Toyota Gazoo Racing’s pair of TS050 HYBRIDs ended up sitting 1-2 atop the Free Practice 1 times after an hour and a half of running in light rain, following this morning’s Michelin tyre test.
The fastest of the two was the #8, Sebastien Buemi posting a 1:54.768, 1.5 seconds faster than the sister car which slotted in second with a 1:56.354 from Jose Maria Lopez after two of the privateer runners led the way earlier in the session.
SMP’s #17 BR1 and Rebellion Racing’s #3 R-13 both shared the top spot throughout the session, with the rain coming down. But when the weather improved in the final half hour, the two Toyotas bettered their times by a considerable margin, the #17 eventually ending up third and 4.1 seconds off the best time, and the #4 4.3 off in fifth after ByKolles’ CLM jumped up to fourth courtesy of a late 1:58.919 by Tom Dillman.
Further down the order, DragonSpeed’s BR1 lagged behind the rest of the P1 pack, the team only managing five laps after a sensor issue forced the team’s car into the garage for much of the session. This leaves the American-flagged team a bit behind, especially as the other seven LMP1 cars all took part to some degree in the Michelin tyre test earlier in the day while DragonSpeed sat out.
The car’s best tour was a 2:06.847, putting it at the very bottom of the LMP standings, and only three seconds quicker than the fastest of the GTE runners.
In LMP2, the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 topped the class, with a 2:02.923, six tenths clear of the #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara which set the pace early on. Third was the TDS Racing ORECA.
GTE Pro meanwhile, was led by the #81 MTEK BMW, Martin Tomczyk reeling off a 2:09.830 to go 2.4 seconds faster than the other GTE Pro runners.
Second in the GTE ranks, wasn’t from the Pro class, instead, the TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, which topped Am as a result, with a 2:11.764 from Charlie Eastwood at the end of the session.
The #91 Porsche came closest to the #81 BMW in Pro, with a 2:12.202 from Richard Lietz. Making it three marques in the top three was the #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR.
Corvette Racing’s C7.R meanwhile, ended up in seventh in class with a best lap of 2:13.182 after 30 tours of the circuit during the 90 minutes of running.
Completing the top three in GTE Am was the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche with a 2:17.432, and the Clearwater Ferrari which leap up from last in class to third with a 2:13.683 from Keita Sawa just before he chequered flag came out.
FP2 is set to start at 15:30 local time.
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