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Porsche closes out FIA WEC Prologue on top

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber

Porsche 919 Hybrid, Porsche Team: Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber

Porsche closed out the pre-season FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test at Paul Ricard in France at the top of the timesheets.

After seeing Neel Jani set the pace in the Porsche 919 Hybrid on Friday evening, Brendon Hartley led the way on Saturday with a best lap of 1:37.445 in the afternoon session

Hartley’s lap was less than half-a-tenth quicker than Jani’s, giving him the fastest time of the entire two-day test at Paul Ricard.

Porsche drivers claimed the top three positions in the overall timesheets, with Romain Dumas following Hartley and Jani half a second behind.

Stephane Sarraizin finished as the best of the rest for Toyota, finishing eight-tenths of a second further back. Teammate Kamui Kobayashi followed in fifth place, although his Saturday running was cut short by an issue.

Benoit Treluyer finished as the quickest Audi driver in eighth place, 1.4 seconds down on Hartley at the top, with the German marque hitting trouble on both days with the R18 car.

In LMP2, Gustavo Menezes finished fastest for Signatech Alpine after lapping 0.002 seconds quicker than Jonny Kane of Strakka Racing on the second morning of testing.

The new Ford Chip Ganassi Racing led the way in GTE Pro on Saturday afternoon, but could not topple the AF Corse Ferrari F488 GTE of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado from P1 in class in the overall timesheets. The Italian team locked out the top three positions, with Olivier Pla finishing eight-tenths of a second behind in the leading Ford GT.

Paolo Ruberti’s time from the first morning of running at Paul Ricard was good enough for P1 in GTE Am, giving Larbre Competition a boost heading into the new season.

The opening round of the 2016 FIA WEC season takes place at Silverstone on April 17.

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