WEC Spa: Toyota beats Cadillac to fastest FP3 time on drying track
Toyota’s Kamui Kobayashi headed final practice for the World Endurance Championship’s third round at a damp Spa Francorchamps, as times plunged in the closing minutes on the fast-drying track.
Times set early in the one-hour session were around 20 seconds off the dry pace set on Thursday, but improved steadily before a final flurry of quick times saw several different manufacturers take turns atop the leaderboard.
It was Kobayashi’s #7 GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar that ended up fastest with a 2m08.702s effort, despite the Japanese running wide at Blanchimont after he passed a GTE Am Porsche at the apex.
That put him 0.734s ahead of Earl Bamber’s #2 Chip Ganassi Racing-run Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh, which had spun a few minutes earlier at the Bruxelles Hairpin.
However, it was still 6.831s down on the best dry time posted by Antonio Giovinazzi’s #51 Ferrari 499P Le Mans Hypercar in FP2.
Will Stevens moved Jota’s new #38 Porsche 963 up to third, as Antonio Felix da Costa enjoyed the bulk of running to acclimatise to the new machine after missing Thursday’s running on Formula E simulator duty.
Stevens’ 2m10.434s lap was however only the fourth-fastest time overall, as Ferdinand Habsburg whisked his #31 WRT ORECA-Gibson 07 LMP2 machine around 0.166s quicker than Stevens and 0.961s up on his nearest class rival.
That honour fell to Gabriel Aubry’s Vector Sport ORECA, who pipped the #8 Toyota to fifth overall, with Ryo Hirakawa the only driver inside the top 10 overall not to set his best time on the final tour.
#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Sebastien Bourdais took the second Ganassi Cadillac to fifth in the 13-car Hypercar field after its running was curtailed early in FP2.
Behind Filipe Albuquerque’s #22 United Autosports ORECA LMP2, Antonio Fuoco put the best of the Ferrari LMHs ninth overall ahead of Albuquerque’s team-mate Josh Pierson, who at one point was six seconds quicker than his nearest class rival before falling back late on.
Romain Dumas had been fastest of all with four minutes to go in the Glickenhaus-Pipo 007 LMH before dropping back to 11th overall and the seventh of the Hypercar entries on a 2m12.032s lap as conditions continued to improve.
That was enough to move him ahead of both factory Porsche Hypercars, with Fred Makowiecki glancing the tyre barriers at Stavelot in the #5 Penske-run 963 and having to pit after his gravelly excursion.
Several Hypercar crews didn’t set a competitive time late in the session when track was at its best, including the #51 Ferrari in which Giovinazzi was for some time the quickest on a 2m14.305s.
That only proved to be the 15th fastest time in the final reckoning, just behind the #6 Penske Porsche of Kevin Estre – another not to punch for truly competitive times in the dying minutes.
The two Peugeot 9X8 LMH machines of Nico Muller and Mikkel Jensen had run Giovinazzi close in the middle phase of the session, but also elected not to run at the end.
Vanwall’s Vandervell 680 LMH completed the Hypercar field in the hands of Tom Dillmann after losing time recovering from a spin for Esteban Guerrieri at La Source.
The flurry of late improvements in LMP2 that ended with Habsburg on top also meant the class’s long-time leader ended up eighth at the flag.
The #36 Signatech-run Alpine of Matthieu Vaxiviere had led the way from Pierson’s team-mate Tom Blomqvist until conditions improved and was joined in not setting its best time near the end by the #28 Jota machine that David Heinemeier-Hansson took over the grass at Pif-Paf.
#31 Team WRT Oreca 07 - Gibson: Sean Gelael, Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen, Robin Frijns
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
The GTE Am class was headed by Matteo Cressoni’s #60 Iron Lynx Porsche 911 RSR-19.
The Italian’s 2m25.726s lap proved 3.355s faster than Casper Stevenson in the TF Sport-run #777 D’Station Aston Martin.
Lilou Wadoux spun into the Turn 9 barriers in her #83 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo to bring out a full course yellow, but it still ended up third quickest on the timesheets courtesy of Alessio Rovera.
The #54 AF Ferrari was repaired after Thomas Flohr was clouted by Diego Alessi in a crash at Radillon which caused FP2 to be red-flagged, but the latter’s #21 machine didn’t appear as a replacement chassis is being sourced from Italy.
WEC Spa - FP3 results:
|1|| Mike Conway
Jose Maria Lopez
|Toyota GR010 - Hybrid||HYPERCAR||22||2'08.702|
|2|| Earl Bamber
|3|| Sean Gelael
|4|| Antonio Felix da Costa
|5|| Ryan Cullen
|6|| Sébastien Buemi
|Toyota GR010 - Hybrid||HYPERCAR||22||2'11.344||2.642||0.115|
|7|| Sébastien Bourdais
Renger van der Zande
|9|| Antonio Fuoco
|10|| Josh Pierson
|11|| Romain Dumas
|12|| Dane Cameron
|13|| Doriane Pin
|14|| Kevin Estre
|15|| Alessandro Pier Guidi
|16|| Loic Duval
|18|| Paul di Resta
|19|| Tom Dillmann
|Vanwall Vandervell 680||HYPERCAR||15||2'18.198||9.496||2.232|
|20|| Rui Andrade
|21|| Matthieu Vaxiviere
|22|| David Heinemeier Hansson
|23|| Andre Negrao
|24|| Jakub Smiechowski
|25|| Claudio Schiavoni
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||15||2'25.726||17.024||2.510|
|26|| Satoshi Hoshino
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||19||2'29.280||20.578||3.554|
|27|| Luis Perez Companc
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||14||2'29.691||20.989||0.411|
|28|| Takeshi Kimura
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||20||2'30.412||21.710||0.721|
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||20||2'30.463||21.761||0.051|
|30|| Ben Keating
|Chevrolet Corvette C8.R||LMGTE AM||19||2'30.541||21.839||0.078|
|31|| Ahmad Al Harthy
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||16||2'30.952||22.250||0.411|
|32|| Michael Wainwright
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||11||2'31.107||22.405||0.155|
|33|| Thomas Flohr
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||11||2'31.350||22.648||0.243|
|34|| Ian James
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||19||2'31.629||22.927||0.279|
|35|| Christian Ried
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||12||2'31.773||23.071||0.144|
|36|| Sarah Bovy
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||19||2'32.134||23.432||0.361|
|37|| Ryan Hardwick
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE AM||19||2'33.144||24.442||1.010|
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||0|
|View full results|
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