Both TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTEs crashed at Raidillon and United Autosports LMP2 driver Filipe Albuquerque set the fastest lap in an eventful opening session of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue pre-season test.
Ben Keating went off at the high-speed Eau Rouge-Raidillon section to bring out the red flags just under one hour into the two-hour Monday morning session, before D’station Racing’s Satoshi Hoshino crashed 10 minutes after the return to green flag running.
The second accident for the No. 777 D’station car caused damage to the left-side barriers that prompted race officials to call proceedings to an early halt.
Monday’s afternoon session, which was due to start at 2 p.m. local time, will now get underway half an hour earlier at 1:30 p.m. to compensate for the time lost.
At the top of the leaderboard, LMP2 entries dominated as the fastest car from the new Hypercar top category finished eighth overall.
Albuquerque’s fastest lap in the 2019-20 title-winning No. 22 Oreca 07 Gibson was a 2:04.968 that ended up being half a second quicker than the second-best effort from Racing Team Nederland’s Giedo van der Garde.
It came after an early mishap for the United car which caused a brief red flag period in the opening stages after getting stuck on a ‘sausage’ curb at Bus Stop.
The fastest Hypercar lap was a 2:06.896 set by Brendon Hartley in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid shortly before the final red flag.
That time, which fell 1.928 seconds short of the outright pace, compared with a 2:07.586 from the Alpine Endurance Team A480 Gibson LMP1 car driven by Matthieu Vaxiviere.
Toyota’s No. 7 car did not register a time during the first of four Prologue sessions.
Third-fastest overall was Loic Duval in the Realteam Racing Oreca from DragonSpeed’s Ben Hanley, JOTA’s Anthony Davidson and Team WRT’s Charles Milesi.
Kevin Estre set the pace in the GTE-Pro category for Porsche, as Ferrari finished second ahead of Corvette Racing in third.
Estre’s best time of 2:14.198 came early in the run, while James Calado filed a late improvement to close the gap to 0.189 seconds in his No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
Antonio Garcia made it three manufacturers in the top three with a time of 2:14.924 behind the wheel of the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
The GTE-Am pace was set by Antonio Fuoco in the new Cetilar Racing Ferrari.
Fuoco turned in a 2:14.509 effort to jump ahead of all of the competitors in his class and all but two of the Pro runners.
Second in GTE-Am was Matt Campbell in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche, ahead of Team Project 1 Porsche driver Matteo Cairoli.
This article was updated at 12:41 p.m. CEST. Satoshi Hoshino was driving the No. 777 D’Station Racing Aston Martin when it crashed, despite live timing information showing Tomonobu Fujii as behind the wheel at the time.
RESULTS: Prologue Session 1