Toyota Top First Monza Practice

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#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing on track at the 6 Hours of Monza
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

Jose Maria Lopez set the pace with a 1:38.401 at the first practice session of the first championship race to be held at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza for the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Monza.

The WEC has been to Monza in the past for the 2017 prologue. With the welcome reception of the European Le Mans Series last year, it made sense for the WEC to return to the temple of speed, and speed was the key of the day for Toyota who took the top two positions on the timing board, split by a tenths of a second and ahead of third-placed Alpine Elf Matmut by a tenth.

With two Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus cars on track, bringing the Hypercar entry list up to five, all eyes were on the new drivers in the team. The Glickenhaus pair sat fourth and fifth, ahead of all of the LMP2 cars, with Romain Dumas going faster than his fellow countryman by four hundredths of a second. The pair had briefly held the top spots on the timing screen which was an impressive sight for the team in their second race, first as a two-car team.

A third of the way into the session, the red flag came out after Roberto Lacorte crashed the Cetilar Racing LMP2 car. He was fine and the car was recovered, but the decision was made to add an additional fifteen minutes onto the session to make up for the delay and lost track time.

#52 AF Corse in the pit lane for the 6 Hours of Monza
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

United Autosport returned to the top of LMP2 with Filipe Alberquerque returning from IMSA to retake his seat in the car. His 1:39.373 was just under half a second faster than second-placed Nyck de Vries in the #29 Racing Team Nederland entry. The Dutch-backed car has lost two of its regular racers ahead of this weekend as both Giedo van der Garde and Job van Uitert tested positive for COVID-19.

Ben Hanley kept up his performance of keeping DragonSpeed in the top five with a third place finish, two tenths off De Vries time and ahead of Team WRT and the JOTA #28 that wrapped up the top ten.

Ferrari gave the local tifosi something to smile about, beating out Porsche to take the fastest GTE time. Miguel Molina led the Ferrari charge with James Calado four tenths down on his 1:46.329, with both Italian cars beating the Porsche GT Team duo. Neel Jani took third for championship-fighting Porsche, two tenths off the championship-leading Ferrari’s time.

Giancarlo Fisichella was on par to give Ferrari a double fastest lap at the end of the session, but a late push from Matteo Cairoli saw the Team Project 1 take the fastest Am time ahead of the #54 AF Corse. The #60 Iron Lynx made it a Ferrari two-three.

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The Checkered Flag’s correspondent for the FIA World Endurance Championship. Working in motorsport as a hobby and as a professional, Alice is a freelance digital communications manager, video editor and graphic designer at OrbitSphere. She also runs and manages her own YouTube channel - Circuit The World - with videos on gaming, travel, motorsports and reviews.
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