Audi and Toyota trade lead in free practice 1 at Spa

After Toyota led most of the session, the opening practice at Spa ended with Audi on top.

Audi and Toyota trade lead in free practice 1 at Spa

Toyota Racing, which is based just 120km from the Ardennes track in Cologne, Germany, led the way in the LMP1-H category for almost all the session but it was Loïc Duval in the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro which headed the time sheets as the chequered flag flew. The Frenchman lapped the 7km track in a time of 2:15.143 moments before the end of the session placing the Audi 0.272s ahead of the No.7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid, the best time from the Japanese entry coming courtesy of Kazuki Nakajima. Just five hundredths of a second behind was the No.8 Toyota TS040.

Rebellion Racing’s new Toyota-powered R-Ones had a troubled start to their Spa weekend, with the No.13 of Belicchi-Leimer-Kraihamer not completing a timed lap. The team is realistic about the introduction into competition of these very new cars, which have only done 5 days of testing before coming to Spa, and will be treating the weekend as an extended test session.

In LMP2 SMP Racing’s two ORECA 03 Nissans topped the class, the No.27 of Nicolas Minassian-Serguey Zlobin-Maurizio Mediani topped the class with a fastest lap of 2:25.960, just two tenths of a second ahead of its team mates in the No.37, and 3.4s faster than the third placed No.38 Zytek Z11SN Nissan of JOTA Sport. As across the whole field, the LMP2 drivers are all getting up to speed at Spa and taking care in the tricky track and weather conditions.

The 14 LMGTE Pro and Am cars were all jostling for the top place in the luxury manufacturer led category, and it was an LMGTE Am entry, No.75 Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of the Belgian Prospeed Competition team, which put all its local knowledge to good use and finished ahead of its Pro cousins. Matthieu Vaxivière lapped the track in a time of 2:34.281 to finish 0.267s ahead of the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni. The LMGTE Pro lead had been traded throughout the two hours by the Ferrari and the Porsche 911 RSRs of Porsche Team Manthey, Fred Makowiecki’s No.92 finishing the session second in class, half a second ahead of the No.97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8.

In between the Pro Porsche and Aston Martin was another Am entry, the No.90 8Star Motorsports Ferrari 458 Italia of Enzo Potolicchio-Paolo Ruberti-Gianluca Roda lapping in a time of 2:35.184. Third in class was the No.88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Ried-Bachler-Al Qubaisi.

World Endurance Championship (WEC)

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