Kobayashi fastest as Toyota dominates final practice at Fuji

Kobayashi fastest as Toyota dominates final practice at Fuji

Kamui Kobayashi secured Toyota Gazoo Racing the top spot in the final practice of the 6 Hours of Fuji which was run in varying weather conditions ahead of Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship race.

The #7 GR010 HYBRID of Toyota Gazoo Racing posted the fastest lap time during the final WEC practice session at the Fuji Speedway. With eight minutes left, Kamui Kobayashi produced a 1:30.068 to position himself four tenths ahead of the rest of the field.

Kobayashi’s pace steadily improved over the course of the 60 minutes as the track dried out following moderate rain in the morning.

The #94 Peugeot 9X8 came closest to the #7 Toyota, with a 1:30.476 to finish second fastest. Kobayashi and Duval trounced Antonio Felix Da Costa’s No. 38 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963, which was dropped to third with a time of 1:30.501, by a full 10 minutes.

Fourth place went to Mikkel Jensen’s No. 93 Peugeot, and fifth place went to Harry Tincknell’s No. 99 Proton Competition Porsche, which finished ahead of both Porsche Penske Motorsport cars and the two AF Corse-driven Ferrari 499Ps.

James Calado in the No. 51 Ferrari was sixth fastest, followed by Ryo Hirakawa in the No. 8 Toyota, which is now leading the championship, while Alex Lynn in the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R finished eighth. The two PPM Porsches completed the top-ten.

Oliver Jarvis’ No. 23 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson dominated LMP2 class with a time of 1:34.258, more than two tenths faster than Matthieu Vaxiviere’s No. 36 Signatech Alpine.

The sister United No. 22 entry rounded out the top three in the category.

The No. 54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo driven by Davide Rigon was fastest in GTE-Am, meanwhile the No. 34 Inter Europol Competition Oreca driven by Fabio Scherer was involved in a crash.

A noteworthy incident occurred during the practice at Turn 1, 25 minutes into the session along with a few small off-track detours resulting from cars pushing too aggressively in the conditions.

Fabio Scherer made a costly error in an attempt to go up the inside of the then-leading #54 AF Corse Ferrari, which was being driven by Francesco Castellacci in the #34 Inter Europol Competition ORECA. Scherer braked too late before the apex, lost the rear, and hit the Ferrari’s side.

The ORECA suffered only minor damage, while the impact left a puncture on the right rear of the Ferrari.

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