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JOTA’s Da Costa Leads Tight Portimao Opening Practice

Da Costa plants JOTA Oreca on top in FP1; top four separated by 0.055s…

Photo: MPS Agency

JOTA LMP2 driver Antonio Felix da Costa set the fastest lap during a close opening practice session for this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Portimao.

Da Costa narrowly surpassed the lead Hypercar entries from Alpine Endurance Team and Toyota Gazoo Racing with a time of 1:33.752 that set the No. 38 Oreca 07 Gibson on top of the timing sheets in Friday’s 90-minute session.

Da Costa, who is teamed up with Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez, squeezed above Alpine’s Nicolas Lapierre to reach the overall top spot by 0.029 seconds.

Lapierre jumped the two Toyota GR010 Hybrids, which ended up third and fourth, with 27 minutes left in the session before the reigning ABB FIA Formula E champion struck.

Sebastien Buemi placed the No. 8 Toyota Le Mans Hypercar third with a time of 1:33.800, ahead of Kamui Kobayashi who produced a 1:33.807 in the sister GR010 Hybrid.

The top four cars were ultimately separated by just under six-hundredths of a second, while the top three cars in the Hypercar division were split by a finer 0.026s margin.

Alex Brundle completed the top five with a 1:33.957 showing aboard the Inter Europol Competition LMP2 Oreca.

Glickenhaus Racing’s new 007 Le Mans Hypercar placed 12th overall, ahead of three LMP2 cars, courtesy of Richard Westbrook’s 1:34.789 which put the American constructor a second off the Hypercar class pace in its first WEC official track session.

In the outright stakes, Ben Hanley was sixth for DragonSpeed while Paul di Resta came through in seventh for United Autosports.

The Oreca 07s from Racing Team Nederland, JOTA’s No. 28 entry and Realteam Racing completed the top ten.

Fresh from his Nürburgring 24 win last weekend, Kevin Estre topped the FP1 times in GTE-Pro as Porsche finished first and second from the two Ferrari entries.

Estre logged a 1:40.227 in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 and was closely followed by Gianmaria Bruni’s 1:40.389.

The best Ferrari 488 GTE Evo lap time was a 1:40.682 posted by Daniel Serra in the No. 71 AF Corse-run machine, almost half a second off the benchmark.

Porsche also led from Ferrari in GTE-Am, as Matt Campbell led the class in Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 77 Porsche, from Andrea Piccini in the No. 60 Iron Lynx 488.

Campbell registered a 1:41.202 to head up the category by a shade over two-tenths.

Matteo Cairoli was third, narrowly ahead of Augusto Farfus in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Friday’s only practice session was interrupted in its late stages by a Full Course Yellow period after an off for the No. 54 AF Corse Ferrari. 

RESULTS: Free Practice 1

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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