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Alonso Quickest at Le Mans Test Day

Fernando Alonso quickest as Toyota sets pace at Le Mans Test Day…

Photo: John Dagys

Fernando Alonso improved on his morning benchmark to keep Toyota Gazoo Racing on top of the timesheets at the conclusion of Sunday’s Le Mans Test Day.

The Spaniard set a time of 3:19.066 to put the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid almost a second clear of the sister No. 7 Toyota, before improvements from Rebellion Racing closed the gap in LMP1.

Kamui Kobayashi had initially put the No. 7 car in front with a time of 3:20.008 before Alonso returned the favor later in the afternoon.

The Toyotas were then split by the No. 3 Rebellion R13 Gibson driven by Mathias Beche, who slotted into second with a time of 3:19.680.

That meant the quickest Toyota, which completed more laps than any other car, ended the test day with an advantage of 0.614 seconds over the nearest non-hybrid LMP1 competitor.

In third was Kobayashi, ahead of Andre Lotterer in the second Rebellion who improved late on to pip the No. 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER driven by Vitaly Petrov.

The ByKolles Racing ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO finished 4.5 seconds off the pace in seventh, while the best of the two CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachromes clocked in at 3:28.153, as all LMP1 cars set their fastest laps during the afternoon session.

In LMP2, Nathanael Berthon put the No. 31 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 Gibson in front with a time of 3:27.228, as Oreca-based machinery locked out the top five positions.

Berthon’s co-driver, Pastor Maldonado, however, suffered a crash at Indianapolis in the closing moments of the second session to bring out a red flag with only seconds left on the clock.

The car that lapped third in the morning session went on to pace the secondary prototype class outright by a margin of 0.024 seconds from the No. 48 IDEC Sport Oreca.

Porsche 1-2 in GTE-Pro

Porsche reversed Ford’s morning advantage in GTE-Pro, with Patrick Pilet eventually going quickest in class with the No. 93 CORE autosport-run Porsche 911 RSR.

Incremental improvements were made by Porsche drivers throughout the session, but Andy Priaulx’s morning banker looked set to hold as the fastest of the day until Gianmaria Bruni came through on a 3:52.647 in the No. 91 Rothmans car.

Pilet then reinforced the German manufacturer’s grip at the top with a 3:52.551 right at the end of the session, with Bruni second and Priaulx third.

Ford then completed the next three places, ahead of the No. 92 “Pink Pig” Porsche and the best of the BMW M8 GTEs, which ran 1.4 seconds off the pace.

Porsche also led GTE-Am, as Julien Andlauer set the fastest lap in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing 911.

Two GTE-Pro cars triggered separate safety car interventions in the session.

One of Ferrari’s Pro-class machines caused a brief safety car period after Alessandro Pier Guidi reportedly lost control of his No. 51 car at Tertre Rouge, while another was called to retrieve the No. 82 BMW from the Porsche Curves gravel after a minor off for Antonio Felix da Costa.

The second session started half an hour earlier to restore some of the minutes lost during the morning session, which was halted almost an hour early following a heavy crash for the Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marco Sorensen.

Several drivers registered their first laps of the Circuit de la Sarthe during the second session, including Juan Pablo Montoya, Felipe Nasr and Test Day guest Tristan Vautier, who joined the Panis-Barthez Competition LMP2 squad.

RESULTS: Le Mans Test Day

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

12 Comments

12 Comments

  1. jason

    June 3, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Fair to say that Aston Martin had a very very bad day. Also I am not much into those special Porsche liveries. They seem odd. I like the traditional factory Porsche livery much better. They got it right this time unlike the hideous one between 2013-2016

    • Paul

      June 3, 2018 at 2:56 pm

      One of them is very 1980s traditional. I like them. I really hope Ford wakes up and remember their 1966 liveries and bring the best of them along next year!

  2. Max

    June 3, 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Looks like the status quo was maintained across LMP1. Rebellion wins the best of the rest and finishes on podium unless Toyota snatched defeat from the jaws of victory once again, and the LMP2 cars outrun most of the non hybrid field. See ya in 2019.

    • Steven

      June 3, 2018 at 1:56 pm

      LMP2 outran the non-hybrid field? Only 2 LMP2 Oreca’s were faster than the Ginetta-run team, every other LMP1 was faster than the LMP2 class.

      • Max

        June 3, 2018 at 5:25 pm

        That’s my prediction for the race based on the pace showed. Not a summary of this session.

        • TF110

          June 4, 2018 at 12:48 am

          It’s a test day, not the race. The lmp1’s will definitely pick up pace. ByKolles is in the 3:23’s, faster than what they qualified at last year. This is the first time the Ginetta’s ran in anger since the prologue and they were faster than all but 2 lmp2’s. Every other lmp1 car is at least 4 or 5 seconds faster than the p2’s. They’re going to be even faster during Le Mans week.

  3. therandomguy

    June 3, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    Gets the picket signs out. EOT nerf the Toyota EOT nerf the Toyota when we do we want it to make Le Mans interesting now!

    • Johannes275

      June 4, 2018 at 2:59 pm

      That’s not….how it…works…

      And you probably didn’t even look at the timing sheet.

  4. GermanLMFan

    June 3, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    I still see a need for action in the private teams. Toyota did not have a qualifying round. According to Vasselon, she would have been able to ride 3.17 and singnifikant faster than last year. Aston Martinn once again with Sandbagging at its best!

  5. John

    June 4, 2018 at 2:31 am

    Keeping in mind it was only a test…but, what are Ligier and Dallara going to do now that they’ve spent their jokers and still aren’t as quick as the Orecas?

    • Rainbow52

      June 4, 2018 at 4:58 pm

      They will see their customers pass to Oreca, which has also made a great LMP1. For the moment Ligier has still a respectful amounts of customers, I don’t know if Dallara already lost some, but Riley does not have any more customer, but the Mazda DPi.

  6. Yetimania

    June 4, 2018 at 2:57 am

    Back to the good old days with Pastor Maldonado crashing and bringing those missing red flags all over the circuit…
    Ahh this race now has all ingredients for a awesome show.

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