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Toyota Sweeps Monza Practice Sessions as Lopez Leads FP3

Third consecutive fastest lap for Toyota’s Jose Maria Lopez in practice at Monza…

Photo: MPS Agency

Jose Maria Lopez swept the FIA World Endurance Championship’s trio of Free Practice sessions at Monza by setting the fastest lap during FP3 on Saturday afternoon.

Lopez reeled off a time of 1:36.137 early in the 60-minute run to put the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid on top of the order for the third time, after also leading FP1 and FP2.

Lopez ended up a second clear of his Toyota Gazoo Racing teammate Brendon Hartley, who clocked a 1:37.208 in the Japanese manufacturer’s sister hybrid-powered LMH.

The Argentine driver reduced the fastest lap of the weekend by a further seven-tenths in the final session before qualifying on Saturday evening.

Pipo Derani was third-quickest in the No. 708 Glickenhaus SCG 007 LMH with a time of 1:37.659, which set the American Hypercar team 1.522 seconds off the top spot.

All of the top-four times came within the first 10 minutes as Nicolas Lapierre came through on a 1:37.747 for Alpine Endurance Team early in the session.

The ORECA-built Alpine A480 Gibson LMP1 was on track after hasty rear and front end repairs after Andre Negrao was hit from behind by an Iron Lynx Ferrari 488 GTE Evo at the end of Free Practice 2, which finished only three hours before FP3 sttarted.

The other Glickenhaus completed the top five courtesy of a 1:38.009 from Romain Dumas just before halfway.

Dumas got his best time in moments before a brief Full Course Yellow was ordered after Matej Konopka spun the ARC Bratislava Ligier JS P217 Gibson at Turn 1 and became stranded on one of the sausage curbs.

Stoffel Vandoorne set the pace in LMP2 with a time of 1:38.910 in the No. 28 JOTA Oreca 07 Gibson that the Belgian shares with Tom Blomqvist and Sean Gelael.

Vandoorne overcame the early target set by Felipe Nasr, whose Risi Competizione Oreca ended up third after Filipe Albuquerque wedged the United Autosports Oreca into second.

The two factory Porsche 911 RSR-19s sandwiched the pair of AF Corse Ferraris in GTE-Pro, as Gianmaria Bruni led the way in the German manufacturer’s No. 91 machine.

Bruni’s fastest lap of 1:46.253, which fell six-tenths short of Kevin Estre’s weekend best from FP2, took the lead by three-tenths from Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 51 Ferrari.

Porsche initially looked set for a one-two after the early times came in, but the two Ferraris improved around the midway point. Pier Guidi jumped ahead of Miguel Molina in the sister AF Corse 488, with both drivers bumping Neel Jani down to fourth.

Nicklas Nielsen went fastest in the GTE-Am class for AF Corse’s No. 83 crew.

The Ferrari factory driver submitted a handful of fast laps, including his ultimate best of 1:47.080, around the 20-minute mark. The No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche and Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 88 Porsche finished second and third.

The Ferraris from Iron Lynx’s No. 60 crew and Inception Racing did not take part in the session after accidents in FP2.

RESULTS: Free Practice 3

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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