Both Porsche 919 Hybrids will start from the front row of the grid in Sunday’s six-hour race at the Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City. The championship leading Le Mans winners, Brendon Hartley (NZ), Earl Bamber (NZ) and Timo Bernhard (DE) took pole position on a dry track. Grid position two for the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) went to the crew of the reigning world champions Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) in the sister car.
It is the 17th pole position for the Porsche 919 Hybrid since its debut in 2014 and the second this year after Jani and Lotterer had been fastest in the Spa qualifying. The last front row lock-out for Porsche dates back to the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hour race.
In the WEC, the average of the two fastest laps of two drivers counts for the qualifying result. Hartley/Bernhard achieved an average time of 1:24.562 minutes for car number 2. Lotterer/Tandy in car number 1 managed a time of 1:24.710 min. Hartley set the outright fastest qualifying lap of 1:24.459 minutes which topped last year’s best time of 1:24.763 minutes set by Lotterer in an Audi.
In the second free practice this morning, the two Porsches topped the time sheets before finishing second and fourth in FP3 which was held shortly after noon. Both sessions were held on a dry track. It was also Hartley who had set the overall best lap of all practice sessions, a 1:25.007 minutes this morning.
The six-hour race will start on Sunday at noon. The weather forecast is still unpredictable.
Before round five in Mexico, reigning world champion Porsche leads the manufacturers’ standings on 155 points from Toyota (114.5 points). Hartley/Bamber/Bernhard top the drivers’ standings on 109 points, having a 31-point advantage to the best placed Toyota crew. Jani/Lotterer/Tandy rank in fourth position (46 points).
The Porsche LMP Team after qualifying:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1:
“After an impressive performance in all three practice sessions, another great team effort led to a front row lock-out. This means the best possible situation for the start of the race in which we hope to take another step closer to our aim of title defence.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal:
“A dream result for us and the first all-Porsche front row since Le Mans 2016. This amazing outcome rewards the entire team for the hard work of the past few weeks. Contrary to all predictions, the track stayed dry for the majority of the day. Team and drivers made a perfect job, both cars got through qualifying with one set of tires each. But the pole position is just a snap shot, the six hours tomorrow will be tough. The weather forecast is very unstable and that could provide more challenges for us. But we feel well prepared and are looking forward to the race now.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number 2:
Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand):
“It was a really good qualifying for us. I was in the car first and went quickest. But Toyota were actually a lot closer than expected, apparently they were hiding some pace in free practice. Timo finished qualifying off for our car and we used only one set of tyres to keep our options for the race. Tomorrow the weather is difficult to predict but today we are happy to get one more point.”
Earl Bamber (27, New Zealand):
“Our car looks really strong and it is going well also on long runs. We have a few things to tidy up on and we need to keep pushing because it is close with Toyota. I’m very much looking forward to the race.”
Timo Bernhard (36, Germany):
“We had done some set-up changes in FP3 and it appears these worked well. Brendon set a very good lap time in qualifying and I was under pressure to deliver in order not to upset the team! My lap was almost completely clean and I’m very pleased we have achieved another pole position for Porsche. This is only a small step compared to the race but a great injection of self-confidence and a huge motivation.”
Schedule (Local time UTC-6):
Sunday, September 3rd:
TV & Live streaming:
The official WEC App can be downloaded free of charge with an extended (not free of charge) version available which includes full live streaming and full timing. The live stream is voiced by the FIA WEC TV team including live interviews from the pits.
The WEC races can be followed on various international TV channels in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North and South America as well as in the Middle East and Africa. Broadcast details can be found here: https://tinyurl.com/y7e782bu
Links to online content and race information: www.brendonhartley.nz/live