Jean-Eric Vergne’s early lap put Peugeot ahead of Ferrari in the final practice session for the Monza round of the World Endurance Championship.
For the first time this season, Peugeot set the pace in an FIA World Endurance Championship practice session as Jean-Eric Vergne edged off Ferrari’s Antonio Fuoco by 0.045 seconds.
Vergne’s 1:35.878 lap time for the No. 93 Peugeot 9X8 made it the fastest car overall. Fuoco and Vergne shared the lead early in the session’s 60 minutes.
Just a year after the Peugeot 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar made its competition debut at the Italian track, Vergne set the early pace in the hour-long practice before Antonio Fuoco’s Ferrari overtook him after registering a 1m35.923s in his 499P LMH.
However, Vergne quickly countered in the #93 Peugeot, recording the quickest time of the weekend so far with a 1m35.878s that was 0.045s quicker than Fuoco’s and remained unchallenged for the rest of the session.
In a bid to cap off a productive morning for Peugeot, Gustavo Menezes set the third-fastest time in the #94 9X8 ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi’s #51 Ferrari, the car that won the Le Mans 24 Hours last month.
Menezes was momentarily eclipsed by Antonio Giovanzzi, driving the No. 51 Ferrari at one point but the Italian had his lap time deleted due to a violation of the track limits at the exit of Ascari.
Giovinazzi quickly turned in a flawless lap to move up to fourth, while Alex Lynn improved shortly after the halfway point to move Cadillac, an LMDh manufacturer, into fifth place, little over 0.5 seconds off the lead.
Fifth and sixth place were respectively held by Porsche 963 customers Proton Competition and Hertz Team JOTA, the latter whose car had to briefly stop at the end of the pit lane at the beginning of the session due to low fuel pressure readings.
Harry Tincknell was placed in position seven while driving the brand-new Proton model, which had just finished a shakedown run before heading to Monza.
The top Toyota GR010 HYBRID LMH finished eighth with Kamui Kobayashi’s 1m37.402s, narrowly beating out the top works Porsche with Michael Christensen at the wheel of the #5 963.
With a time of 1m37.636s from Olivier Pla, the Glickenhaus-Pipo 007, the pole-winner from the previous year, finished in the top 10 beating the #8 Toyota which is currently dominating the points standings.
Ryo Hirakawa set the fastest time in the car that placed second at Le Mans. However, the car finished 1.925s off the lead. Esteban Guerrieri’s Vanwall Vandervell 680 and Kevin Estre’s second works Porsche completed the 13-car Hypercar pack.
WRT’s dominance over the LMP2 category came to an end after Pietro Fittipaldi of Jota Sport set the fastest time in his #28 ORECA-Gibson 07.
The Brazilian’s time of 1m39.621s was 0.260s faster than Gabriel Aubry’s Vector Sport ORECA, which Charles Milesi (Signatech Alpine) pushed down to fourth. The #41 WRT ORECA, which had dominated FP1 and FP2, had been the fastest in both sessions.
The fastest time for the car was set by Robert Kubica, who was 0.418s late.
Italian Matteo Cairoli driving the #56 Project 1 911 RSR-19 secured the top spot in Porsche’s exclusive top four in the GTE Am times.
With a benchmark time of 1m46.762s, Cairoli outperformed Julien Andlauer’s #77 Dempsey Proton car by 0.236 seconds. Alessio Picariello’s #60 Iron Lynx and Riccardo Pera’s #86 GR Racing highlighted the strength of the German manufacturer.
In fifth place, factory driver Davide Rigon driving the #54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 Evo was the top non-Porsche driver.