919 Hybrid Fastest On Prologue Test Opening Day

by James Broomhead
The three drivers of the #20 919 Hybrid led day one (Credit: Porsche AG)

On the first day of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Prologue test ended with the latest manufacturer to join the championship on top of the timesheets.

Marcel Fassler paced the morning session, an Audi atop the times lending 2014’s first session an almost comforting look. However, from that point on the top spot was a Porsche 919 Hybrid dominated affair.

Timo Bernhard and Mark Webber, both drivers of the #20 Porsche Team entry were first and second respectively in the afternoon session. The third man in that specific car – Brendon Hartley – was then fastest in the night session, beating co-driver Bernhard’s time by nearly half a second with a lap of 1:41.289 as the #20 trio ended the day first, second and third fastest with Andre Lotterer fourth fastest on the day with the 1:42.073 lap that put #2 Audi second fastest in the afternoon.

Stephane Sarrazin was the fastest Toyota Racing driver 1:42.356 in the afternoon session the sixth fastest time of the day, behind Porsche’s Romain Dumas. Loic Duval – seventh fastest among the day’s combined times was the best of the drivers from the #1 team.

Millennium Racing were fastest in all three sessions in LMP2. The #22 Oreca 03-Nissan shared between Fabien Giroux and John Martin was quickest in the morning before the sister #23, with Shinji Nakano the only driver was fastest in both the latter the sessions, the Japanese’s best lap – 1:48.970 – coming in the afternoon session. Olivier Pla was second fastest in class for G-Drive Racing, their Morgan-Nissan the only non-Oreca in the six strong class.

Just as in LMP1 Porsche ended Friday’s running fastest in LMGTE Pro. Fred Makowiecki, a new recruit to Porsche’s works stable having raced for Aston Martin Racing in 2013, was fastest in class (1:58.041) with Richard Lietz – Makowiecki’s co-driver in the #92 911 RSR second fastest.

Having been fastest in the morning and afternoon sessions the Porsche team, the #92 line-up completed by Marco Holzer, were denied a clean sweep by Davide Rigon on AF Corse’s Ferrari.

However, while fastest in the final session the Italian – and Gianmaria Bruni – were most outdone on the day by James Calado, the Brit third fastest in class behind the two Porsche men.

Paolo Ruberti, long a driver associated with Porsche teams in the LMGTE Am class, was fastest in the class, but in 8 Star Motorsports’ Ferrari. He edged out Sam Bird by just four hundredths for the fastest time in the afternoon session, both their times surviving through the night session which Klaus Bachler led for Proton Competition to lead the class times on the first day of two test at Paul Ricard.

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