6H Mexico: Audi tops Thursday free practice

Credit: Adrenal Media

Audi recorded a one-two during opening free practice for the Mexican round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Andre Lotterer set the quickest time of the 90 minute session, turning in a 1:26.705 aboard the #7 Audi R18.

Lotterer will share the car with Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer during Saturday’s six hour race.

Second fastest in practice was the sister Audi, driven by Lucas di Grassi. The Brazilian’s time was 0.194 seconds slower than Lotterer, but was still good enough to put the German manufacturer clear at the top of the timesheets.

Di Grassi will partner Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval in the #8 car, which is currently second in the championship.

Porsche 919 Hybrids occupied the next two positions, with Brendon Hartley reeling off a 1:26.948s time to go third quickest in the #1 car. That was enough to edge out Romain Dumas in the points leading #2 machine, with the Frenchman clocking an effort that was exactly half a second shy of the overall pace.

Completing the top five was the #5 Toyota, which is running without Anthony Davidson this weekend.

The #6 Toyota was forced to sit out Thursday’s free practice session following a crash during the collective test earlier in the day. Driver Stephane Sarrazin was uninjured in a heavy shunt on the pit straight, but lengthy repairs would be necessary to get the car ready for Friday qualifying.

In LMP2, Manor drew first blood of the weekend as Richard Bradley paced the field.

Bradley’s 1:36.755s effort was enough to place the British squad’s ORECA-Nissan 05 a tenth of a second in front of the ESM Ligier-Nissan JSP2 driven by Ryan Dalziel.

Making it three British drivers in the top three was Alex Brundle, who turned in a 1:37.142s lap in the G-Drive Racing ORECA-Nissan 05.

Completing the top five were Baxi DC Racing’s Stephane Richelmi (Alpine-Nissan) and SMP Racing’s Vitaly Petrov (BR01-Nissan).

GTE-Pro saw Aston Martin set the pace with Nicki Thiim setting the primary benchmark.

A 1:40.685s lap from the Danish driver edged out the #51 AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado by 0.770 seconds.

Porsche netted a one-two at the sharp end of GTE-Am, with Gulf Racing’s Adam Carroll pipping Proton Competition’s Patrick Long to the fastest lap.