Sunday, November 19, 2017
Sports

Porsche to start 1-2 at 24 Hours of Le Mans

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LE MANS, France — Porsche qualified 1-2 for this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans sports car endurance classic, which starts at 9 a.m. today (FS1) in France.

Neel Jani's No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car had the best lap of 3 minutes, 19.733 seconds, beating the No. 1 team car driven by Timo Bernard.

Three IndyCar regulars are driving in the race including St. Petersburg resident and Le Mans native Sebastien Bourdais in the No. 68 Ford entered by Chip Ganassi Racing in the GTE-Pro class. He and teammates Joey Hand and Dirk Muller will start 28th overall but first in their class.

Ganassi has brought a four-car effort to Le Mans including four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who will team with Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe in the No. 69 Ford.

Another full-time IndyCar driver, Russian Mikhail Aleshin, teams with Nicolas Minassian and Maurizio Mediani in the No. 27 Nissan entry in the LMP2 class.

F1: Series commercial chief Bernie Ecclestone said he is confused by human rights groups criticizing the series for coming to Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, for Sunday's European Grand Prix. Human rights organizations have long expressed concern about restrictions on political opposition and corruption under president Ilham Aliyev. Some rights groups have criticized F1 for going to the country, and others have urged the series to use the race to expose rights issues. Ecclestone said it was a question of definition. "The moment someone tells me what human rights are, then we can have a look at it, and see when and where it applies," he said. Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton led Friday's opening practice, ahead of teammate and series leader Nico Rosberg.

NHRA: Steve Torrence led Top Fuel on the first day of qualifying at the Thunder Valley Nationals in Bristol, Tenn., with a run of 3.745 seconds at 324.12 mph. Ron Capps (Funny Car) and Jaosn Line (Pro Stock) also led their classes.

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