Toyota tops the opening practice of 24 Hours of Le Mans

Toyota tops the opening practice of 24 Hours of Le Mans

Toyota Gazoo set the pace in the opening practice session for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours at Circuit de la Sarthe after overpowering Glickenhaus to take the top spot in the final minutes.

Brendon Hartley in the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid managed to record 3m29.441s, relegating the #709 Glickenhaus 007 LMH to second with only 20 minutes left in the three-hour session. Franck Mailleux in the Glickenhaus had set the pace with a time of 3m29.917s, just a few tenths faster than Pipo Derani’s 3m30.102s in the sister car, which finished third in the final results.

Prior to Hartley’s improvement on Sebastien Buemi’s earlier record in the #8, the quickest Toyota time was 3m30.403s set by Kamui Kobayashi aboard the #7 vehicle early in the session. However, in  the closing stages of the session, the second Toyota was demoted to fifth by the fastest LMP2 driver.

United Autosports’ Alex Lynn was the fastest in the LMP2 class with a time of 3m30.238s aboard his  Oreca 07-Gibson, he improved by just over two tenths on a time set earlier in the session that had stood as the best in the class until setting the benchmark time.

Andre Negrao’s 3m32.075s put the Alpine A480-Gibson, the penultimate runner in the Hypercar class, sixth in the classification behind three LMP2 cars.

JOTA’s Antonio Felix da Costa finished second in P2 and sixth overall in the best of the JOTA Oreca with only a few minutes left on the clock. In the Prema team’s solo Oreca, his 3m31.624s almost edged out Robert Kubica’s 3m31.881s. Meanwhile, Robin Frijns finished fourth fastest in class and ninth overall in the best of three WRT-run Orecas.

Driving the sister Realteam by WRT Oreca, the Dutch driver’s 3m32.158s just edged off Norman Nato’s 3m32.183s. Mathias Beche of TDS Racing was fifth fastest LMP2 and best of the pro/am P2 runners with a time of 3m32.536s.

Corvette Racing kept up its test-day success to claim the top two GTE Pro positions as Antonio Garcia’s time of 3m53.250s in the #63 Corvette C8.R bumped teammate Tommy Milner out of first place.

Milner’s time of 3m53.360s was seven-tenths of a second faster than the fastest of the rest, Gianmaria Bruni’s 3m54.081s in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19. Michael Christensen’s sister Porsche finished fourth in class with a time of 3m54.601s.

The leading #52 factory AF Corse Ferrari was affected by a power reduction due to a late Balance of Performance adjustment before of the session. Late in the practise, Antonio Fuoco set a 3m54.543s aboard his Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, but the sister #51 vehicle did not set a comparable time due to an engine change.

In GTE Am, the WeatherTech Racing team, which is owned by Proton, took the lead as Julien Andlauer’s Proton-run Porsche 911 RSR won by nearly nine tenths over the GR Racing Porsche with a time of 3m55.082s.

The first qualifying session begins at 19:00 with a one-hour session in which the top six cars in each class advance to the Hyperpole session tomorrow.

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