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WEC: Porsche retains top spot after dark

The #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid continued to set the LMP1 pace as the official WEC Prologue test completed a third session under cover of night at Paul Ricard.

Porsche continued to dominate the World Endurance Championship 'prologue' by topping the third and final session as the sun set on Paul Ricard on Friday.

In the cooler temperatures, the reigning world champion pushes its 919 Hybrid faster than it had all day, with Neel Jani capping nearly ten hours of track time by lapping the #2 machine in 1m 37.487s, edging closer to the benchmark set by the same driver last season.

Toyota Gazoo Racing moved back into second spot on the timesheets with Kazuki Nakajima recording a 1m 38.685s effort as the team continued to add laps to its brand new TS050. Audi, meanwhile, endured a more problematic time with its 2016-spec R18, with the afternoon's gremlins returning in the evening session, leaving the #7 machine with only four laps in the two-hour window. The two privateer Rebellion Racing cars again ended the session on top of their division, ahead of the ByKolles CLM-AER driven solely by Oliver Webb.

Alpine returned to the top of the LMP2 times after dark, but rookie Gustavo Menezes could not match the previous pace set by Jonny Kane in the Strakka Gibson. The young American nevertheless posted a 1m 47.782s effort in the Signatech entry, but Strakka did not feature amongst the leading times, with a brace of Ligiers giving chase to the #36.

Gianmaria Bruni ensured that Ferrari remained top of GTE-Pro, with a lap of 1m 58.109s good enough to again see off the persistent Ford threat, this time led by the #66 Ganassi entry of Olivier Pla, while Paul Dalla Lana helped Aston Martin to the top of the pile in GTE-Am, ahead of WEC debutant Gulf Racing, whose Porsche showed well in the hands of Mike Wainwright, Adam Carroll and Ben Barker.

Tagged as: Paul Ricard , Porsche , WEC , prologue

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