The long winter break has finally been brought to a close by qualifying ahead of tomorrow’s Six Hours of Silverstone. Porsche, G-Drive and Aston Martin lead their classes away in 2015’s opening round.
After Porsche took the final victory in their return season last year they have gathered momentum with a great pre season testing showing. There was confirmation that the team from Stuttgart would carry their success into the new season when at the pre season test at Paul Ricard, the German team bettered the lap record by a shattering two second.
The testing pace was not deceiving as Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley have shown today by claiming the top spot in their #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid with a time of 1:39.721, the sister #17 car making it a front row lock out (1:40.340). A close third came from Audi’s #8 car with a time of 1:40.352, meaning that Porsche are not in for a walk in the park tomorrow. Fourth on tomorrows grid is the position for the defending world champions in their Toyota with a time of 1.40.382. Team ByKolles had a rough start as the only privateer LMP1 effort, claiming 11th overall.
LMP2 dished up a great session too. After the G-Drive team lost the title to SMP in the last race last year, they have come back strong to claim pole position for the opening round of 2015. The #28 G-Drive car will lead the class away tomorrow with it’s sister car, #26 in second place. It is the KCMG effort that places third and highest of the new Oreca 05 cars. Fourth place for tomorrows start goes to the newcomers to the WEC, Signatech Alpine. The top 5 is rounded out by the #30 of the Tquila Patrón sponsored ESM effort.
In the LMGTE catagories it was a good day to be part of the home team. After winning the GTE-AM class last season and being promoted to the PRO class this season, the #95 Aston Martin had a dream start. With Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen behind the wheel, the “Dane-Train” set a class pole time of 1:59.907. The British team also claimed second and third, meaning an Aston 1-2-3 for the #95, #99 and the #97 respectively. As ever the defending champions are Ferrari, but their season opening qualifying session was tough one. Bruni and Vilander only managed fifth in class.
In GTE-AM the Aston Matin theme continued with the #98 claiming the class pole. The #98’s time of 2:01.998 was the fastest in class from the Larbre Competition Corvette (2:02.937). New comer to the WEC and Grey’s Anatomy star Patrick Dempsey will start the season opener from the back of the grid. The time of 2:06.024 was not enough to beat the competition.
Images: WEC-Magazin.com/Nicki Thiim Facebook