Night falls on day one of the Prologue

The third and final session of the first day of The Prologue was run for the most part in total darkness around the Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet.
With several drivers new to endurance racing or new to the WEC, the two-hour night practice offered teams and drivers within the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship a great opportunity to experience night running before the third round of the championship, the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.
Seven cars chose not to run at all, and many of the others completed a limited number of laps.  At the close of play tonight it was Brendon Hartley in the No.20 Porsche 919 Hybrid who claimed the fastest lap of the day with a time of 1:41.289, ahead of its sister LMP1-H the No.14.    Neither of Rebellion Racing’s privateer Lola Toyotas were on track.
In LMP2 Shinji Nakano again set the pace, his lap of 1:49.246 in the No.23 Millenium Racing ORECA 03 Nissan.  The two SMP Racing entries followed in class, the No.27 just six tenths of a second  behind the class leader.
Porsche junior driver Klaus Bachler showed a clean pair of heels to the Pro class, his lap of 1:58.662 in the GTE
Am No.88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR placing him ahead of the leading LMGTE Pro entry – the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Davide Rigon (1:58.986).  The Italian’s new team mate, James Calado, showed how evenly matched the pair will be; just 0.003s separated the two AF drivers at the end of the night!  Ram Racing’s No.52 Ferrari was second in the GTE Pro category, Alvaro Parente getting quickly up to speed in the WEC.
The No.61 F458 of the championship-winning squad was second in the Am category behind the Proton Porsche, Luis Perez Companc thoroughly enjoying his transfer from the LMP2 category to GTE and setting the fastest lap of the three drivers in the AF Corse Ferrari.
The cars will be back on track tomorrow morning at 09h00 for a further 4-hour session and the action will take place in front of almost 8,000 fans eager to see and meet their endurance racing heroes.
Fiona Miller