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Porsche’s Estre Ends Le Mans Test Day On Top

Kevin Estre leads Porsche 1-2 in afternoon session as Kamui Kobayashi suffers crash…

Photo: Juergen Tap/Porsche

Porsche topped the afternoon session of the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day as Kevin Estre set the pace aboard the No. 6 Penske Porsche 963.

Estre set the fastest time of both the three-hour session and the day overall early on, immediately setting the pace with a 3:27.798 before improving to a 3:26.907 shortly after, easily surpassing Kamui Kobayashi’s best effort from the morning session.

Making it a 1-2 for the factory Porsche Penske Motorsport squad was Felipe Nasr in the No. 4 car with a time of a 3:27.142, set in the final ten minutes of the session, 0.235 seconds slower than Estre.

Third-fastest was the best of the Toyota GR010 Hybrids, the No. 8 car in which Brendon Hartley set the fastest time of 3:27.615, ahead of the remaining works Porsche, the No. 5 car that Michael Christensen took too a 3:27.773 in the early stages.

Frederic Makowiecki appeared to be on course for the fastest lap overall later in the session, with an overall best sector two, only to abort the lap due to a tire puncture.

Making up the top five was the best of the Ferrari 499Ps, the No. 50 car, as Miguel Molina posted a 3:28.014.

The best respective cars from BMW and Lamborghini were next up, as Robin Frijns put in a lap good enough for sixth in the Art Car-liveried No. 20 BMW M Hybrid V8, while Daniil Kvyat went seventh-fastest aboard the No. 63 Lamborghini SC63.

Yifei Ye was eighth in the satellite AF Corse Ferrari, the No. 83 machine, ahead of Callum Ilott in the No. 12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche and the No. 7 Toyota in which Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time in the final 15 minutes.

A subsequent off for Kobayashi at Indianapolis brought out the red flags for a second time with five minutes to go, effectively ending the session.

Peugeot’s best-placed 9X8 was 13th-fastest with Paul di Resta at the wheel, one place ahead of the best of the Cadillac V-Series.Rs, the No. 311 Action Express Racing machine of Pipo Derani.

BMW’s No. 15 car only appeared for the final 45 minutes of the session after what the German marque described as a precautionary engine change.

Proton Competition’s Porsche 963 also sat out the opening half of the session due to reported electrical issues, ending up 22nd ahead of only the solo Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 Competizione.

United Autosports, TF Sport Top LMP2, LMGT3 Classes

United Autosports set the pace in LMP2 as Oliver Jarvis lowered the bar to a 3:34.704 at the wheel of the No. 22 Oreca 07 Gibson, more than a second faster than the next-fastest car in class.

That was the No. 25 Algarve Pro Racing car in which Olli Caldwell set the fastest time, while James Allen made a late jump up the order in the No. 30 Duqueine entry to go third in the class overall and fastest of the Pro-Am cars.

Filipe Albuquerque made it two United cars in the top four aboard the Pro-Am-entered No. 23 entry, followed by another Pro-Am car, the No. 183 AF Corse machine of Nico Varrone.

The new Chevrolet Corvette Z06 GT3.R topped its first session at the Circuit de la Sarthe as TF Sport’s No. 82 car went fastest in LMGT3, with Le Mans rookie Sebastien Baud setting the fastest time of 3:59.883.

That was enough to beat the early-session benchmark laid down by Alex Riberas in the No. 27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage GT3 Evo by just 0.037 seconds.

Augusto Farfus was third-fastest in the No. 31 Team WRT BMW M4 GT3 ahead of the No. 60 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3 EVO2 of Matteo Cressoni and the quickest of the United Autosports McLaren 720S GT3 Evos, the No. 59 car of Nicolas Costa.

The session was red-flagged for the first time after 46 minutes due to an off for the Vector Sport LMP2 car of Stephane Richelmi at Indianapolis. The car was not seen again for the remainder of the session.

A safety car was also called with around half an hour left on the clock following a small accident for the AO by TF Sport car of PJ Hyett.

RESULTS: Test Session 2

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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