Hartley leads Porsche fightback in second Fuji WEC practice


Porsche emerged fastest in the second of today’s Free Practice sessions at Fuji Speedway as the teams continue to prepare for Sunday’s sixth round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Brendon Hartley took the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid around the 2.83-mile Fuji track in 1m24.480s, which just eclipsed Lotterer’s morning time by 0.037s.

Benoit Treluyer was second in FP2 for Audi Sport Team Joest, the Frenchman getting to within 0.383s of Hartley’s time in the aero-revised No.7 Audi R18 e-tron.

Neel Jani took the No.18 Porsche 919 Hybrid to third, and Oliver Jarvis set the fastest time in the No.8 Audi. All of the top four were covered by just 0.882s after the 90-minute session.

It looked like the No.18 Porsche might have the pace to threaten its sister 919 Hybrid in the dying minutes when Romain Dumas set the fastest first sector time, but a yellow flag and then a subsequent red flag to retrieve Scott Sharp’s Extreme Speed Motorsports stopped Ligier ended any chance of P1.

Toyota Racing again placed fifth and sixth with the No.1 Toyota TS040 Hybrid setting the best time again in this session as the Japanese manufacturer prepares for its home event.

The No.12 Rebellion R-One was the quickest privateer LMP1 in the second Free Practice session with Mathias Beche setting a best lap of 1m29.941s.

Bird flies in LMP2

LMP2 was dominated by Sam Bird in the No.26 G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan. After a series of stunning laps, the British racer peaked on a 1m32.131s to lead the field. Bird, along with team mates Julien Canal and Roman Rusinov is just ten points away from LMP2 leaders Matt Howson and Richard Bradley.

Re-joining Bradley and Howson this weekend is Nick Tandy, who wasted no time in getting to grips with the Fuji circuit to set a second fastest time of 1m32.951s in the KCMG run ORECA 05-Nissan.,

Third in the LMP2 class was the second of the G-Drive Racing Ligiers with Pipo Derani setting a best of 1m32.990s on his first visit to the Fuji Speedway.

The second free practice session passed with all the LMGTE teams fine tuning their set ups ahead of qualifying for the 6 Hours of Fuji tomorrow.

Ferrari 1-2 in LMGTE Pro

The No.51 AF Corse Ferrari set the quickest time of the day in the LMGTE Pro class at Fuji Speedway with Toni Vilander recording a 1m39.922 lap, just 0.009s quicker than the 1m39.931 lap set by the no92 Team Manthey Porsche in the morning session.  The No.71 Ferrari 458 of Davide Rigon and James Calado was second fastest in Free Practice 2, just 0.099s behind their teammates and 0.071s ahead of the No.95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage and 0.083s faster than the no91 Porsche.

In LMGTE Am the No.96 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Francesco Castellacci, Stuart Hall and Liam Griffin posted the fastest lap of the session. Hall set the 1m40.706 lap which was 0.047s slower than the best time in the morning session. A 1m40.659 lap set by the Larbre Competition Corvette ensured the French team topped off a very positive day at Fuji. The Corvette was second quickest with a time of 1m40.734, only 0.028s behind the No.96 Aston Martin.  The No.77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche 911 of Patrick Long, Patrick Dempsey and Marco Seefried was third quickest with a 1m40.938, a big step forward on the cars best time of 1m41.580 in Free Practice 1.

Free Practice 3 will take place tomorrow morning at 09h50 with qualifying at 13h40 tomorrow afternoon.

CLICK HERE for the result from Free Practice 2

Hartley leads Porsche fightback in second Fuji WEC practice

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