Porsche clocks the day’s best time in rainy Fuji

Lotterer in the #1 Porsche was fastest on Day 1
Lotterer in the #1 Porsche was fastest on Day 1 but in the rain Toyota set fast time

Just in time for the appearance of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the summer said goodbye to the Japanese Alps. After a 15 degree Celsius drop in temperature over a few hours, the seventh of nine world championship rounds is set to be held in persistently wet conditions.

Persistent and often heavy rain hit Fuji Speedway and affected both 90-minute practice sessions today, making fastest lap time comparisons irrelevant.

The first two 90-minute practice sessions at the 4.56 kilometer long Fuji International Speedway took place in the rain in just 13 degree air and 17 degree track temperatures. The picturesque silhouette of Mount Fuji disappeared in fog while the spray on the very long 1.5-kilometer straight left the drivers with extremely poor visibility.

The two Porsche 919 Hybrids were fastest in the morning practice session with the trio of Neel Jani (CH), Andre Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) ahead of the sister car of the championship leaders Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). The afternoon session was red flagged for a long time because of heavy rain. On the time sheets, Jani was second fastest, Bernhard was fourth. Their teammates didn’t even get the opportunity to drive. The overall best time of the day was achieved by Lotterer in the morning with a lap of 1:35.527 minutes.

Jose-Maria Lopez of Toyota Gazoo Racing set the best time in a rain shortened FP2 session at Fuji this afternoon. Olivier Pla was quickest in LMGTE Pro at 1m52.658s in the No.66 Ford GT in the wet.

The #7 Toyota
The #7 Toyota

The six-hour race is awaited with huge excitement but not only because of the difficult conditions: If the Le Mans winners Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley finish the race ahead of the best placed Toyota (car number 8), they would become the new drivers’ world champions. However, next on the program is qualifying on Saturday from 15:00 to 15:20 hrs local time. The six-hour race on Sunday will start at 11:00 hrs local time.

Andre Lotterer (35, Germany):
Luckily the track conditions in the first practice session were quite consistent. The car felt basically good and we could focus on fine tuning to improve traction. This goes for the management of the combustion engine that drives the rear axle as well as for the electrical power from the two energy recovery systems and the interaction of all the systems to accelerate as strong as possible out of the corners. We also worked on the car’s balance for wet conditions. Unfortunately in the afternoon session, we had just too much rain to work properly. Especially when it is as cold as today, the tires cannot work properly and it is really difficult to drive.

MORNING TIMES

POS CLASS DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.Tandy Porsche 1m35.527s 0.000s 34
2 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche 1m35.660s 0.133s 35
3 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota 1m36.010s 0.483s 38
4 LMP1 S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.Nakajima Toyota 1m36.105s 0.578s 38
5 LMP2 D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.Gommendy ORECA/Gibson 1m42.735s 7.208s 40
6 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.Collard ORECA/Gibson 1m43.225s 7.698s 37
7 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent ORECA/Gibson 1m43.327s 7.800s 38
8 LMP2 M.Rao, B.Hanley, J-E.Vergne ORECA/Gibson 1m43.533s 8.006s 33
9 LMP2 N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, A.Negrao Alpine/Gibson 1m43.727s 8.200s 28
10 LMP2 R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, J.Rossiter ORECA/Gibson 1m43.912s 8.385s 36
11 LMP2 J.Canal, N.Prost, B.Senna ORECA/Gibson 1m44.287s 8.760s 34
12 LMP2 M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr. ORECA/Gibson 1m44.370s 8.843s 37
13 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.Petrov ORECA/Gibson 1m45.228s 9.701s 32
14 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche 1m47.365s 11.838s 35
15 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki Porsche 1m47.617s 12.090s 35
16 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird Ferrari 1m47.627s 12.100s 32
17 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.Molina Ferrari 1m47.655s 12.128s 37
18 GTE Pro J.Calado, A.P.Guidi Ferrari 1m47.681s 12.154s 37
19 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford 1m47.881s 12.354s 31
20 GTE Am Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin Ferrari 1m48.246s 12.719s 28
21 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford 1m48.710s 13.183s 25
22 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin 1m48.834s 13.307s 29
23 GTE Am C.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.Dienst Porsche 1m49.042s 13.515s 36
24 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam Aston Martin 1m49.210s 13.683s 30
25 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin 1m50.967s 15.440s 31
26 GTE Am M.Hedlund, B.Barker, N.Foster Porsche 1m52.439s 16.912s 32

Afternoon Times

POS CLASS DRIVER CAR TIME GAP LAPS
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota 1m39.202s 0.000s 7
2 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.Tandy Porsche 1m40.523s 1.321s 6
3 LMP1 S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.Nakajima Toyota 1m41.413s 2.211s 6
4 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche 1m42.783s 3.581s 6
5 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent ORECA/Gibson 1m47.437s 8.235s 5
6 LMP2 J.Canal, N.Prost, B.Senna ORECA/Gibson 1m47.521s 8.319s 8
7 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.Petrov ORECA/Gibson 1m48.004s 8.802s 8
8 LMP2 R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, J.Rossiter ORECA/Gibson 1m49.152s 9.950s 6
9 LMP2 M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr. ORECA/Gibson 1m50.604s 11.402s 10
10 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.Collard ORECA/Gibson 1m50.920s 11.718s 5
11 LMP2 N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, A.Negrao Alpine/Gibson 1m51.228s 12.026s 8
12 LMP2 D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.Gommendy ORECA/Gibson 1m52.630s 13.428s 8
13 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford 1m52.658s 13.456s 16
14 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki Porsche 1m52.710s 13.508s 6
15 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche 1m52.719s 13.517s 7
16 GTE Am Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin Ferrari 1m53.381s 14.179s 7
17 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.Molina Ferrari 1m53.407s 14.205s 5
18 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford 1m53.409s 14.207s 12
19 GTE Pro J.Calado, A.P.Guidi Ferrari 1m53.772s 14.570s 4
20 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird Ferrari 1m53.932s 14.730s 10
21 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam Aston Martin 1m54.760s 15.558s 11
22 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin 1m54.870s 15.668s 5
23 LMP2 M.Rao, B.Hanley, J-E.Vergne ORECA/Gibson 1m54.899s 15.697s 5
24 GTE Am M.Hedlund, B.Barker, N.Foster Porsche 1m55.512s 16.310s 4
25 GTE Am C.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.Dienst Porsche 1m59.453s 20.251s 8
26 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin 2m00.394s 21.192s 3

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