Marcel Fassler Keeps Audi No.1 Ahead in Third Practice

by James Broomhead
Soheil Ayari topped LMP2 in the Pecom ORECA 03 (Photo Credit:

Soheil Ayari topped LMP2 in the Pecom ORECA 03 (Photo Credit:

No.1 was again at the top of the timesheets in the final free practice session for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) Six Hours of SpaFrancorchamps as Marcel Fassler continued the form shown by his co-drivers Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer in the two Thursday sessions.

Fassler took the Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid to the top of the times late on in the hour long session with a time of 2:01.998, by far the fastest lap of the weekend's running so far. That came despite a mid-session downpour that put a dampener on the times during the middle portion of the session, teams either setting their best time in the first laps of the session or – like Fassler – leaving it late to improve their standings.

In the Audi camp the rains had given Marco Bonanomi – in his first race in the R18 Ultra – the chance to lead the practice session through back-to-back fastest laps early in the session that set the benchmark until Fassler's time with just six minutes of the session remaining.

Bonanomi's time was good enough to keep second fastest with fellow Audi new boy Marc Gene, filling in for Timo Bernhard to team up with Romain Dumas and Loic Duval in the no.3 car, in third. Allan McNish completed the Audi 1-2-3-4 with Rebellion Racing the best of the rest thanks to Neel Jani in the no.12 machine, the Swiss another to set his best time late in the session.

Soheil Ayari led LMP2 for Pecom Racing, just as he had done in the opening session on Thursday. This time he was faster than his French countryman Olivier Pla, unable to repeat his own time topping performance from the previous afternoon for OAK Racing.

After Ferrari and Porsche had led sessions on Thursday it was the turn of the third and final manufacturer in the class to lead GTEPro in third practice as Stefan Mucke lifted the Aston Martin Racing Vantage to the top of the class.

Likewise JeanPhilippe Belloc brought a new name to the top of the GTEAm times in Larbre Competition and new manufacturer in Corvette as he narrowly beat the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche to the top of the class.

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