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Toyota 1-2 in Sebring Second Practice; SMP Pips Rebellion

Lopez leads a second Toyota 1-2 in Sebring practice as SMP’s LMP1s out-pace Rebellion…

Photo: MPS Agency

 Jose Maria Lopez led a 1-2 for Toyota Gazoo Racing in Wednesday evening practice for this weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship race at Sebring.

The Argentinian’s time of 1:41.730 in the second 90-minute session put the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on top of the timing sheets after Kazuki Nakajima set the sister No. 8 Toyota ahead during FP1 earlier in the day.

Fernando Alonso set the No. 8 car’s quickest time during the night running after recovering from a harmless spin early in his stint, with the two-time Formula 1 champion’s late 1:42.262 around half a second shy of Lopez.

Behind the Toyotas, SMP Racing’s two BR Engineering BR1 AERs out-paced the pair of Rebellion R13 Gibsons, with Stephane Sarrazin and Brendon Hartley setting the best times in the Russian-entered prototypes.

Sarrazin’s 1:43.009 in the No. 11 SMP machine put the highest-placed non-hybrid 1.279 seconds off the overall pace, while Hartley followed closely on a 1:43.019 in the No. 17.

The fastest Rebellion in FP2 was the No. 3 car on a 1:43.362, while DragonSpeed’s Gibson-powered BR1 lapped seventh in the low 1-minute 44s.

In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin Racing’s new-generation Vantage GTE once again led the class pecking order with Alex Lynn building on his co-driver Maxime Martin’s table-topping work in FP1 to deliver the best time of the evening session.

Lynn posted a time of 1:57.592 which has become the new fastest of the weekend, putting the No. 97 Aston 0.033 seconds clear of the No. 67 Ford GT in second.

Ford’s sister car ran third ahead of the best-placed AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE, while the second factory Aston completed the top five.

LMP2 was led by the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca 07 Gibson with Stephane Richelmi at the helm, while Ben Barker paced the GTE-Am field in the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

Second practice saw an early Full Course Yellow period after the No. 31 DragonSpeed LMP2 Oreca lost a wheel through Turn 2, but the car returned later in the session.

FP2 also saw the first track time for Team Project 1’s new Porsche 911 RSR chassis, which the GTE-Am points-leading team scrambled last minute after its original car was destroyed in a testing fire.

A third Free Practice session is scheduled to take place on Thursday at 4:15 p.m. EST (8:15 p.m. GMT).

RESULTS: Free Practice 2

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

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