Porsche scored another 1-2 in qualifying to maintain its perfect pole record in the 2015 World Endurance Championship and ensure that Webber, Hartley and teammate Timo Bernhard stretch their title advantage to two points.
The title leading No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley set an average of 1m42.719s this afternoon. Hartley, who has been the quickest driver in the No.17 for most of the meeting, set an outright best of 1m42.621s to lay the foundations of a convincing pole. Before war is declared in the Rugby World Cup this evening, the Australian and New Zealander worked in perfect harmony throughout the qualifying session.
Such was the advantage that the No.17 Porsche enjoyed; Webber was able to pit the car with five minutes to go. The No.17 Porsche had 0.769s over the sister No.18 car which made an unexpected pit stop after the first lap out of the pit. Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas were on qualifying duties this afternoon.
Audi was unable to trouble the Porches at Shanghai today in qualifying and line-up third and fourth on the grid. Marcel Fassler hit traffic on his quick lap and was left frustrated to not get nearer the Porches today.
The No.7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, in the hands of Fassler and Benoit Treluyer will start behind the sister Audi Sport Team Joest car which was qualified by of Loic Duval and Lucas di Grassi today.
Toyota finished in fifth and sixth places once again, with Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson qualifying the No.1 TS 040 Hybrid ahead of the Alex Wurz and Mike Conway crewed car, which was just under 0.2s behind.
The LMP1 Privateer category was headed by the No.12 Rebellion Racing R-One-AER driven by Dominik Kraihamer and Alexander Imperatori. The pair, who are joined by FIA WEC newcomer Matheo Tuscher this weekend, had a trouble-free run to secure the pole from the No.12 Rebellion of Nicolas Prost and Mathias Beche.
LMP2 pole was claimed for a third successive race by Sam Bird and Julien Canal in the No.26 G-Drive Ligier-Nissan. Canal fought back superbly from an accident in the final Free Practice session this morning, while Bird set easily the fastest individual class lap on a 1m51.984s. The average for the LMP2 pole sitter was 1m52.763s.
The G-Drive Racing Ligier was almost six tenths of a second quicker than the KCMG ORECA 05-Nissan. The two title rivals will start from the front row just three weeks after a series of controversial incidents at Fuji. Matt Howson and Nick Tandy qualified the car for the Hong Kong entered team as they attempt to hunt down a now 13-point deficit to the G-Drive trio.
The other G-Drive Racing Ligier-Nissan qualified by Ricardo Gonzalez and Pipo Derani today placed third maintaining a consistent run of strong performances.
Ferrari and Aston Martin Front Row Lockouts in LMGTE Qualifying in China
The AF Corse Ferrari 458s took a 1-2 in LMGTE Pro qualifying for the 6 Hours of Shanghai with reigning World Champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander taking their second pole position of 2015 in the no51 Ferrari, 0.265s ahead of teammates James Calado and Davide Rigon in the no71 458.
The no99 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Alex MacDowall and Fernando Rees will start from row 2 after just being bumped from the front row by just 0.032s at the end of the 20-minute session.
The two Porsche Team Manthey 911s will start in 4th and 5th places on the grid with the no92 Porsche of Fred Makowiecki and Patrick Pilet finishing ahead of the no91 sister car of championship leader Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen. The no97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Johnny Adams and Darren Turner finished 6th 1.15 seconds adrift of the pole position holders at the front of the grid.
There were lots of smiles in the Aston Martin Racing garage as the no98 Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana took the chequered flag to move to the head of the LMGTE Am time sheet to score their 4th pole position of the 2015 season after an earlier good first run by Pedro Lamy. The Canadian’s last gasp effort pushed their teammates in the no96 Vantage, Stuart Hall and Liam Griffin, down into second place by just 0.130s and securing an all Aston Martin front row for tomorrow’s 6 Hours of Shanghai.
The n50 Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette of Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti will start from row 2 by just 0.018s, with the no83 AF Corse Ferrari of Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard in 4th.
Championship leaders Victor Shaytar and Alesey Basov in the no72 SMP Racing Ferrari 458 will start the race in 5th place ahead of the two Porsches, with the no77 Dempsey Proton Racing 911 ahead of the no88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche.
The 6 Hours of Shanghai will start tomorrow morning at 11h00 (local).