Rebellion Leads Close Fight in WEC Free Practice One

by Alice Holloway
Rebellion Racing #1 setting the fastest lap, courtesy of Norman Nato, during the first free practice of the Silverstone event.

In comparison to twelve months ago, the fight in the FIA World Endurance Championship already looks to be closers, with the top four LMP1 cars setting times within a minute of each other.

The Rebellion Racing #1 in the hands of Norman Nato stole the fastest lap of the session in the dying moments of the first 90-minutes on track. His 1:38.860 was 0.420 seconds faster than the quickest time from Toyota Gazoo Racing. The Japanese team had led the way throughout most of the session, with Sebasiten Buemi setting the benchmark.

Both Rebellions kept the pressure on Toyota this session, with the #6 Team LNT Ginetta also showing some good pace, 1.7s off Nato’s fastest lap time. The #5, however, suffered some issues that saw them only set three insulation laps, the only car not to set a lap time in the first session of 4 Hours of Silverstone.

United Autosports in their ORECA dictated the pace of the LMP2 class, with Paul Di Resta putting in a 1:43.006 to go four-tenths faster than their closest competitors. Di Resta’s time came early in the session, with none of the challenging cars able to go faster. The top three was rounded off by Cool Racing and Racing Team Nederland with just seven tenths between the trio.

The sole non-ORECA running car of the #47 Cetilar Racing team finished bottom of the class, just under three seconds off Di Resta’s benchmark.

AF Corse #51 leading the way in GTE Pro before the time was beaten by the #91 Porsche
Credit: Race Photography

AF Corse had been the team to beat until the final moments of the session. The 1:56.069 set by James Calado was beaten by three tenths of a second by Porsche GT Team‘s Gianmaria Bruni in the final lap of the session. This made it three different manufacturers in the top three of the class, all separated by around three tenths from each other.

In Am, however, Aston Martin Vantage GTEs were the cars to beat. Jonny Adam‘s 1:56.611 in the bright red TF Sport remained unbeaten throughout the 90 minute session, with Aston Martin Racing‘s Darren Turner setting a 1:57.190 in the Am works car.

Rounding off the top three in class, the Ferrari of MR Racing missed out on second in class by just one tenth of a second.

In the #56 Team Project 1, David Heinemeier Hansson has been replaced by David Kolkmann as his wife is currently expecting a baby. If Hansson can get to Silverstone ahead of qualifying tomorrow he will be able to partake in the 4-hour event on Sunday. Failing this, Kolkmann will continue to step in for the team this weekend.

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