Silverstone WEC: Porsche 1-2 in first practice


Porsche made an early statement during the first practice session of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship by setting the fastest lap overall.

Defending world champion Timo Bernhard topped the timesheets in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, setting a 1:42.182 toward the end of the 90 minute session.

Practice began on a wet track after heavy rain hit the circuit in the morning, but by the end of the session a clear dry line had emerged.

That enabled Bernhard to set a lap that came within a tenth of a second of the fastest time from first practice last year.

Second overall was the sister Porsche, driven by Marc Lieb. The German driver’s time of 1:42.996s gave a 0.814s gap between the identical cars at the end of the session, continuing Porsche’s form from the Prologue.

Toyota finished third, a second and a half off the pace, with Kazuki Nakajima pedalling the #5 car to a 1:43.917 best. Nakajima and Kamui Kobayashi, driving the #6 Toyota TS050, were split by the #8 Audi R18 of Oliver Jarvis which set a 1:43.917.

In LMP2, reigning champion G-Drive Racing took fastest lap honours, thanks to a 1:50.428 from new signing Rene Rast.

Nelson Panciatici finished second for Baxi DC Racing, 0.85 adrift in the #35 Alpine A460, while Filipe Albuquerque put the RGR Sport by Morand Ligier JS P2 in the top three.

GTE was a tale of two halves, with the AF Corse Ferraris seemingly struggling for pace in the wet before coming alive toward the end of the session. James Calado took the fastest lap in Pro, setting a 2:01.067 aboard the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE, while Davide Rigon in the sister #71 car finished second.

The sole 2016-spec Porsche 911 RSR ended the afternoon third with current champion Richard Leitz behind the wheel, while Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK occupied the next two places.

In GTE-Am, AF Corse ensured a sweep of the production-based categories as Rui Aguas set a table-topping 2:04.093 in the sole Ferrari 458 Italia. Second and third in class were the Gulf Racing and Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSRs.

Free practice two for the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone gets underway later today (April 15) at 16:30.