With the sun out and the track dry, the FIA WEC field hit the track for a final practice this morning in Shanghai, producing different results up front.
In the opening sessions of the weekend yesterday, held in tricky, wet conditions, Toyota’s pair of TS050 HYBRIDs finished 1-2 in both. FP3 however, saw Rebellion Racing take over the reigns and lock out the top two spots with its R-13s.
The fastest time was set by Bruno Senna in the #1, a 1:45.135. That time was only just fast enough to slot in first, as the sister #3 R-13 managed a 1:45.156 by Thomas Laurent, the Frenchman 0.019 off.
While Toyota was unable to break the deadlock in the session, its best lap was only 0.027 off Rebellion’s best, the #8 ending the morning’s running with a 1:45.164 by Kazuki Nakajima.
The #7 Toyota took fourth, ahead of the two SMP Racing BR1s that also came within a second of Senna’s hot lap to go fifth and sixth.
LMP2 also saw a change in form in FP3, DragonSpeed’s Michelin-shod ORECA coming out on top with Anthony Davidson’s 1:50.957. The Signatech Alpine ended up second, ahead of the two Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs, the FP1 and 2 leading #37 example ahead of the #38.
Like LMP1, it was close in the times in LMP2, the top four all finishing within four-tenths of each other. The entire class in fact, managed to lap within a second.
Aston Martin’s showed fine pace in GTE Pro, lapping fastest of the six factories present with a 1:59.628 from Nicki Thiim in the #95, who made it the only car to break the 2:00 barrier. The #66 Ford took second with a 1:59.858.
Four marques featured in the top five, with the #92 Porsche setting the third fastest time (a 2:00.158) and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari taking fourth spot. BMW’s two M8s could only manage seventh and tenth, while Corvette, in its first proper run on the WEC Michelin slicks this weekend, sat 11th after an hour of running.
In GTE Am, Clearwater Racing led the way with a 2:01.583, the Singaporean team again looking strong in China. Spirit of Race’s Ferrari was second, a few tenths off, pushing the fastest of the Porsche’s, the #88, to third.
There were no major dramas in FP3, though there were two notable incidents: the #1 Rebellion of Neel Jani taking out the RFID scanners at pit-in, and Mike Wainwright bringing out a brielf Full-Course Yellow for a spin into the gravel in the Gulf Porsche.
Qualifying is up next, starting at 14:00 local time.