The qualifying to the FIA World Endurance Championship 4-hour race at Silverstone was run on Saturday midday, right after European Le Mans Series’ qualifying.
First, it was the GTE cars on the track, and it didn’t take long before Gulf Racing Porsche #86 took out one of the bollards in the Maggotts/Becketts section.
After the first flying lap, it was an AF Corse 1-2 in GTE Pro with just 0,006 second between them, while AF Corse #83 was the quickest in GTE Am, ahead of Aston Martin Racing #98.
Gianmaria Bruni a 540-degree spin in Porsche #91, but fortunately he didn’t hit anyone. He couldn’t however improve his time on those tires, and later his left-front tire exploded on Hangar Straight, ripping off the car’s front fender and side-view mirror.
Due to these debris, the race director chose to throw a red flag, so that the track could get cleaned up. At the same time, Porsche mechanics put a new door, new front fender and headlight on the car, making it whole again.
Team Project 1 Porsche #57 wasn’t on the track at all as the mechanics were busy changing the engine and/or gearbox.
After a short clean-up, the green flag was given.
It was time for the second driver to be in the car. Alessandro Pier Guidi in AF Corse Ferrari #51 set a fantastic time, over 0,3 second faster than the rest of the field.
Porsche #92 gave up and just let Estre set his time, so that the car would at least be ahead of the GTE Am cars, although they would still be last in the GTE Pro field
It ended up with AF Corse #51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado on Pole Position, ahead of their sister car #71 with Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina, while Aston Martin Racing #97 with Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin was P3.
TF Sport Aston Martin #90 with Jonny Adam, Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc was first in GTE Am, ahead of Team Project 1 with Egidio Perfetti, Matteo Cairoli and David Klokmann – and still there’s no David Heinemeier Hansson. We’re still waiting for the official statement from the team regarding DHH and the possible drive tomorrow, but it’s unlikely that he’ll be permitted to start since he hasn’t driven a single lap in the whole week.
Aston Martin Racing #98 with Ross Gunn, Darren Turner and Paul Dalla Lana was P3 amongst the Am cars. Even though Nicklas Nielsen set the best time in GTE Am, his teammate Francois Perrodo couldn’t follow up to that, and the two of them – plus Emmanuel Collard – ended up in P4, which is still a good position to start from.
After that it was time for the 20-minute qualifying for the LMP1 and LMP2 cars.
There was a bit of a queue to come out to the track, led by Rebellion Racing #3, even though Toyota Gazoo Racing had two of the last three garages in the pits.
Both Toyota Gazoo Racing cars were fast to start their flying laps, unlike the non-hybrid cars. When Rebellion Racing #1 finally got up to speed, Bruno Senna jumped in between the two Toyotas.
Racing Team Nederland #29 set the fastest time in LMP2, ahead of United Autosports #22, but all the teams still needed to put their second driver in the car.
Cool Racing #42 and Rebellion Racing #3 were extremely close to having a collision in Turn 3. Nicolas Lapierre in #42 was just out of the pits on the ideal racing line, and Pipo Derani in #3 was approaching fast on a flying lap. Derani managed to avoid it in the last second, so they luckily didn’t hit each other.
Toyota Gazoo Racing came back in 1-2 in LMP1, and when Rebellion was 3-4, they chose to park the cars. Team LNT was 5-6.
Signatech Alpine Elf #36 had a solo spin between Turn Sving 3 and 4, but Pierre Ragues quickly recovered.
After the twenty minutes, it was Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 with Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez on Pole Position, ahead of #8 with Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley, while Rebellion Racing #1 with Gustavo Menezes, Norman Nato and Bruno Senna would start the race from P3.
In the LMP2 category, Racing Team Nederland #29 showed dominance with Job van Uitert, Frits van Eerd and Giedo van der Garde, while United Autosports #22 with Phil Hanson, Paul Di Resta and Filipe Albuquerque would start from second, and Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 with Gabriel Aubry, Ho-Pin Tung and Will Stevens in third.
Now the teams have almost twenty four hours of preparation, before the 4-hour race starts at 12.00 GMT – 13.00 CET on Sunday.