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Rebellion Outpaces Toyotas in COTA Opening Practice

Gustavo Menezes paces FP1 at COTA; LMP2 car goes third-quickest overall…

Photo: Jose Bispo/JB Photo

Gustavo Menezes ensured that Rebellion Racing beat both of the Toyota TS050 Hybrids in the first practice session for the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas.

Menezes turned in a time of 1:49.957 behind the wheel of the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson to put the sole non-hybrid LMP1 contender on top in Texas.

Second-quickest in the two-hour Saturday morning session was Sebastien Buemi who posted a time of 1:50.132 in the No. 8 Toyota which put Menezes 0.175s ahead.

Toyota’s championship-leading sister car, which was the hardest hit by the FIA World Endurance Championship’s success handicaps for COTA, ended up third-quickest.

The No. 7 TS050 Hybrid was buried deep in the LMP2 order with Mike Conway’s 1:52.460 marker pitching the Silverstone and Bahrain-winning machine 2.5 seconds off the pace.

Fastest in the LMP2 class and third in the overall leaderboard was the United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson in which Filipe Albuquerque registered a time of 1:50.488.

This put the Portuguese driver just over half a second shy of the top spot in the session.

Second in class and fourth outright was Will Stevens in the Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, ahead of Signatech Alpine’s Andre Negrao.

The Racing Team Nederland car that ran fourth in LMP2 caused the only Full Course Yellow of the session when it lost a wheel with Giedo van der Garde at the controls.

Quickest in the GTE-Pro class was the No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

Maxime Martin shot to the top of the order in the latter stages with a time of 2:01.838 to leapfrog the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of James Calado who had led since the start.

Calado’s teammate Miguel Molina set the third-best time in the final 10 minutes of the session while No. 91 Porsche driver Gianmaria Bruni came through in fourth.

The other Porsche 911 RSR-19, which took 45 minutes to turn its first lap because of an electrical reboot, ended up one place behind.

The new Chevrolet Corvette C8.R struggled for pace during its first WEC session and ended up last in the overall order and 2.4 seconds off the GTE-Pro pace.

The GTE-Am field was led by four Porsches, with Dempsey Proton Racing’s two machines topping the pile ahead of Gulf Racing and Team Project 1’s No. 56 car.

A second two-hour free practice session is scheduled for 12:45 p.m. local time (1:45 p.m. ET).

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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