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Toyota 1-2-3 In First Le Mans Test Session

Oreca domination in LMP2

Toyota Gazoo Racing ran fastest in the first session of the Le Mans Test Day, Kazuki Nakajima setting a late 3:20.778 in the #8 TS050 Hybrid with just over 20 minutes in the session, to go 0.672 faster than the other LMP1 runners.

Nakajima’s time headlined a 1-2-3 at the top of the session for the Toyota team, with the #7 TS050 Hybrid finishing second with a 3:21.450 by Kamui Kobayashi, ahead of the #9 down in third (Jose-Maria Lopez setting a 3:22.006). It was a good session for the #9 (third car), in which it managed 58 laps, the most in the class, plenty of them by rookies Yuji Kunimoto and Lopez.

The fastest Porsche finished fourth, the #2 setting a 3:23.089 by Earl Bamber. The #1 rounded out the top five.

The track started out dirty, with the times tumbling towards the end of the session, purple sectors scattered across the P1 Hybrids at the end of the session before the lunch break.

LMP2 meanwhile, saw Orecas finish – astonishingly – in the top 13 positions in the class. Leading the way was the #35 Signatech Alpine, with Andre Negrao reeling off a 3:29.809 lap right at the end of the session, becoming the only driver to lap under 3:30 so far.

Second on the road was the #13 Rebellion Oreca, with Mathias Beche lapping the circuit in 3:30.516. The car spent much of the second half of the session top of the times. Third was the #40 GRAFF Oreca with a 3:30.525. The second Rebellion came in fourth, ahead of the #21 DragonSpeed O7 Gibson, after Ben Hanley set the car’s best time in the final half hour.

The fastest of the other chassis was the United Autosports Ligier JS P217, almost four seconds off the outright pace, down in 20th overall, ahead of the Racing Team Nederland Dallara P217. The Dallara proved to be the fastest in a straight line so far, the Cetilar Villorba Corse car managing 341 kph.

The #43 Keating Motorsports Riley meanwhile, finished at the bottom of the LMP2 pack, after completing just nine laps. The new Mk.30 suffered teething problems early in the session while Jeroen Bleekemolen was taking the car out for an installation run and wasn’t able to return to the circuit.

GTE Pro was topped by Corvette. Antonio Garcia popped in at the top of the standings at the end with a 3:55.726 in the #63 C7.R, less than a tenth quicker than the #91 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR, and the #64 Corvette C7.R of Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner and Marcel Fassler which popped in third with a 3:56.290.

Fourth was the #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage, with the #92 Porsche rounding out the top five in the class.

At the head of GTE Am was Proton Competition, its #77 Porsche 911 of Matteo Cairoli, Christian Reid and Marvin Dienst setting a 3:59.117, a tenth faster than the #83 DH Racing (Krohn Liveried) Ferrari 488. The #88 Proton Competition Porsche slotted in third.

While it was a mostly clean session, there were some notable incidents. The TF Sport Aston Martin had its water pump belt break while Salih Yoluc was in the car. The team’s Vantage having to spend time in the garage being repaired after returning to the pits, the marshals accidentally pulling the crash bar off when it was pulled back onto the circuit.

The #93 Proton Competition Porsche also stopped on track, as did the #26 G-Drive Racing Oreca after a puncture.

The second session of the 2017 Test Day is set to begin at 2pm local time.