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Porsche start on pole for Le Mans 2015

Porsche start on pole for Le Mans 2015

On Wednesday night the No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid, driven by Neel  Jani, set a record breaking qualifying lap (for this Le Mans circuit configuration) of 3 minutes, 16.887 seconds. Thursday’s two qualifying sessions proved to be stop-start affairs in warm and humid conditions, that meant the this incredible time could not be challenged. This means the Porsche driven by Jani, Dumas and Lieb, will start the 83rd Le Mans 24 Hours from pole position. They will be joined on the front row by the sister No.17 car and followed in third by the other sibling, the No. 18 Porsche 919 hybrid.


The second qualifying session began in overcast, stormy weather at 19:00hrs on a dry track, but it was upset by several incidents. Four stoppages upset the original planned schedule for all the teams. Among the improvements early on was the No. 19 Porsche, as it beat its Wednesday’s time with a lap in 3m18.862sec, but this did not change the previous day’s hierarchy.


The first stoppage was at 19:40hrs because of the of the No. 13 Rebellion R-One continuing straight at the first chicane on Les Hunaudières. This was followed by a mechanical failure on the No. 47 Oreca 05 between Mulsanne and Indianapolis as well as a trip into the gravel trap by the No. 55 Ferrari in the Porsche Curves

The session restarted at 19:57hrs, but was stopped again at 20:30hrs when experienced Jan Magnussen had a big shunt in the No. 63 works Chevrolet Corvette C7.R just after the virage du Pont on the exit from the Porsche Curves. The car slammed into the guardrail and the session was red-flagged. The session did not restart.


Magnussen was conscious and he was carefully extricated from the C7.R and taken to the circuit medical centre for medical checks. Unfortunately the Corvette will now not start the race on Saturday as it cannot be repaired in time. For the first time in its history Corvette Racing has been forced to withdraw one of its cars from the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The third and final qualifying session began early at 21:30hrs, but the record times set the previous day by Porsche, were not tested by their main rivals Audi and Toyota. The Audis did improve their times to move within less than three seconds behind the Porsches. However, the final stoppage came at 23:05hrs when the No. 67 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR driven by Alex Kapadia, caught fire and stopped between Tertre Rouge and the first chicane. The session did go live again at 23:25hrs, but the final 35 minutes of running did not influence the starting grid order.


The Oreca of KCMG celebrated in their garage as they headed the LMP2 times and will start ahead of the No. 26 Ligier of G-Drive racing on the grid. However the biggest smiles were to be found at Aston Martin Racing who managed to clinch poles in both the GTE Pro and Am categories. The No. 99 car held of the Ferrari challenge to take pole in the Pro class, whilst the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 continued to dominate the Am field.


The Le Mans 24 Hours 2015 will start on Saturday at 15:00hrs (local time) and it promises to be another fascinating race.

Photos by Dailysportscar

Porsche set the pace in Le Mans qualifying

Porsche set the pace in Le Mans qualifying

Following a disrupted and damp last practice session, all cars took to the track for Wednesday night’s first qualifying session, keen to impress. With the weather forecast for Thursday’s two qualifying sessions uncertain, all the teams wanted to claim a provisional pole. Porsche managed to do this in some style and set a new qualifying record for this Le Mans circuit in the process.


With a strong performance, the three Porsche 919 Hybrids finished first, second and third in the first of three qualifying sessions for the Le Mans 24 Hours. The best overall lap time for the field of 56 cars was achieved by Neel Jani, who lapped the 13.629 kilometre long circuit in 3:16.887 minutes. The Swiss has now established a new qualifying record for the current track length by beating Peugeot’s pole position time from 2008 (3:18.513 min). Jani shares car number 18 with Romain Dumas (FR) and Marc Lieb (GER). Timo Bernhard (GER) achieved the second fastest time today, which was also good enough to beat the old record. Just like Jani, he was in the car as soon as qualifying began before his teammates Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AUS) took over the number 17 prototype later in the session. For the third trio, with the Le Mans rookies Earl Bamber (NZ) and Nico Hülkenberg (GER) sharing car number 19 with Nick Tandy (GB), it was the Britain who did their fastest lap with the around 1,000 HP hybrid race car in 3:19.297 minutes to come third.

The three Audi cars followed on from the Porsches, with the 2 Toyotas behind the Audis. The other factory team, Nissan, struggled for pace and were swallowed up by the LMP2 field.


Le Mans has three qualifying sessions that are held with each of them lasting for two hours. The best lap time achieved in these six hours is the one that decides each car’s grid position. Because the weather conditions are currently tending to be changeable, it is not clear what Wednesday’s time sheets from the dry session may be worth in terms of grid positions.

It is clear from this one session that Porsche have the quickest car at Le Mans in these conditions. The times set in qualifying may indeed be enough to secure pole position for Saturday’s race. However, Le Mans is an endurance race and not a sprint. Having the fastest car is not enough at Le Mans. You only have to look to last year’s result, where the Toyota qualified on pole, yet Audi secured the victory.

If nothing else, the results form the qualifying session on Wednesday show that the race is going to be another good one.

The second qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans will take place on Thursday from 19:00-21:00 hrs, with the third and final qualifying following in the dark from 22:00-24:00 hrs (local times).