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Toyota On Top In Final Nürburgring Practice

Ford at the head of GTE Pro

After Porsche swept Friday’s two practice sessions at the Nürburgring, Toyota Gazoo Racing took the reigns in Free Practice 3 ahead of Qualifying, with a 1-2 on the screens in LMP1.

The best time from the two TS050 Hybrids was a 1:38.969 at the start of the hour-long session, set by Jose Maria Lopez in the #7. His time was four tenths faster than the sister car, which ended with a 1:39.396 from Kazuki Nakajima. It was however, three tenths off the fastest time of the weekend in LMP1, which was a 1:38.663 set by Brendon Hartley in Free Practice 2.

Behind, the two Porsches ended up third and fourth in the running order, the #2 ahead of the #1. Timo Bernhard was the best of the bunch at Porsche LMP team, with a 1:40.635, 1.6 seconds back from the fastest Toyota. The #1’s best time was a 1:40.767, from Neel Jani.

In LMP2, the #31 Rebellion ORECA topped the times, with a 1:46.017 from Bruno Senna, two tenths up on the other runners in the class. Second spot was taken by the #35 Alpine, with a 1:46.221 by Nelson Panciatici, ahead of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA following a late improvement by Older Jarvis, to put the Le Mans-winning trio three tenths off the best time.

The #25 Manor OREC and #13 Rebellion completed the top five. At the back of the pack, the Tockwith Motorsports Ligier’s time was a 3.5 seconds back from the class’ best time. Just above Tockwith in 15th overall, was the ByKolles CLM, which has struggled for pace throughout practice, 8.1 seconds back from the best LMP1 time.

GTE Pro was led by the #66 Ford Team Chip Ganassi UK GT, Olivier Pla setting a 1:54.875, the fastest GTE time of the weekend thus far.

Second in the order was the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 of Toni Vilander and Davide Rigon. The time was a 1:55.221, before Vilander was asked to push hard at the end, and missed the pit lane entry to and over the car to Rigon in the final minutes, causing the car to grind to a halt on the way down to the bottom hairpin.

Third was the #51 sister AF Corse Ferrari, a further tenth back, ahead of the second of the Fords, which missed out on the top three despite Andy Priaulx’s best efforts, reeling off a 1:55.439 in the second half of the hour.

GTE Am, was led by the Dempsey Proton Porsche this time. Matteo Cairloi setting the best time in the car, a 1:56.882, two tenths up on the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari and #98 Aston Martin. The entire class was separated by 1.3 seconds.

Qualifying today starts at 14:55 local time.