Louis Deletraz put 99 Racing at the head of the timesheets in opening practice for this weekend’s Asian Le Mans Series finale in Abu Dhabi.
Acura IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship star Deletraz turned a best lap of 1:41.303 with around 30 minutes remaining in Friday afternoon’s 90-minute session at Yas Marina at the wheel of the No. 99 Oreca 07 Gibson.
That immediately followed a red flag that was called in response to an incident at Turn 16, which appeared to involve the No. 25 Algarve Pro Racing car of Freddie Tomlinson.
Deletraz’s best lap beat the No. 34 Nielsen Racing car of Matt Bell by 0.177 seconds, although it was around three tenths down on the benchmark laid down by Julien Andlauer aboard the No. 22 Proton Competition car earlier in the day in private testing.
Third-fastest was the No. 83 AF Corse car in which Matthieu Vaxiviere set the quickest time, 0.193 seconds off the pace, while Vaxiviere’s Alpine FIA World Endurance Championship stablemate Ferdinand Habsburg made it two Nielsen entries in the top four aboard the No. 24 entry.
Completing the top five was the No. 47 Cool Racing machine driven by Vlad Lomko.
The Swiss team topped the times in the LMP3 class courtesy of new addition Manuel Espirito Santo, who posted a best time of 1:48.700 in the No. 17 Ligier JS P320 Nissan.
That was just 0.022 seconds up on Anders Fjordbach in the second-placed No. 20 High Class Racing entry.
Factory Ferrari driver Davide Rigon led the way in the GT category with a best time of 1:53.116 in the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 296 GT3.
Ollie Millroy was second in the No. 27 Optimum Motorsport McLaren 720s GT3 Evo, while Huber Motorsport, new to the field for Abu Dhabi, was an impressive third-fastest with Dorian Boccolacci at the wheel of the No. 18 Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Practice for the 4 Hours of Abu Dhabi continues later on Friday with a second session at 6:35 p. m. local time (9:35 a. m. ET).
RESULTS: Practice 1