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Practice report

WEC Sebring: Toyota fastest but suffers crash in truncated final practice

Toyota completed a practice clean sweep for the World Endurance Championship's Sebring season opener, although Jose Maria Lopez suffered damage with a late crash in the final 60-minute session.

#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

Toyota Racing

Kamui Kobayashi set a blistering time of 1m45.783s in the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID to lead a one-two finish for the Japanese marque ahead of Thursday’s afternoon qualifying for the Sebring 1000 Miles.

The 36-year-old set his fastest lap with 40 minutes remaining, dethroning the #50 Ferrari that had sat atop the timesheets with Antonio Fuoco at the wheel.

His time was a full 1.2s quicker than Wednesday’s benchmark time set by Brendon Hartley in the sister #8 car and cemented Toyota’s status as the favourite for pole position in the expanded 11-car Hypercar class.

However, it wasn’t a clean session for the #7 car with Kobayashi’s team-mate Lopez hitting the barriers at Turn 13 rear-first in the final 10 minutes of practice, a year on from his double incident that allowed rival Alpine to win the race.

The impact led to some visible damage and, with Nicklas Nielsen also crashing his #50 Ferrari at almost the same time, the session was red-flagged with just under six minutes left on the clock.

A decision was made not to resume practice, but the #7 Toyota still ended up fastest courtesy of Kobayashi’s early time.

Hartley ensured Toyota finished first and second despite the late drama, but he ended up more than six tenths adrift of Kobayashi despite having set his quickest lap time just second after his Japanese squadmate.

Ferrari was again Toyota’s quickest challenger in practice, with Fuoco’s early time of 1m46.77s good enough for third on the timesheets, albeit a second down on Kobayashi’s chart-topping effort.

Cadillac jumped to fourth late in the final 10 minutes when Alex Lynn lapped the Sebring International Circuit in 1m47.155s aboard the #2 Chip Ganassi Racing V-Series.R.

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Peugeot enjoyed its most competitive outing of the weekend so far with Mikkel Jensen lapping the #93 9X8 in 1m47.965s, although it was still two seconds slower than the fastest time of the day.

The two Porsche Penske cars finished sixth and eighth respectively, with Michael Christensen the faster of the two in the #5 963 LMDh.

The two Porsches were split by Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari 499P, while the sole Glickenhaus finished 10th with Romain Dumas at the wheel.

The #4 Vanwall stopped on track just after the pit exit at the start of practice, with Tom Dillmann reporting a lack of power from the car’s non-hybrid Gibson engine. A full course yellow had to be deployed to retrieve the car, which didn’t return later in practice - losing a full-hour of mileage as a result.

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Pietro Fittipaldi again led the way for Jota in the LMP2 division, improving his own benchmark from Wednesday to a 1m50.102s in the #28 ORECA-Gibson 07.

Philip Hanson ended up second in the #22 United Autosports ORECA with a time fractionally slower than Fittipaldi, while third-place went to the other Jota LMP2 entry piloted by Yifei Ye.

Oliver Jarvis’ time of 1m50.291s in the #23 ORECA made it a duopoly for Jota and United at the front end of the LMP2 field, as the four cars from the two teams were separated by just 0.163s seconds at the end of the session.

Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti put the #63 Prema in fifth place with his best effort of 1m1m50.409s, which was 0.281s down on the fastest class time of the session.

In GTE Am, factory Aston Martin driver Nicki Thiim set the fastest time in the #98 Northwest AMR Vantage GTE, beating the #86 GR Racing Porsche of Riccardo Pera by 0.043s.

Daniel Serra finished another 0.011s adrift in third position with his #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 GTE.

WEC Sebring - FP3 results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 1'45.783  
2 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 1'46.392 0.609
3 50 Italy Antonio Fuoco
Spain Miguel Molina
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 1'46.777 0.994
4 2 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac V-Series.R HYPERCAR 1'47.155 1.372
5 93 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 1'47.965 2.182
6 5 United States Dane Cameron
Denmark Michael Christensen
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 1'48.303 2.520
7 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 1'48.425 2.642
8 6 France Kevin Estre
Germany Andre Lotterer
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 1'48.485 2.702
9 94 France Loic Duval
United States Gustavo Menezes
Switzerland Nico Müller
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 1'48.602 2.819
10 28 Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi
Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.128 4.345
11 22 Frederick Lubin
United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.218 4.435
12 48 Germany David Beckmann
China Ye Yifei
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.256 4.473
13 23 United States Josh Pierson
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.291 4.508
14 63 France Doriane Pin
Italy Mirko Bortolotti
Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.409 4.626
15 36 France Matthieu Vaxiviere
France Julien Canal
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.467 4.684
16 9 Filip Ugran
Netherlands Bent Viscaal
Italy Andrea Caldarelli
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.912 5.129
17 31 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.162 5.379
18 35 Brazil Andre Negrao
Mexico Memo Rojas
United Kingdom Olli Caldwell
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.281 5.498
19 708 France Romain Dumas
Australia Ryan Briscoe
France Olivier Pla
Glickenhaus 007 HYPERCAR 1'51.288 5.505
20 41 Portugal Rui Andrade
Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.495 5.712
21 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Spain Albert Costa
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.556 5.773
22 10 Ireland Ryan Cullen
Matthias Kaiser
France Gabriel Aubry
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.579 5.796
23 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Zimbabwe Axcil Jefferies
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1'59.030 13.247
24 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'59.073 13.290
25 57 Japan Takeshi Kimura
United States Scott Huffaker
Brazil Daniel Serra
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1'59.084 13.301
26 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1'59.093 13.310
27 33 United States Ben Keating
Nicolas Varrone
Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE AM 1'59.098 13.315
28 83 Argentina Luis Perez Companc
France Lilou Wadoux
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1'59.119 13.336
29 77 Germany Christian Ried
Mikkel Pedersen
France Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'59.210 13.427
30 21 Italy Stefano Costantini
France Simon Mann
Ulysse De
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 1'59.216 13.433
31 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Belgium Alessio Picariello
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'59.325 13.542
32 85 Belgium Sarah Bovy
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Switzerland Rahel Frey
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'59.487 13.704
33 25 United Kingdom Ahmad Al Harthy
Michael Dinan
Ireland Charles Eastwood
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 1'59.622 13.839
34 56 PJ Hyett
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 1'59.637 13.854
35 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Casper Stevenson
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'00.880 15.097
36 4 France Tom Dillmann
Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Canada Jacques Villeneuve
Vanwall Vandervell 680 HYPERCAR    
37 88 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM    

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