Toyota Take Fastest Lap in Final Practice


Credit: Brenda Washbourne

In the final 60 minutes of practice before qualifying, Toyota Gazoo Racing managed to knock Porsche off the top of the timing sheet to take their first time topping lap of the weekend. Championship contenders #8 Toyota took the top spot whilst the sister car could not outpace the German manufacturer. TDS Racing were at the top of the LMP2 class with a completely new pair completing the top three to yesterday. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK were back on top with Olivier Pla and Stefan MuckeAF Corse put the pressure on ahead of qualifying by taking a two-three behind the FordPedro Lamy took the triple by taking the fastest lap of LM GTE Am in every single practice session this weekend.

Sebastien Buemi was the man to take Porsche off the top of the timing screens this afternoon, setting a 1:45.712. He, paired with Kazuki Nakajima and standing in Stephane Sarrazin took the fastest lap off of Porsche for the first time this race weekend. Buemi’s fastest lap time was 1.753 seconds fastest than anything that the championship-leading #2 Porsche crew could set.

The Porsches remained together on the time board, with the #7 Toyota team unable to go fastest than either of the Porsches. It is a good sign for Toyota ahead of qualifying that they may be able to put in a lap time fast enough to steal pole position in class. However, Porsche may not have been focused on qualifying simulations and could have still been focused on long runs ahead of qualifying, which means they could have the pace to force both Toyota’s behind them.

A new fastest car was presented in LMP2 as Matthieu Vaxiviere put in the fastest lap in the #28 TDS. In the top three in class was the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing and the #25 CEFC Manor TRS Racing. Neither of the Vaillante Rebellion cars or the championship leading #38 Jackie Chan car featured heavily in the final practice session. All eyes will be looking at them to see where they place in qualifying later.

Ferrari were back today in qualifying. Both AF Corse cars put in impressive displays of pace to show that they are still in the fight for victory after yesterday’s final practice suggested their pace had dwindled a little. Putting Pla through his paces in a battle for the fastest lap, both Corses ended up in the top three. Pla was in a class of his own, setting a 2:02.987 that neither Ferrari could get close to.

Championship leading Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell were a way down the class order as the chequered flag fell, sitting near the bottom with both Aston Martin Racing cars. It can be assumed that they will be back in qualifying but it can also be assured that qualifying will be a tight affair in this class.

Lamy has a knack for setting fastest laps and repeated this talent in the final practice session. Having topped all the sessions so far, the #99 Aston Martin team looked to be in the best position to take their third American victory tomorrow and potentially take back the championship lead. The #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari was second in class, being the third different car to be chasing down the #99 in practice sessions this weekend.