Fernando Alonso shaved almost two seconds off the Free Practice 1 benchmark to keep Toyota on top of a disrupted Friday running at Fuji.
The two-time Formula 1 world champion clocked a time of 1:23.973 to make a significant improvement on the number set by co-driver Sebastien Buemi in the morning session.
Alonso and Buemi will share the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid with Kazuki Nakajima in Sunday’s six-hour FIA World Endurance Championship race.
As was the case in opening practice, the Friday afternoon session was disrupted by a lengthy red flag stoppage for repairs to the newly-installed ‘banana kerbs’ dotted around the circuit.
This resulted in a reduced run-time for Free Practice 2 with teams losing around half of the 90-minute session, although an additional 10 minutes were added to the end in compensation.
Alonso’s effort came early on, as did the second-best time of the day – a 1:25.068 – submitted by Jose Maria Lopez in the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
The LMP1 non-hybrid cars also improved on their FP1 times with the Silverstone-winning No. 3 Rebellion R13 Gibson setting a 1:25.697 to go six tenths short of the nearest Toyota.
SMP Racing’s No. 11 BR Engineering BR1 AER finished fourth, a tenth down on the Rebellion ahead, while the No. 1 Rebellion rounded out the top five.
In LMP2, Andre Negrao put the points-leading No. 47 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson on top of the timing sheets with a 1:30.410.
The Brazilian’s effort was marginally quicker than Matthieu Vaxiviere’s lap record FP1 figure in the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 Gibson, which finished third in FP2 behind the two Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas.
Aston Martin Quickest in GTE-Pro
Fastest in GTE-Pro was Nicki Thiim who produced a late flying lap in the extra 10 minutes at the end of the session with the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Thiim leapfrogged Harry Tincknell’s Ford GT to lead a narrow class order as that saw all ten cars land within the same second.
The No. 71 AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTE finished third ahead of the two Porsche 911 RSRs while the best-placed BMW M8 GTE ended up eighth.
In GTE-Am, Matteo Cairoli went quickest in the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
FP3 is scheduled to get underway tomorrow at 09:30 a.m. local time, before qualifying later in the day.
RESULTS: Free Practice 2