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Toyota Leads Stoppage-Affected Friday at Fuji

Toyota runs 1-2 in Friday practice for 6H Fuji as curb repairs limit green flag running…

Photo: Toyota

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

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.

5 Comments

5 Comments

  1. therandomguy

    October 12, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Still EOT is failing and Toyota still have a pace advantage. Bet the Toyota are not showing their true hand and non hybrids will struggle in qualifying and race.

  2. hellothere

    October 12, 2018 at 8:17 am

    make it 150 kg of ballast for the toyota’s

  3. WEC iz dum

    October 12, 2018 at 8:34 am

    Might as well just use the LMP2 or GTE order for the headlines. I’m sure 100% of people who follow the WEC will know that Toyota will be 1-2 in all the sessions from now until they retire the TS050

  4. TF110

    October 12, 2018 at 11:06 am

    The private cars need better tires designed for their car specifically. I think that will gain them a chunk of laptime. Toyota is too good though. But why should they be punished further? The private teams are going to get better but Toyota needs to be the benchmark. The wec should not turn into imsa and bop every time someone is slower.

  5. N8

    October 12, 2018 at 11:07 am

    A race between SMP and Rebellion would be nice. I hope that BR1 can hang in there.

    What’s going on with the kerbs?

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