Toyota Feeling the Heat from Rebellion in Final WEC Practice

by Alice Holloway
Toyota Gazoo Racing on track at Silverstone

Toyota Gazoo Racing continued to lead the way at the FIA World Endurance Championship 4 Hours of Silverstone, but Rebellion Racing are hot on their toes and look to be keeping the battle alive ahead of tomorrow’s race.

Pole is going to be a battle between Toyota and Rebellion later today, as the quartet of cars lapped within a second of each other this morning. Kazuki Nakajima set the benchmark time of a 1:37.014, putting him three tenths up on Rebellion’s Nathanael Berthon. The two Toyotas were split by both Rebellions, as Gustavo Menezes beat Mike Conway by 0.031.

The two Team LNT were out on track a lot for the final practice session of the event, with the #5 seemingly overcoming it’s issues from yesterday to beat the sister car to fifth on the timing screen. The Ginettas were around a second and a half off the pace of the Rebellions and Toyotas, but will be happy with a strong finish ahead of the LMP2 cars if this pace remains into tomorrow’s race.

However, Charlie Robertson had a moment at Becketts, having a spin and getting a flat tyre on the #5. There was a fire scare at one moment during the incident, but the team were able to spin the car around and get it back out on track for more lap data.

United Autosports made it a clean sweep, keeping their ORECA on top of the class by six tenths. Racing Team Nederland once again showed some impressive pace, remaining as the American team’s closest rivals second on the grid.

The battle of the tyres returned with Jackie Chan DC Racing taking the third spot on the grid. Running the Goodyear tyres, Will Stevens set the 1:42.079 putting him nine tenths off the leading pace. It would be assumed that, as the seasoned tyre, Michelin has the edge in the LMP2 tyre war, by Goodyear will be pushing to develop their tyres to try and even up the advantage.

United Autosports on track at Silverstone for the 4 Hours WEC event, 2019
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

AF Corse look to be the team on top, with James Calado and Alessandro Pier-Guidi taking the top spot in the class again this morning. Porsche GT Team kept them honest, with Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni only lapping a tenth off their pace and found themselves in a Ferrari sandwich.

The Aston Martin Racing duo spent a lot of time in the pits this morning, with the #97 of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin setting the lowest number of laps. They will need to find some pace ahead of qualifying later on, as they ended the session over 1.3 seconds off the leading Ferrari.

Nicklas Nielsen blew away the Am field, setting a 1:54.662 in the #83 AF Corse and going third fastest in the Pro field. It was an unbeatable time that none of the challenging cars could get close to. The #56 Team Project 1 Porsche split the two AF Corses at the top of the timing board by 1.4s to complete the top three in Am.

The sister Team Project 1 #57 had an issue in the final moments of the session, coming to a halt out on track. The reason behind the stoppage is unknown at the time of publishing, but the team should return to the track for qualifying this afternoon.

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