The rain forecast was inconsistent throughout the day, implying one minute that there would be rain from 17:00 EST to the next minute where it would predict no rain until 23:00 EST. However, the rain did hit the track, just as the green flag dropped to start the final session of the day at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.
Neel Jani took the Porsche #1 to the fastest lap before the worst of the rain started to fall. Only 15 cars risked the intermittent rain showers, with just 13 of those recording lap times. Vaillante Rebellion #13 took the fastest lap of the LMP2 runners, whilst Porsche took a hat-trick of sessions ending fastest in the LM GTE classes.
The track was deemed wet from the moment the green flag waved. The track conditions at this point were far from ‘wet’ and this was proved by Porsche and Toyota Gazoo Racing in the LMP1 field as the four front runners took to the track, three of them setting times under 1m32s.
Jani put in the fastest lap of the session: a 1:31.666. the Porsche #2 and the Toyota #8 also set times under the 1m32s barrier, both within three-tenths of Jani’s time. Although the #7 Toyota could not repeat the pace of the other LMP1 runner in this session, Mike Conway still holds the fastest lap of the weekend by around four-tenths.
With just half an hour of the day’s running left, the #4 ByKOLLES finally broke cover and set out for a few laps on track. It managed six laps in the final few minutes of the session, setting a lap time of 2:17.915. This is, of course, very far off the pace of the other LMP1 and also the rest of the field. Although rain will have contributed a bit, it is clear that ByKOLLES have some work to do tomorrow. Hopefully, the issues that plagued their running today are now sorted and they can get to some of their scheduled testing tomorrow.
Four of the LMP2 cars ventured out onto the track, three of which set lap times. #13 Vaillante Rebellion took credit for the team with the fastest lap, ahead of the two Signatech Alpine machines. CEFC Manor TRS Racing risked just one exploration lap out on track before calling it a day.
Porsche looked to be content to get as much wet running as they could. Sending out all of their LM GTE cars for multiple laps, 57 laps in total were set by the Porsche LM GTE cars. The #92 Porsche GT Team car was most active, taking the fastest lap of the LM GTE Pro class and setting 37 laps in the two hours. The only car to set more laps in this session than the #92 was the #7 Toyota.
The Ford of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mücke joined the Porsches on the time sheet, along with the #95 Aston Martin Racing of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen, and Richie Stanaway. James Calado came out on track for two laps before determining that the conditions were either not worth or too risky to set a lap time.
The only LM GTE Am car to take to the track was the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991). It set the second slowest lap time of the session, only finishing above the #4 ByKOLLES Racing Team, with a 2:02.643.
The weather is due to stop raining in the early hours of the morning, so hopefully when the World Endurance Championship paddock return to the track in the morning for the second day of running for the 2017 WEC Prologue, track conditions should be much better.