Hartley to start from 4th place at Le Mans

The Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Brendan Hartley will start from 4th place in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Photo / Supplied
The Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Brendan Hartley will start from 4th place in the Le Mans 24 Hour race. Photo / Supplied

The Porsche Team's two Porsche 919 Hybrids will start second and fourth in the 24-Hours of Le Mans. The field for the top class prototypes produced a tough battle for pole position - with constant fights in traffic on the legendary 13,629 kilometre long track. For car no. 14 (Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb) it was Romain who achieved the fastest lap time (3min 22.146secs) in the final qualifying session. For car no. 20 (Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber), Timo's best lap time from the second qualifying session remained its fastest. In the last minutes of the final qualifying, Neel and Brendon were in their respective cars but had no chance of improving because of the 'so called' slow-zones for cautions after accidents out on the track.

Wolfgang Hatz, Board member for Research and Development: "The front row in Le Mans has been kind of a secret target, and we have been able to tick it off the list at our first attempt. It is not pole position, but it is totally fine. We knew we would have been fast enough, but in the end we weren't lucky enough to get a clear lap.

Now we will focus on the race and try to avoid mistakes. I am proud of our team and wish everyone all the best."

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: "I think it's amazing that we really made it to the front and second rows at Le Mans. This is more than we could expect. We did very well in qualifying."

Alexander Hitzinger, Technical Director LMP1: "It was nice to see that our car was competitive on this track as well. It would have been even nicer if we'd had the chance to attack for pole. I believe it was within reach. However, starting second and fourth is an absolutely positive result."

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal LMP1: "To me these grid positions are sensational and a great reward for two tough years. For the outside world it might be difficult to imagine how challenging it really was to build up everything from scratch, and we even managed these tricky qualifying situations here in Le Mans with all the interruptions pretty well. The qualifying result is a reward not only for the team here at the track, but also for the guys back home in Weissach."

Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley found the qualifying experience frustrating at times.

"It was a tough session out there with slow-zones and red and yellow flags. It was a matter of luck who got a clear lap and who didn't, which I found a bit frustrating. But I think from the team's point of view it was a great effort. Second and fourth on the grid at the return of Porsche to the prototype class in Le Mans - this is fantastic." said Hartley

Qualifying result LMP1:
1. Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima (A/F/J), Toyota TS 040 Hybrid, 3:21,789 min.
2. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (F/CH/D), Porsche 919 Hybrid, + 0,357 s
3. Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi (GB/F/CH), Toyota TS 040 Hybrid, + 0,734 s
4. Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis (POR/I/GB), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, + 1,575 s
5. Bernhard/Webber/Hartley (D/AUS/NZ), Porsche 919 Hybrid, + 2,347 s
6. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (CH/D/F), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, + 2,940 s
7. Di Grassi/Gené/Kristensen (BRA/ESP/DK), Audi R18 e-tron quattro, + 4,025 s

- NZ Herald

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