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Practice report
WEC Spa-Francorchamps

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.

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

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

#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

#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:

Cla Drivers Car Class Laps Time Gap Interval
1 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 22 2'08.702    
2 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac V-Series.R HYPERCAR 16 2'09.436 0.734 0.734
3 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Oreca 07 LMP2 21 2'10.268 1.566 0.832
4 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Will Stevens
China Ye Yifei
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 22 2'10.434 1.732 0.166
5 Ireland Ryan Cullen
Matthias Kaiser
France Gabriel Aubry
Oreca 07 LMP2 21 2'11.229 2.527 0.795
6 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 22 2'11.344 2.642 0.115
7 France Sébastien Bourdais
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
United Kingdom Jack Aitken
Cadillac V-Series.R HYPERCAR 15 2'11.585 2.883 0.241
8 Frederick Lubin
United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Oreca 07 LMP2 20 2'11.732 3.030 0.147
9 Italy Antonio Fuoco
Spain Miguel Molina
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 21 2'11.803 3.101 0.071
10 United States Josh Pierson
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
Oreca 07 LMP2 19 2'11.943 3.241 0.140
11 France Romain Dumas
France Olivier Pla
France Franck Mailleux
Glickenhaus 007 HYPERCAR 20 2'12.032 3.330 0.089
12 United States Dane Cameron
Denmark Michael Christensen
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 21 2'12.744 4.042 0.712
13 France Doriane Pin
Italy Mirko Bortolotti
Russian Federation Daniil Kvyat
Oreca 07 LMP2 20 2'13.349 4.647 0.605
14 France Kevin Estre
Germany Andre Lotterer
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 19 2'14.289 5.587 0.940
15 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 21 2'14.305 5.603 0.016
16 France Loic Duval
United States Gustavo Menezes
Switzerland Nico Müller
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 20 2'14.567 5.865 0.262
17 Filip Ugran
Netherlands Bent Viscaal
Italy Andrea Caldarelli
Oreca 07 LMP2 21 2'15.837 7.135 1.270
18 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 21 2'15.966 7.264 0.129
19 France Tom Dillmann
Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Canada Jacques Villeneuve
Vanwall Vandervell 680 HYPERCAR 15 2'18.198 9.496 2.232
20 Portugal Rui Andrade
Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Oreca 07 LMP2 19 2'19.052 10.350 0.854
21 France Matthieu Vaxiviere
France Julien Canal
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 20 2'20.031 11.329 0.979
22 Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
Brazil Pietro Fittipaldi
Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
Oreca 07 LMP2 20 2'21.928 13.226 1.897
23 Brazil Andre Negrao
Mexico Memo Rojas
United Kingdom Olli Caldwell
Oreca 07 LMP2 21 2'22.791 14.089 0.863
24 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Spain Albert Costa
Oreca 07 LMP2 20 2'23.216 14.514 0.425
25 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Belgium Alessio Picariello
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 15 2'25.726 17.024 2.510
26 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Casper Stevenson
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 19 2'29.280 20.578 3.554
27 Argentina Luis Perez Companc
France Lilou Wadoux
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 14 2'29.691 20.989 0.411
28 Japan Takeshi Kimura
United States Scott Huffaker
Brazil Daniel Serra
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 20 2'30.412 21.710 0.721
29 PJ Hyett
United States Gunnar Jeannette
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 20 2'30.463 21.761 0.051
30 United States Ben Keating
Nicolas Varrone
Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE AM 19 2'30.541 21.839 0.078
31 United Kingdom Ahmad Al Harthy
Michael Dinan
Ireland Charles Eastwood
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 16 2'30.952 22.250 0.411
32 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 11 2'31.107 22.405 0.155
33 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 11 2'31.350 22.648 0.243
34 United Kingdom Ian James
Italy Daniel Mancinelli
Spain Alex Riberas
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 19 2'31.629 22.927 0.279
35 Germany Christian Ried
Mikkel Pedersen
France Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 12 2'31.773 23.071 0.144
36 Belgium Sarah Bovy
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Switzerland Rahel Frey
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 19 2'32.134 23.432 0.361
37 United States Ryan Hardwick
Canada Zacharie Robichon
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 19 2'33.144 24.442 1.010
38 Diego Alessi
France Simon Mann
Ulysse De
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 0      

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