Porsche’s Jani tops final session on first day of WEC test at Monza

Neel Jani
Neel Jani

The first three of five testing sessions took place at Autodromo Nazionale Monza on Saturday for The Prologue, the official pre-season event for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. The third, night session was declared wet and few of the 27 entrants chose to run.

Here are the highlights from the day.

Morning Session:

  • Reigning World Endurance Driver Champion Neel Jani set the fastest time in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid in the morning session.
  • Jani’s best lap, a 1m32.068s, was 0.158 seconds faster than Anthony Davidson in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID.
  • The time was also 0.381 seconds quicker than the Fastest Lap set by Stephane Sarrazin during the last ACO-sanctioned event at Monza in 2008.
  • The No.7 Toyota driven by Mike Conway was third, then the No.2 Porsche of Brendon Hartley. 0.548 seconds separated the top four.
  • Toyota managed 111 laps, across the 2 cars, 5 more than Porsche. ByKolles did not run in the session as it was still being prepared after late delivery of some parts.
  • Vaillante Rebellion began life in LMP2 with first and second quickest times, as Bruno Senna led Mathias Beche. Roman Rusinov was third quickest in the TDS-operated G-Drive ORECA 07-Gibson.
  • Michael Christensen set the fastest time in GTE Pro on the first official outing for the new Porsche 911 RSR in Europe; Christensen managed a 1m47.379s to beat the two Ford GTs of Andy Priaulx (No.67) and Stefan Mucke (No.66).
  • The time was set halfway through a 50 lap stint, the most completed by anybody in the class. The No.51 Ferrari 488 GTE completed only six laps, but was faster than both Aston Martin Vantage GTEs.
  • In the LMGTE Am class, Porsche was first and second as Ben Barker in the No.86 Gulf Racing 911 RSR pipped newcomer Matteo Cairoli in the No.77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche.
  • Miguel Molina was third quickest in the No.54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE.

Toyota ahead after two sessions; Porsche lead LMGTE

  • Mike Conway set the fastest time for Toyota Gazoo Racing in the afternoon session, as both TS050 HYBRIDs beat the time set earlier in the day by Porsche’s Neel Jani.
  • Conway clocked a 1m31.332s in the No.7 TS050 HYBRID, which was 0.736 seconds faster than Jani managed during the morning session. The time put him 0.730 seconds ahead of team-mate Kazuki Nakajima in the No.8 Toyota.
  • The two Porsches recorded the third and fourth fastest times, with Brendon Hartley in the No.2 919 Hybrid ahead of André Lotterer in the No.1 car who was 0.814 seconds off Kobayashi’s benchmark.
  • ByKolles was again absent and recorded no laps, to the disappointment of Robert Kubica’s passionate fans.
  • Reigning LMP2 champion Gustavo Menezes carried on where he left off last season by topping the charts in the No.36 Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson. The American was just 0.065 seconds faster than Vitaly Petrov in the No.24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA.
  • John Martin, who won four times in the LMP2 class in his last WEC season in 2013, was third on his return with G-Drive Racing. The Australian does not have a race seat confirmed, but could make an appearance at the 6 Hours of Nürburgring later in the year.
  • For the second consecutive session, the No.92 Porsche was fastest in LMGTE Pro, although the session was not without incident for Kevin Estre. The Frenchman set the benchmark time early on, before an off-track moment at the Ascari chicane briefly required a red flag. He recovered to the pits and the car would complete a total of 43 laps.
  • Ford was again Porsche’s closest competitors, with the No.66 car driven by Olivier Pla just 0.103 seconds behind. Frederic Makowiecki was third in the No.91 Porsche and Alessandro Pier Guidi fourth in the best of the Ferraris.
  • Miguel Molina completed his first laps in the No.71 Ferrari he will race at Le Mans with Davide Rigon and Sam Bird. The Spaniard also drove the No.54 Spirit of Race Ferrari in GTE Am and managed a time within half a second of Ben Barker, who was again the man to beat.
  • The Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR improved by over three tenths from this morning to beat Matteo Cairoli in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche.

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