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WEC Prologue: Toyota heads Cadillac in opening Sebring session

Toyota blocked out the top two positions in the times by a second in the opening session of the World Endurance Championship Prologue at Sebring.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

JEP / Motorsport Images

Jose Maria Lopez ended up quickest in the first of the four sessions over the two days of the official WEC pre-season test on Saturday, which precedes next Friday’s Sebring 1000 Miles series-opener.

The Argentinian posted a 1m48.208s in the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID to edge out team-mate Ryo Hirakawa, who ended up just under nine hundredths behind on 1m48.293s in the sister car.

Cadillac took third in the classification courtesy of a 1m49.253s from Richard Westbrook aboard the manufacturer’s solo entry in the Hypercar class run by Chip Ganassi Racing.

Porsche and Ferrari were evenly matched in fourth and fifth positions.

Frederic Makowiecki’s 1m49.650s in the best of the Penske-run Porsche 963s was less than a tenth up on Alessandro Pier Guidi’s 1m49.724s in the #51 Ferrari 499P run by AF Corse.

Ferrari 499P LMH

Ferrari 499P LMH

Photo by: Ferrari

The second cars from Porsche and Ferrari filled out sixth and seventh positions, Andre Lotterer’s 1m49.869s edging out the 1m50.182s from Antonio Fuoco, who was the last of the Hypercar entries to get within two seconds of Lopez’s best.

The two Peugeot 9X8s took eighth and ninth positions on their first experience of the bumpy Sebring International Raceway.

Mikkel Jensen set the best time for Peugeot, a 1m50.700s, which was half a second up on the 1m51.261s Gustavo Menezes managed in the second 9X8.

Olivier Pla ended up 10th for Glickenhaus in the team’s first run in anger since last July’s Monza round of the 2022 WEC.

His 1m52.247s aboard the #708 Glickenhaus-Pipo 007 was less than two tenths up on Tom Dillmann’s 1m52.410s in the Vanwall-Gibson Vandervell 680.

Toyota also completed the most laps over the course of the session.

Its two GR010s registered 134 laps between them, which compared with 123 for Porsche, 121 for Peugeot and 109 for Ferrari.

The lone Cadillac managed 44 laps over the three hours.

United Autosports just edged out WRT at the top of the LMP2 order.

Phil Hanson was quickest on a 1m51.722s in the #22 ORECA-Gibson 07, just three hundredths up on Robert Kubica’s 1m51.752s for WRT.

Yifei Ye was less than half a second down for Jota on 1m52.188s in the additional P2 ORECA the British team is fielding in the first two rounds of the WEC while it awaits its Porsche 963.

Michelle Gatting ended up fastest in GTE Am as the Iron Lynx squad took the top two positions with its pair of new Porsche 911 RSRs.

A 1m59.913s from Gatting in the Iron Dames entry was two hundredths up on Alessio Picariello’s 1m59.935s in the sister car.

Third fastest was the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo driven by factory driver Davide Rigon, who was only two thousandths behind.

The second session of the opening day of the Prologue begins at 13:30 local time.

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