Rebellion Leads the way in COTA Free Practices

by Alice Holloway
#1 Rebellion Racing LMP1 car on track at Circuit of the Americas, 2020

As the FIA World Endurance Championship grid prepares for the 6 Hours of COTA, Rebellion Racing topped both timing boards during practice despite suffering an engine failure in the second track session.

The Rebellion trio lead by just over a tenth in the first practice session, but just over half a second in the second session from the slightly less penalised Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 in the hands of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Kazuki Nakajima. The sister Japanese car found itself fighting with the LMP2s, unable to get higher than seventh in the overall pegging order in either practice session. The additional 0.5 seconds of success ballast that the #7 crew have been handed looks to be pulling them out of the fight at the front.

As strong as the sole Rebellion Racing car looked, it did suffer an engine failure in the last practice session. There was concern from the team that the car would not be able to participate in qualifying, where pole position is almost guaranteed with their pace advantage over Toyota. However, since the end of the session, the team look to have made the engine change, meaning they should be back out in time for the shoot out later on.

With the potential of a finish on the overall podium up for grabs in tomorrow’s race, winning LMP2 has never been more important. United Autosports and Racing Team Nederland look to be ones to watch, with both cars ending a practice session fastest in class and third overall respectively in FP1 and FP2. Phil Hanson, Filipe Albuquerque and Paul di Resta led the way by two tenths of a second in first practice, whilst they trailed the #29 by just under a second in the second.

The #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing will also be one to watch later on in qualifying, as the trio of Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens were consistency in the top three of LMP2, looking strong on pace.

#97 Aston Martin Racing on track at Circuit of the Americas, 2020
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

Aston Martin Racing duo Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin took a late fastest lap in the first practice session, beating the AF Corse pair of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, who had led most of the session by two tenths. However, the Aston Martin pair found themselves at the back of the Pro grid in the second session.

Corvette Racing have been finding their pace throughout the practice sessions. The first session saw them slowest on the grid, 2.5 seconds off the Pro pace and behind all 11 GTE Am entries. However, the second session saw them getting involved with the other Pro cars, only ahead of the #97 Aston Martin but just a second off the pace-setting #92 Porsche GT Team.

It was a Dempsey-Proton Racing one-two in the first session, with the #77 crew of Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera and Matt Campbell pipping the sister car to the fastest lap by two tenths of a second. The trio retained their fastest in class position in the second session, going faster than four of the Pro cars with a 2:02.192.

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