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03.11.2017    Smooth start for the Porsche 919 Hybrids into their penultimate race weekend

For the Porsche LMP Team the first day of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s penultimate round in Shanghai went according to plan: tyre comparison, set-up work and qualifying simulation were ticked off. So far the Porsche 919 Hybrids appeared stronger on longer runs than on a single fast lap. Porsche, as well as this year’s Le Mans winners, Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ), have a chance to take an early win of the world championship in Sunday’s six-hour race.

Because of a radio communication problem between race control and the marshals and medical staff around the track, the first 90-minute practice session was postponed by 90 minutes to start at 12:30 hrs. The Porsche trio of Neel Jani (CH), André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) came second (1:47.414 minutes) ahead of Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley (1:47.637 minutes). The second practice session got underway as planned at 15:30 hrs, leaving the teams very little time for analyses and preparation work. In the second session Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley finished third (1:45.269 minutes) and Jani/Lotterer/Tandy were fourth (1:45.616 minutes). The day’s best lap times were set by Toyota.

Both sessions ran on a dry track with ambient temperatures between 17 to 19 degrees Celsius. It became cloudy with gusty winds during the afternoon.

The penultimate WEC round in Shanghai could see the world championship being decided. Independently from Toyota’s results, the scenarios are: If a 919 Hybrid wins the race, Porsche becomes the Manufacturers’ World Champion for a third consecutive time. If Bamber/Bernhard/Hartley finish the race no lower than in third position, they are the new Driver World Champions.

Next on the programme for the Le Mans prototypes is qualifying on Saturday from 14:30 to 14:50 hrs local time. The six-hour race on Sunday will start at 11:00 hrs local time.

“Today was quite an intense working day. The competition is pretty close,” said Timo. “We still have some work to do, but we will manage that. Off line on the track there is a lot of rubber that you don’t want to pick up. So you have to manage traffic with care.”

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