Photo: John Dagys
Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap in a shortened morning test session at Le Mans, due to an accident involving one of the GTE-Pro class Aston Martins.
The Toyota Gazoo Racing driver, who shared driving duties with Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Toyota reserve Anthony Davidson, clocked in at 3:21.468 to top the LMP1 time sheets.
Alonso’s marker came during the second half of the scheduled four-hour session, which was halted after an incident between the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Marco Sorensen and No. 35 SMP Racing Dallara P217 Gibson of Harrison Newey.
Sorensen reportedly crashed near Indianapolis, while Newey managed to bring his car back to the pits.
The Dane was evaluated and released by trackside medical staff, although the impact has required extensive barrier repairs, which brought the session to an end with approximately 50 minutes to go.
A brief 10-minute red flag period also occurred in the first half of the session, to clear up debris from an incident at the second Mulsanne chicane involving the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR that had Joerg Bergmeister at the helm.
In LMP1, Toyota and Rebellion Racing were closely matched during the first bout of on-track activity ahead of the race.
The No. 3 Rebellion R13 Gibson split the Toyotas in the opening half of the session and continued to improve without gaining or losing position until the red flags came out.
Thomas Laurent ultimately lapped 0.380 seconds shy of Alonso, with the No. 7 Toyota running third i n the hands of Mike Conway, who was seven tenths off the pace.
Rebellion’s sister entry was fourth quickest, ahead of the best of the SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AERs, which stopped the clock at 3:25.456.
As Alonso debuted, 2009 Formula 1 champion Jenson Button also got his first taste of the Le Mans circuit in the morning, setting the sixth-best time overall in the No. 11 SMP BR1.
1-2-3-4 Sweep for Ford in GTE-Pro
Ford Chip Ganassi Racing set the pace in GTE-Pro with the quartet of Ford GTs running at the head of the class pack.
Andy Priaulx, who did most of the driving in the No. 67 machine, set the best time of 3:53.008.
Ford’s closest challenge came from Porsche, which had its Rothmans-liveried No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR lapping fifth on a 3:54.713.
Alexandre Imperatori led an Oreca top-four lockout in the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson with a time of 3:30.176, while Keita Sawa paced GTE-Am in the Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE.
Officials are working to start the afternoon session, originally scheduled to run from 2-6 p.m. local time, 30 minutes early.
RESULTS: Test Session 1