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Toyota 1-2 in Prologue

Toyota TS050 Hybrids maintain control at end of 30-hour endurance test…

Toyota rounded out the FIA World Endurance Championship pre-season test at Paul Ricard with the two fastest times.

Mike Conway’s 1:32.662 effort from Friday stood until the end of the 30-hour endurance test on Saturday afternoon.

The session was halted two minutes early when Ben Hanley stopped the DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1 Gibson along the Mistral Straight, in the only red flag of the event.

Toyota’s sister No. 7 entry, which completed 839 laps as part of a full endurance simulation, maintained second place through Anthony Davidson’s 1:34.655 run that was also set on the opening day. The Japanese manufacturer’s No. 8 car banked 163 laps in total.

Both Toyotas set its fastest laps while running outside of the FIA’s defined Equivalence of Technology for the event.

Few LMP1 improvements were made on day two, with the time set by Vitaly Petrov in the No. 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER shortly before midnight holding out as the best of the non-hybrids, 4.3 seconds off the outright pace.

The No. 6 CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachrome improved by half a second to a 1:38.156, which bumped it above DragonSpeed for seventh in the order.

All non-hybrid LMP1 runners ended the Prologue within a three-second bracket.

In LMP2, Pastor Maldonado’s Friday benchmark held out as the class best, with the Venezuelan pacing the field on a time of 1:40.771 in DragonSpeed’s Oreca 07 Gibson.

Porsche Tops GTE Classes

Fastest in the GTE-Pro category was the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz.

The car entered the night session with the quickest time courtesy of Lietz, before Bruni shaved down his team-mate’s marker.

Porsche’s sister car ended the test second, half a second down on the No. 91, while the pair of Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GTs followed closely in third and fourth.

Ferrari’s fastest 488 GTE Evo finished almost two seconds off the pace, while the quickest runs from the new-for-2018 BMW M8 and Aston Martin Vantage were the other side of that threshold.

GTE-Am was the only category to involve a change of leadership on Saturday, as Matteo Cairoli delivered the fastest lap of 1:53.129 behind the wheel of the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche.

The Porsche Young Professional eclipsed the previous best set by Gulf Racing’s Ben Barker earlier in the morning, which ensured the German manufacturer maintained the 1-2-3-4 it held since Friday afternoon.

Cairoli’s attempt would have been enough to place the No. 88 car fifth quickest in GTE-Pro.

RESULTS: Prologue

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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