In the final practice session of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Rebellion Racing continued to bring the fight to Toyota Gazoo Racing, topping the timing board once again. Porsche GT Team also held station, with AF Corse recording their best finish of the event.
Only one hour of practice ran this morning, giving those driver who were in Hyperpole one last chance to make changes to the set up of the car. Those who were not partaking in the afternoon’s Hyperpole session only this track time left before they took to the starting grid of the 88th 24 Hours of Le Mans. Lap times in this session were much slower than the pace seen in last night’s sole night practice, suggesting that the fastest laps may have already been set and the chance to break the lap record in Hyperpole later isn’t very likely.
The hour passed without too much incident; for the first time of this event the session was not interrupted by a red flag.
Gustavo Menezes switched which Rebellion came out on top from last night, taking the fastest lap of 3:21.132 with the #1. He set his time in the last fifteen minutes of the session, likely doing a final qualifying simulation, going half a second faster that the Toyota #7. Once again only one Toyota was in the top three as third place was taken by the sister Rebellion Racing. After its incident last night, the #4 ByKolles Racing Team was happily back out on track, albeit taking its usual place at the back of the LMP1 field.
Showing some potential pace for Hyperpole, Paul di Resta led the way in LMP2 with a 1.4s advantage over the rest of the field. Jean-Eric Vergne had led the way through most of the session with a 3:28.586, but di Resta’s 3:27.185 blew that out of the water. Antonio Felix da Costa joined his FIA Formula E teammate in the top three, rounding it off with his #38 Jota. Da Costa was knocked out of Hyperpole in the last moments of qualifying, so will not be back out on track in the next session.
After their scare yesterday, both IDEC Sport cars were back on the track today, predominantly running in the cars and checking all systems were OK ahead of tomorrow’s race. Dwight Merriman who had the second incident in the #17 car, has decided to withdraw himself from the race. He is fine and has been cleared by the medical team, but has taken the decision himself to take no further part in this weekend’s race. His late withdrawal saw IDEC looking for a replacement, and manage to secure a late call up for Patrick Pilet. The Frenchman, with a magnitude of experience at the Circuit de la Sarthe, will partner Brits Kyle Tilley and Jonathan Kennard in the #17 for the rest of the event.
Michael Christensen put the leading FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro car at the front of the pack by the end of the session, setting a 3:51.985 in the #92 Porsche. He held a half second advantage on the two-three finish for the AF Corses, with Sam Bird beating Alessandro Pier Guidi by two tenths. This marked the best finish for the works Ferrari duo so far in this event.
Alex Lynn was the highest placed Aston Martin Racing driver in fourth, finishing four tenths up on the #82 Risi Competizione and half a second up on the second Porsche GT Team #91.
Porsche were also fastest in GTE Am, with Mattero Cairoli setting a 3:53.884 in the #56 Team Project 1. It was close at the front however, with Come Ledogar second in the Luzich Racing Ferrari by only 0.05s. The only car not to set a lap time was the #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing, which had had a big off early in the session coming through the Ford Chicane.