Following three Toyotas on the grid, Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Timo Bernhard (DE) qualified fifth for the six-hour race on Saturday. Reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH) and Porsche newcomer André Lotterer (DE) achieved pole position for the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in an action packed qualifying session in Spa-Francorchamps (BE). This means a 919 Hybrid will start for the 16th time in total from P1 since its debut in 2014.
In the WEC, the average of the two fastest laps of two drivers counts for the qualifying result. Jani/Lotterer in car number one managed a time of 1:54.097 minutes. Hartley/Bernhard achieved an average time of 1:55.440 minutes for car number two. Their respective partners – Nick Tandy (GB) and Earl Bamber (NZ) – abstained from qualifying this time. The compact 25 minute qualifying session was interrupted very early by a red flag. Due to overtaking traffic, the 919 number two lost its rhythm which caused problems to boost the full energy power.
The third free practice session in the morning saw the two Porsche 919 Hybrids in P4 (car number one, 1:56.404 minutes) and P5 (car number two, 1:58.096 minutes). This session and qualifying, took place in cool but dry conditions. For the six-hour race on Saturday, raising temperatures and sunshine are predicted. The race gets underway at 14:30 hrs (local time). Here is the international TV and online broadcasting plan: https://tinyurl.com/m9dn3k5
The Porsche LMP Team after qualifying:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Unexpected and unbelievable – pole position in Spa! We knew our Porsche 919 Hybrids were good on the long runs but this qualifying result is a surprise and it proves what a great job the guys in Weissach did over the winter. From P1 we can now really hope for a thrilling race.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal:
“Congratulations to our crew number one for a well-deserved pole position. Neel and André did excellent laps. It feels nice to be back on pole again since the Shanghai race last November. Timo and Brendon had the same speed, but we couldn’t manage to bring it all together. However, with P1 and P5 on the grid we are well positioned for the race and also well prepared after focusing on long-runs in the practice sessions. We will definitely see a tight and exciting race tomorrow. Both manufacturers in LMP1 operate on an impressive lap time level.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid car number two:
Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand):
“We were very unlucky. I had a good first lap and was looking at P1 but lost the time due to a red flag. When the session resumed, I had traffic then encountered a small systems problem, which prevented me from challenging for pole. Our car was definitely quick enough. We’re confident we have a good car for tomorrow having focused on race set-up in the three practice sessions.”
Timo Bernhard (36, Germany):
“Congratulations to our sister car for pole-position – it’s a great result for Porsche. For car two there were a number of issues in qualifying which we must now investigate. In the practice sessions over the past two days we have been good in the long runs so everything is still possible in the race.”
Schedule (Local time CET):
Saturday, May 06:
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.
Links to online content and race information: www.brendonhartley.nz/live