-head with LMP1 rivals Toyota and Audi on-track for the first time in 2016.

Porsche hit the ground running with the updated 919 Hybrid car to lead the majority of the day, the fastest time eventually being set by Neel Jani.

Jani recorded a best lap of 1:37.487 to finish eight-tenths of a second clear of Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima in second place, finishing just one-quarter of a second behind the fastest time from 2015.

Audi failed to put up much of a challenge to the leading two manufacturers as it encountered a number of problems with the new R18 car.

Andre Lotterer suffered a stoppage during the final two-hour night-time session that brought Audi’s day to an early end, while an issue had also sidelined the German marque during the afternoon running.

In LMP2, Strakka Racing set the pace in the afternoon session, recording a best lap of 1:46.976 that would go unbeaten when night fell to leave the British team at the top of its class for day one.

The new AF Corse no. 51 driver pairing of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado quickly got to work with the new Ferrari 488 GTE as they led the GTE Pro class, while the Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette was quickest in GTE Am.

The Prologue continues on Saturday at Paul Ricard with another two sessions.