By Tarek Ramchani
Action has started at the Circuit de La Sarthe with an eventful 4-hour practice session. All of the three Audi R18 e-tron quattros performed well and were able to set competitive lap times.
The session started with a wet track, but conditions improved laps later. The red flag came twice following crashes involving LMP2 cars.
Audi Sport Team Joest ended the session in positions three, five and six. Up ahead it was a 1-2 Porsche with their works 919 Hybrid cars.
The #18 Porsche driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb was the quickest overall. However the car is under investigation as Romain Dumas cut the final chicane when setting the best time. Second place went to the #17 Porsche.
Best Audi car was the #8 R18 e-tron quattro with Loïc Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis. The three Audi drivers set a best time of 3:21.950. The #18 Porsche was third ahead of the sister #19 machine in fourth.
FIA WEC points leaders André Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer and Marcel Fassler were fifth fastest. The drivers of the #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro set a best time of 3:23.051.
The #9 Audi was sixth fastest with drivers Filipe Albuquerque, René Rast and Marco Bonanomi. The car which is not taking part in the full FIA WEC season set a best time of 3:23.651.
Best of the Toyotas was the #1 TS040 Hybrid in seventh place ahead of the sister #2 machine. The factory Nissan GT-R LM NISMOs had some issues but improved compared to their performances in the test day.
The first qualifying session will follow next, a 2-hour on between 22:00 and 00:00 CET.
UPDATE: #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid best time has been deleted by race officials. Therefore the #8 Audi R8 e-tron quattro moves to second place overall.
Photo credit:Audi Media