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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, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.


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