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Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber took their second win of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season after a thrilling battle with the sister no1 Porsche 919 Hybrid at the Nürburgring.  The two Porsche 919s finished 64 seconds ahead of the no7 Toyota TS050.

The race didn’t get off to the best start for Toyota as the no8 TS050 of Sebastien Buemi slowed on the formation lap and had to return to the garage for a new fuel pump to be fitted.  The Swiss driver rejoined the race but he was five laps down.

The no7 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi capitilised on his pole position to lead at the start but had the two Porsches, led by the no2 919 of Timo Bernhard.  At the pitstops the no1 Porsche gets the upperhand as Neel Jani beats Brendon Hartley out of the pits.  However it is short lived as Hartley gets ahead of his teammate and then in the second hour takes the lead from Lopez, who was now at the wheel of the Toyota.

The race then settled down with the Porsche 919s holding the upperhand and the two cars swapping places a few times before Earl Bamber overtakes Nick Tandy in the no1 car.  Tandy fights back but contact with the no67 Ford blunts his challenge and puts the Ford into the gravel.

The race concluded with the no2 Porsche taking the chequered flag just 1.6 seconds ahead of their teammates.  The two Toyotas were classified third and fourth with the no7 taking the chequered flag 63 seconds behind the no1 Porsche in second place and the no8 car finishing five laps down.

This was Porsche’s third win at the Nurburgring since the WEC first raced in Germany in 2015, with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard standing on the top step of the podium for the third time. 

Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber now have a 30 point advantage in the Driver’s World Championship over Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.  In the Manufacturers’ World Championship Porsche are on 154 points to Toyota’s 114.5 after four races.


Ferrari Win GTE Thriller

The LMGTE Pro class saw all four manufacturers challenging for the win.  The no95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Marco Sorensen was the early race leader but he was under some pressure from both Porsche 911s and the no66 Ford GT all looking for an opportunity to take the lead. 

The no71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon was running in the leading pack but a gearbox issue lost the Italian some time and he dropped out of contention.

The no91 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki took the lead in the first hour and built up a small advantage but by the second hour the advantage had swung to the no92 911 as Kevin Estre overtook Richard Lietz.  Lietz then came under pressure from the charging no51 AF Corse Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, who swept past the Austrian and then closed the gap to the leading Porsche.

After the pitstops, James Calado’s Ferrari closes right up behind the leading Porsche of Michael Christensen and an epic fight for the lead ensued but eventually the pressure told and Calado took the lead.  The British driver then built up an comfortable 25 second lead ahead of the two Porsches as the challenge to the no91 911 from the no95 Aston Martin faded away.

At the chequered flag the no51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 was 50 seconds ahead of the rest of the field with Porsche taking the other two podium positions.

Ferrari and Ford are now tied on 135 points in the GT Manufacturers Championship but Ferrari are placed first thanks to their two wins in Belgium and Germany against Ford’s single victory in the UK.  Ford drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell, who finished fifth in the race, maintain a 11 point lead over their nearest rivals Fred Makowiecki and Richard Lietz in the drivers title race.


Jackie Chan DC Racing Win Again

The Jackie Chan DC Racing team celebrated their third in four races with the Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung crewed Oreca-Gibson.  The 24 Hours of LE Mans class winners and overall podium finishers led for the majority of the race after wresting the lead from the no31 Vaillante Rebellion and finished a lap ahead of the Swiss team and the no36 Signatech Alpine A470.

The Chinese team now hold a 46 point advantage in the both the driver and team LMP2 points tables.


Victory for Porsche in LMGTE Am

LMGTE Am saw a popular home victory for Dempsey-Proton Porsche with German drivers Christian Ried and Marvin Dienst joining Italian Matteo Cairolio on the top step of the podium.  They held off the Spirit of Race Ferrari and Aston Martin Racing challenge to ensure that both Dienst and Cairoli took their first WEC wins and Ried’s first win since 2012.

The 25 points for the Dempsey-Proton Racing crew puts them on 88 points, level with the crew of the no61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari crew of Matt Griffin, Keita Sawa and Weng Sun Mok.  The no98 Aston Martin Racing crew of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda are third on 86 points, just two points behind their rivals.


Round 5 of the FIA World Endurance Championship will be the 6 Hours of Mexico on Sunday 4 September.

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Toyota claimed a 1-2 in the final Free Practice session before qualifying at the Nurburgring with Jose-Maria Lopez setting the best time of 1m38.969s in the no7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid. 

Lopez’s time was 0.4s faster than the sister No.8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.  Porsche concentrated on race pace and were third and fourth in the 60-minute session, with no2 919 Hybrid posting a 1m40.635 lap just ahead of the no1 Porsche.

Olivier Pla was fastest in the no66 Ford GT to take the top spot in the LMGTE Pro class with a lap of  1m54.875s, the fastest time of the weekend so far for the GTE class. 

Pla beat the early time set by Davide Rigon in the no71 AF Corse Ferrari 488GTE but the Ferrari suffers a problem in final moments as Toni Vilander stops on track and has to be towed back after the chequered flag is shown to end the session.  Third in LMGTE Pro was the second Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi

Bruno Senna set the pace in LMP2 aboard no31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca-Gibson. The Brazilian registers a 1m46.017s best beating Nelson Panciatici’s 1m46.221s lap in no35 Signatech Alpine.

Third in LMP2 was the no38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Jota car as Oliver Jarvis sets a 1m46.341s lap.

Dempsey-Proton Porsche continues impressive pace in LMGTE Am as Matteo Cairoli was fastest again with a best of 1m56.882s with the no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari second in class on a 1m57.108s

The scene is now set for qualifying for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring which starts at 14h55 this afternoon.

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Toyota Gazoo Racing celebrated their third pole position of the season with the no7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi set a two lap average time of 1m38.118, 0.154s ahead of the no2 Porsche 919 of Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard. 

Lopez set the second fastest individual time of the session with a 1m38.083 and Kobayashi nearly matched his Argentine teammate with a 1m38.153, which was the third quickest lap.

Andre Lotterer was the fastest driver in the session in the no1 Porsche 919, the German setting a 1m37.886 but Neel Jani could only post a 1m38.671, despite two stints behind the wheel, with the no1 Porsche finishing the session in third on a 1m38.278 average lap, just 0.006s behind their Porsche teammates.

The no8 Toyota was fourth quickest with Kazuki Nakajima and Anthiny Davidson setting a 1m38.703 average.

While Toyota celebrated beating Porsche to the overall pole, their was some joy for the German Manufacturer when the GTE team took pole position ahead of Aston Martin, Ford and Ferrari, the first LMGTE Pro pole for a Porsche 911 since Bahrain 2013 and the first in WEC for the new car. 

Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen celebrated with an average lap time of 1m54.007 in the no92 Porsche 911, 0.3 seconds ahead of the no95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of 2016 champions Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim and 0.5 seconds ahead of their teammate Ricard Lietz and Fred Makowiecki in the no91 Porsche.

The LMP2 pole went to the no26 G-Drive Racing Oreca-Gibson for the fourth time in four races this season. Ben Hanley and Pierre Thiriet set an average of 1m45.001, 0.196 ahead of the no38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent.  The two Vaillante Rebellion Orecas were third and fourth with the no31 Oreca of Bruno Senna and Julien Canal setting a 1m45.649, just 0.041s ahead of the no13 car.

The no26 G-Drive Racing will start on pole position but will need to serve a 3-minute stop-go penalty which was carried over from Le Mans.

The no98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana made it four from four also by claiming the LMGTE Am pole position to go with the ones their took in Le Mans, Spa-Francorchamps and Silverstone.  The Portuguese / Canadian pairing posted a 1m56.721 average lap, 0.4 seconds ahead of the no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Matteo Cairoli and Christian Ried.

The grid is now set for the 2017 6 Hours of Nurburgring and it will remain to be seen who will be standing on the podium at 19h00 tomorrow evening.

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Brendon Hartley set the fastest time of the opening day of the 6 Hours of Nurburgring, round 4 of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. 

The New Zealander set a time of 1m38.663s in the no2 Porsche 919 hybrid, 3 seconds faster than the best time set in the first Free Practice session by his German teammate Timo Bernhard and nearly one second ahead of the second fastest car, the no1 Porsche driven by Andre Lotterer.

The no8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 was the quicker of the two Japanese manufacturer’s cars with Anthony Davidson setting a 1m39.773 lap.

Porsche were also quickest in the GTE category with Fred Makowiecki setting the best LMGTE Pro time in no91 Porsche 911 RSR with best effort of 1m56.244s. 

Aston Martin Racing were just under 0.1s adrift of Porsche as Nicki Thiim set a time of 1m56.343s in no95 Vantage.  The no71 AF Corse Ferrari made it three different manufacturers in the top three with Alessandro Pier Guidi setting a 1m56.766 lap time.

G-Drive Racing were fastest in LMP2 as new boy Ben Hanley continued to impress with a 1m47.188s lap in the Russian entered Oreca-Gibson. 

Hanley’s best is 0.3s faster than the no13 Vaillante Rebellion driven by Mathias Beche, the Swiss drivers time of 1m47.410 two tenths ahead of the no36 Signatech Alpine in third.

Ferrari were fastest in LMGTE Am class as Miguel Molina sets a 1m57.592s lap in the no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari ahead of Matt Griffin in the no61 Clearwater Racing F488 which set a time of 1m57.802.

The final Free Practice session will take place tomorrow morning at 09h45 (CET) and qualifying for the 6 Hours of Nürburgring will get underway at 14h55.