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Lopez Puts #7 On Top In Night Practice

Aston again quickest in GTE Pro, Project 1 gets going

In LMP1 Jose Maria Lopez shaved two-tenths off the previous session’s best for Toyota, the #7 TS050 posting a 1:41.730 soon after the session went green. Fernando Alonso’s final lap of the session for the #8 Toyota took the F1 ace to within half a second. SMP Racing found the best part of a second over their previous session, the #3 and #4 cars the best of the rest, separated by 1/100th.

Signatech Alpine Matmut’s Nicolas Lapierre got straight down to business to head LMP2 until Jackie Chan DC Racing’s Stephane Richelmi delivered a 1:47.716, a tenth better than the FP1 best by Racing Team Netherland’s Dallara, whose second outing this evening hadn’t gone as well.

Fritz van Eerd made it safely back to pit lane having suffered a serious rear suspension failure. Thus the car sat out the session, casting doubt over the night lap requirements for Nyck de Vries and Guido Van Der Garde.

DragonSpeed was also in the wars. Anthony Davidson triggered an early Full Course Yellow as his LMP2 Oreca sat minus a rear wheel at the high-speed Turn 1.

After its first lap drama, one of Davidson’s co-drivers, Pastor Maldonado, would return the troubled DragonSpeed car to the Sebring runway with less than 20 minutes of the session to go, Roberto Gonzales taking the flag at the end in the #31 car, meaning all three drivers had posted night times in the recovering Oreca.

The #97 Aston Martin finished on top in GTE-Pro; 1:57.792 courtesy of Alex Lynn, but had the two Ford GTs breathing down its neck. Jonathan Bomarito’s 1:57.825 evidenced incredibly close competition in the class, the #67 car just over a tenth in front of the #66 Ford GT.

Earlier than expected, Team Project 1’s Porsche 911 RSR made it out of the paddock, meaning every entry had taken to the track in this session. The team’s triumphant efforts were rewarded as the #56 car got straight onto the night time pace, Jorg Bergmeister posting a 2:00.156. The Porsche specialist reported that the car felt good though it would end the session some way down the order.

Class honours this time went to Ben Barker’s 1:59.327 in the Gulf Racing 911 RSR, ahead of the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE and the #88 Dempsey Proton Porsche.