Porsche dominate Thursday with Second One-Two

by Alice Holloway

Porsche‘s advantage over Toyota Gazoo Racing has been extended in the second practice session as the Porsche one-two finished nearly a second faster than the fastest Toyota. Vaillante Rebellion followed in Porsche’s footsteps to claim their own one-two in LMP2. The competition became more intense in LM GTE Pro as three different manufacturers filled the top three spots, with Aston Martin Racing leading the class. they were also the team to beat in Am as Pedro Lamy kept the British team on top of the class timing sheet for the second consecutive session.

Neel Jani put the #1 Porsche at the top of the time sheet in the second practice session with a 1:45.860, three seconds fastest than the fastest time set by Earl Bamber in the first practice session. The #2 car was not far behind the #1, bringing Porsche their second one-two of the weekend. Half a second split the two Porsches at the end of the session.

But for Toyota, the weekend is looking to be a repeat of the last two races. In this session, they slipped further behind Porsche, with the #7 Toyota leading the duo and being nearly a second off the pace of the #1 car. The #8 Toyota’s programme was focused on evaluating the tyres in different temperature expected throughout the race. If Porsche continue to dominate LMP1 in this fashion the championship battles in class will be settled at the 6 Hours of Fuji, just two races away.

Rebellion came back from their quiet first practice session to take a one-two at the end of the second. Bruno Senna lead the Anglo/Swiss team and the LMP2 field with a 1:54.601 lap time. Mathias Beche was just two tenths behind in the #13 Rebellion. Finishing off the top three in class was Alex Lynn in the #26 G-Drive Racing, who led the first practice session, four tenths off the pace.

Once again, the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car was fifth in class, just under a second off the pace. With the Rebellion team having made progress between practice sessions, the #38 crew will have to work hard to close the gap or they risk losing more points in the championship battle.

Where it looked to be a two-way battle in LM GTE Pro after the first practice session, it has all changed in the second. Ferrari were no where to be seen in the top three as Nicki Thiim set the fastest lap of the class in the Aston Martin Racing #95, ahead of class championship-leading Harry Tincknell in the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK and the #92 Porsche GT Team.

It looks like all four teams could be in for a chance to push for victory come Saturday’s race. Thiim lead the class with a 2:04.023, just 0.074 seconds up on Thincknell’s time. With the practice times that close, the pace of all the cars this weekend seems to be on a similar level. LM GTE qualifying and the race in the Pro class are going to be events not to miss if the pace remains this close.

Lamy set a 2:05.935 in the Am class, a time good enough to place the #99 Aston Martin Racing at the top of the class time sheet. If the #99 crew win this weekend, it will be the third time they have done so around the Circuit of the Americas. The #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari was second behind the Aston Martin by around 1.6 seconds with Dempsey-Proton Racing rounding off the top three.


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