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De Vries Tops Tuesday Morning Session for G-Drive

G-Drive’s Nyck de Vries quickest in third Prologue session as LMP2s lead again…

Photo: MPS Agency

Nyck de Vries set the fastest lap of the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue so far with a time of 2:04.168 in Tuesday’s morning test session at Spa-Francorchamops.

De Vries, driving the No. 26 Oreca-based Aurus 01 Gibson, shot to the top of the overall timing charts almost 40 minutes into the two-hour, 55-minute session with a time that improved on Filipe Albuquerque’s Monday benchmark by six-tenths of a second.

Albuquerque’s United Autosports Oreca also shaved down its time from the first day of testing, with a 2:04.284 good enough to put the Anglo-American squad second outright.

As was the case on Monday, the overall leaderboard featured LMP2 cars at the sharp end with the Hypercar machinery from Toyota Gazoo Racing and Alpine posting slower lap times than the second-tier prototype class.

Jose Maria Lopez made a late improvement to put the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid fourth overall on a 2:04.708, marking an improvement of seven-tenths on the best Toyota attempt from Monday.

The Argentine driver finished one place behind Anthony Davidson who registered his JOTA Oreca’s 2:04.582 marker near the end of the opening hour.

Toyota’s No. 8 Le Mans Hypercar finished sixth overall on a 2:04.798, with Racing Team Nederland’s Oreca splitting the Japanese manufacturer’s pair of cars.

The quickest lap time from the Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 was a 2:05.772 from Nicolas Lapierre. The ORECA-built Alpine placed 11th overall and 1.6 seconds off the pace.

The No. 7 Toyota that Lopez shares with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi was responsible for one of two Full Course Yellow periods on Tuesday morning. Kobayashi had to perform a system reset to bring the car back to its pit box after stopping on track.

The other FCY was caused by a stoppage for the No. 25 G-Drive Racing Aurus LMP2.

There was also a red flag for a big accident involving the Racing Team Nederland Oreca of Job van Uitert and the No. 85 Iron Lynx Ferrari of Katherine Legge at Blanchimont.

Details of the incident are to be established although both drivers walked away from their cars following the impact, according to Endurance-Info which captured images of the damage.

Porsche filed a one-two in the GTE-Pro category as Kevin Estre led the way on a time of 2:12.916.

The Frenchman, who is teamed up with Neel Jani, has topped all three of the sessions held so far.

Estre was backed up by Richard Lietz who finished seven-tenths back in second aboard the sister No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Third in GTE-Pro was James Calado in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, one and a half seconds behind Estre, while the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R placed fourth on a 2:14.703 with Oliver Gavin at the controls.

Privately-run Porsches also ended up first and second in the GTE-Am division, as Team Project 1 led Dempsey-Proton Racing.

Matteo Cairoli set the fastest lap of2:14.736 in the No. 56 Project 1 Porsche, while Matt Campbell ran close behind for Proton.

TF Sport’s No. 33 Aston Martin Vantage GTE completed the class top-three as the British squad got its spare European Le Mans Series chassis on track after the original was damaged in a heavy accident at Raidillon yesterday.

The TF Sport-prepared D’station Racing Aston Martin, which was also involved in a crash at the same location, also returned to the track following extensive repairs, as did the No. 28 JOTA LMP2 entry which is running with a replacement tub.

The only car not to appear on Tuesday morning was the No. 46 Team Project 1 Porsche which had an accident during the Monday afternoon session.

RESULTS: Prologue Session 3

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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