Spa WEC: Toyota Hypercars go fastest ahead of qualifying

Toyota's new Le Mans Hypercar topped an official FIA World Endurance Championship session for the first time in third practice ahead of qualifying for this weekend's Spa season opener.

Both of the Japanese marque's GR010 Hybrid contenders set their quickest times at the very start of the one-hour session, which were the fastest of the event so far, including the pre-event Prologue test.

Kamui Kobayashi put the #7 machine at the head of the order on a 2m02.518s, almost a second faster than either Toyota had managed in FP2, while Kazuki Nakajima was 0.350s adrift in the sister #8 car.

Kobayashi's time was more than a second up on the third-placed United Autosports Oreca, which led the LMP2 class courtesy of Filipe Albuquerque's lap of 2'03.761s.

G-Drive Racing's pair of Aurus-branded Orecas completed the top three in class and the top five overall, with Roberto Merhi setting a best time of 2m03.931s the Pro-Am #25 car a little over a tenth of a second ahead of the #26 machine of Nyck de Vries.

Alpine's solo grandfathered A480 LMP1 car was third and last in the top Hypercar category, albeit with a laptime around seven tenths off the French marque's FP2 chart-topping effort.

Nicolas Lapierre's time of 2m04.110s was more than 1.5s off the outright pace.

Fourth in the LMP2 class and seventh overall was the RealTeam Oreca of Norman Nato, ahead of the Racing Team Nederland car of Giedo van der Garde and the WRT machine of Robin Frijns.

Porsche upped the ante in the GTE Pro class as Kevin Estre set the fastest time in class of the week so far, becoming the first driver to dip beneath the 2m12s mark.

Estre's best effort of 2m11.936s aboard the #92 911 RSR-19, also set towards the start of the session, put him some seven tenths up on the sister Porsche driven by Gianmaria Bruni.

Ferrari was third and fourth in class with its pair of works 488 GTE Evos, Miguel Molina setting the Italian marque's fastest time of 2m13.202s, while Corvette Racing again brought up the rear with Antonio Garcia setting a time around two seconds off the pace in his C8.R.

Porsche likewise led the way in GTE Am as Matteo Cairoli posted a 2m13.515s in the Project 1 car, beating the Dempsey-Proton machine of Matt Campbell by just over four tenths.

The WEC Spa 6 Hours starts on Saturday May 1 at 1.30pm CET, with practice and qualifying scheduled on Thursday and Friday. All sessions of the event will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv

Practice results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 2'02.518
2 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 2'02.868 0.350
3 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Switzerland Fabio Scherer
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'03.761 1.243
4 25 United States John Falb
Portugal Rui Andrade
Spain Roberto Merhi
Aurus 01 LMP2 2'03.931 1.413
5 26 Russian Federation Roman Rusinov
Argentina Franco Colapinto
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Aurus 01 LMP2 2'04.043 1.525
6 36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 2'04.110 1.592
7 70 Switzerland Esteban Garcia
France Loic Duval
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.634 2.116
8 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.725 2.207
9 31 Netherlands Robin Frijns
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.787 2.269
10 24 United States Patrick Kelly
France Gabriel Aubry
Switzerland Simon Trummer
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.796 2.278
11 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.900 2.382
12 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'05.515 2.997
13 21 Sweden Henrik Hedman
Colombia Juan Pablo Montoya
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'05.918 3.400
14 1 Colombia Tatiana Calderon
Germany Sophia Flörsch
Netherlands Beitske Visser
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'06.479 3.961
15 28 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'06.521 4.003
16 20 Denmark Jan Magnussen
Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Denmark Dennis Andersen
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'07.275 4.757
17 44 Slovakia Miro Konopka
United Kingdom Tom Jackson
United Kingdom Darren Burke
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 2'07.466 4.948
18 92 France Kevin Estre
Switzerland Neel Jani
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'11.936 9.418
19 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'12.640 10.122
20 52 Brazil Daniel Serra
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'13.202 10.684
21 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'13.325 10.807
22 56 Norway Egidio Perfetti
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Italy Riccardo Pera
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'13.515 10.997
23 63 Spain Antonio Garcia
United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 2'13.904 11.386
24 77 Germany Christian Ried
Australia Jaxon Evans
Australia Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'13.936 11.418
25 83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'14.099 11.581
26 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'14.304 11.786
27 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Andrea Piccini
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'14.562 12.044
28 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'14.581 12.063
29 33 United States Ben Keating
Dylan Pereira
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'14.670 12.152
30 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
United Kingdom Tom Gamble
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'14.816 12.298
31 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Andrew Watson
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'15.311 12.793
32 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Brazil Augusto Farfus
Brazil Marcos Gomes
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'15.340 12.822
33 85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
United Kingdom Katherine Legge
Italy Manuela Gostner
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'15.441 12.923
34 88 Indonesia Andrew Haryanto
Germany Marco Seefried
Belgium Alessio Picariello
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'16.116 13.598
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