Porsche 919 Hybrids will start first and second in the opening round of the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone.
For the six-hour race on the British Grand Prix circuit qualifying was run for the first time under the 2015 regulations. As in the past, two drivers shared qualifying duties, but now only their respective best lap time counts. The average of these two laps decided the grid position. Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber were at the wheel of the number 17 car. Their average lap time of 1:39.721 minutes secured them the first pole position for the new 919. Hot on their heels were Romain Dumas and Neel Jani in the number 18 sister car, with an average lap time of 1:40.340 minutes.
While it was cold but sunny, it was dry again for qualifying after it had been raining in the morning for free practice three. In this session Timo Bernhard (#17) and Marc Lieb (#18) where also behind the wheels of their respective cars. On the wet and then drying track the Porsche LMP1 cars came third (#18) and fourth (#17).
The Vice President of the Porsche LMP project, Fritz Enzinger said “By having both Porsche 919 Hybrids on the front row, we begin the new season just where we ended the last one. However, tomorrow’s race will be tough work for us. The weather forecast predicts a chance of rain for the last third of the race, and today in the third free practice session we could clearly see we need to improve in the wet. All four drivers did an absolutely convincing job in today’s qualifying and delivered spot on. Thanks to the team that did a great job of preparation and over 30,000 kilometres of testing.” Team Principal Andreas Seidl added “This qualifying result is the first reward for the tough job of testing. We will be happy for one night now, but certainly the race is what counts. We have seen on long runs and in the rain that we still have work to do. I would like to thank the crew both here and in Weissach for their faultless work.”
Driver of car #17, the Kiwi Brendon Hartley enthused “It was a fantastic first lap. I could see on my dashboard what my reference time from Mark was and I was fighting to bring it down. We are very happy about this pole position, but obviously tomorrow is what counts.” His team-mate Mark Webber said “It was a clean session, everything went very well and we got the most out of the cars. The focus for this type of racing is not on qualifying, as we have a long race on our hands, but on the result tomorrow.”
Frenchman Romain Dumas, driver of the number 18 car had this to say about his qualifying efforts, “On my first lap I made a mistake, and on my second I lost time again because of traffic. But the most important thing is we are at the front. What counts is tomorrow’s race.” Dumas’ co-driver Neel Jani went on to say “It wasn’t that easy to go straight from the wet to qualifying mode, as our set-up wasn’t quite right. But having qualified first and second is super for our team. We have reached today’s target and tomorrow we want to fight for the race win.”