Solid qualifying performance from the newly formed Porsche Team with the two Porsche 919 Hybrids in the World Endurance Championship (WEC): After three free practice sessions with no problems, the first qualifying was also trouble free. Drivers Romain Dumas (FR) and Neel Jani (CH) achieved an average lap time of 1 minute 43.087 seconds and qualified the 919 Hybrid in third place on the grid for the opening race in Silverstone (GB).
Team mates Mark Webber (AU) and Timo Bernhard (DE) qualified sixth with no. 20 sister car (1 minute 43.226 seconds) for Sunday’s six hour race. Pole position went to the Toyota drivers Alexander Wurz/Kazuki Nakajima. The small time difference between all LMP1 works cars is remarkable: It is less than 0.5 seconds between pole position and sixth place.
In the WEC qualifying is split into classes. The LMP1 and LMP2 classes share 25 minutes on track. Two drivers from each car have to do two timed laps each. The average times from those four lap times make the grid positions.
Wolfgang Hatz, Board Member for Research and Development of Porsche AG: “I am happy with the result. The entire crew and the drivers have put in a good performance. Despite having put the focus of our development on the 24 hour race in Le Mans, we are here at the same level as Toyota and Audi. We should not take this for granted and we also are aware that we have not exploited the full development potential of the car yet.”
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Positions three and six are more than satisfactory for our new team. We have tough months of preparation work behind us. We used to say: who takes time to breath has lost the battle. I feel very happy for every single team member.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid #14
Romain Dumas: “It was a successful qualifying for us, and I am happy with third place. It is a very close competition and we have made further progress. My laps were good despite a small mistake on the first one. Now we look forward to tomorrow and to finishing our first race. Our car ran without any problems, but we still have a lack of experience with the Porsche 919 Hybrid.“
Neel Jani: “It was our target to be competitive and we have managed that by coming third. Next to be ticked off from the list is to complete the race distance, and then we shall see where we end up. Romain did a great job on new tyres, this was good team work.”
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid #20
Timo Bernhard: “It was tough competition today, and the lap times of the front runners are extremely close. The car was a bit tricky to drive and we kept working on the set-up and balance in free practice three despite simulating qualifying. I think we are looking fine for the race.”
Mark Webber: “One hour of free practice wasn’t a lot to get two guys and the car ready for qualifying and to practice the qualifying procedures. Nevertheless, we had an eye on race preparation and kept doing set-up changes. In qualifying we might have left a bit of performance out there, but the team did a very good job. A possible wet race would give us an extra challenge on the operational side as well as on track. Despite the temporary four-wheel drive, any race car on the limit in the wet needs the maximum respect.”