Austin WEC: Rebellion leads Toyota in first practice

Rebellion Racing led the way in Saturday morning's first practice session for this weekend's Lone Star Le Mans at the Circuit of the Americas.

Austin WEC: Rebellion leads Toyota in first practice

Gustavo Menezes went fastest in the solo Rebellion R-13 with a 1m49.957s, which outpaced the best of the Toyotas by just under two tenths of a second. 

Sebastien Buemi posted a 1m50.132s in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which is the least penalised of the two Japanese cars under the system of LMP1 success handicaps.

The #7 sister car, which is penalised by 2.77s compared with the #8 TS050's 2.21s, ended up ninth overall and slowest in the LMP1 field depleted by the absence of the two works Ginetta G60-LT-P1s. 

Mike Conway's 1m52.460s in the #7 Toyota left him behind six LMP2 cars in the times at the end of the first of the pair of two-hour practice sessions on the compressed two-day Austin schedule. 

The Toyota's handicaps compare with the 0.55s penalty for the Rebellion after its third-place finish behind the TS050s last time out in the WEC at Bahrain last December.

The United Autosports Oreca 07 led the way in LMP2 in third overall with a 1m50.488s from Filipe Albuquerque set at the beginning of the session.  

Will Stevens got within two tenths of the class leader in the closing minutes with a 1m50.669s aboard the JOTA Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca. Third fastest was Andre Negrao in the Signatech Alpine Oreca on 1m50.954s. 

Albuquerque's time was more than three seconds quicker than the fastest LMP2 lap on the WEC's last visit to Austin in 2017. The improvement in times is at least partially down to the new track surface laid over the winter. 

Aston Martin driver Maxime Martin jumped to the top of the GTE Pro order towards the end of the session. His 2m01.838s in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE put him more than two tenths up on James Calado's 2m02.117s in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE.

Calado and then teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi had been fastest for much of the session aboard the #51 car. The sister #71 Ferrari took third on a 2m02.276s from Miguel Molina. 

Gianmaria Bruni ended up fourth in the best of the factory Porsche 911 RSR-19s with a 2m02.440s. 

The new mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette C8-R ended up slowest of the 30-car field, behind all 11 GTE Am entries, despite a late improvement from Mike Rockenfeller. His 2m04.284s left him nearly 2.5s off the GTE Pro pace. 

Matt Campbell pipped Dempsey-Proton Porsche teammate Thomas Preining for the top spot in GTE Am in the closing minutes of the session. 

Session results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 1 Brazil Bruno Senna
United States Gustavo Menezes
France Norman Nato
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'49.957
2 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'50.132 0.175
3 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.488 0.531
4 37 China Ho-Pin Tung
France Gabriel Aubry
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.669 0.712
5 36 France Thomas Laurent
Brazil Andre Negrao
France Pierre Ragues
Alpine A470 LMP2 1'50.954 0.997
6 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.171 1.214
7 21 Sweden Henrik Hedman
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
United States Colin Braun
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.058 2.101
8 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.122 2.165
9 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'52.460 2.503
10 42 France Nicolas Lapierre
Switzerland Antonin Borga
Switzerland Alexandre Coigny
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.762 2.805
11 33 United States Mark Patterson
Japan Kenta Yamashita
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.858 2.901
12 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Andrea Belicchi
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Dallara P217 LMP2 1'55.492 5.535
13 97 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Belgium Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'01.838 11.881
14 51 United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'02.117 12.160
15 71 Italy Davide Rigon
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'02.276 12.319
16 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'02.440 12.483
17 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'02.456 12.499
18 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'02.674 12.717
19 77 Germany Christian Ried
Italy Riccardo Pera
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.742 12.785
20 88 United States Bret Curtis
Belgium Adrien de Leener
Austria Thomas Preining
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.911 12.954
21 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Andrew Watson
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.985 13.028
22 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Germany Laurents Hörr
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'03.018 13.061
23 70 Japan Motoaki Ishikawa
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Japan Kei Cozzolino
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'03.202 13.245
24 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom Darren Turner
United Kingdom Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'03.302 13.345
25 57 United States Ben Keating
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'03.356 13.399
26 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'03.460 13.503
27 90 Turkey Salih Yoluc
Ireland Charles Eastwood
United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'03.542 13.585
28 83 France François Perrodo
France Emmanuel Collard
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'03.697 13.740
29 62 United Kingdom Bonamy Grimes
United Kingdom Johnny Mowlem
United Kingdom Charles Hollings
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'04.219 14.262
30 63 Denmark Jan Magnussen
Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 2'04.284 14.327
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Author Gary Watkins
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