FIA WEC

FIA WEC 6 Hours of Spa: Toyota Back on Top in Final Practice

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#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing on pit lane at 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps
Credit: FIA World Endurance Championship

As was expected after the second practice session, Toyota Gazoo Racing locked out the top two positions on the timing board for final practice of the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. The LMP2s were still in the mix with the other Hypercar entries, but Toyota disappeared into a class of their own.

A second split the two Toyotas from the rest of the field, but it was Kamui Kobayashi who had the edge on Brendon Hartley with a 2:03.225. The pair both broke into the 2m03s lap times for the first time this weekend and are the only two to have done so. Hartley was two tenths off, but importantly eight tenths clear for third-placed Prema ORLEN Team. The next closest Hypercar to the Toyota pair was fourth-placed Alpine Elf Matmut, 1.5s off the pace. A resurgent WRT from free practice two capped off the top five, only three thousandths of a second off the Alpine.

An incident for Pipo Derani in the #708 Glickenhaus Racing saw him spin off into the gravel trap at Stavelot and bring out the only full course yellow of the session. He had to be lifted off the track and taken back to the pits, losing the team some track time in the last 60 minutes of practice. However, there seemed to not be too much if any damage to the Glickenhaus as, no sooner was it back into the pits, it was back out on track. It could do no better than 15th overall, 2.3s off the pace set by Kobayashi.

Prema had just over half a second advantage on the closest LMP2 car, but the fight between WRT and United Autosports in sixth was less than a tenth. Team Penske also stayed in the fight for the top half of LMP2, taking seventh on the overall timing board, fourth in class. They were outpaced by the #38 JOTA in the hands of Will Stevens. Pro/Am fastest once again was the AF Corse crew, finishing ninth in the overall standings ahead of the #10 Vector Sport that, after having a difficult start to the weekend, is starting to find more pace.

Michael Christensen was the man to beat in GTE Pro, leading the sister car across the line for a one-two lock out at the front of the class. The #92 Porsche GT Team has led every practice session of the weekend in class, placing it as a favourite for qualifying later this afternoon. Once again, the pattern that has been emerging from the practice sessions saw the sister Porsche around four tenths off the class leader, but in a tight battle with the AF Corse Ferraris.

Separating out the #92, the rest of the GTE Pro class, including the sole Corvette Racing, were covered by under two tenths of a second. Money may be on the #92 to take class pole, but the rest of the category could easily be in any order.

Porsche were strong again in GTE Am, repeating their free practice two results of Team Project 1 #46 leading the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing for a class one-two. Aston Martin outshone the Ferrari entries with the #33 TF Sport claiming third. The fastest Ferrari-running Am sat sixth in class, the #21 AF Corse, 1.3s off the class leader.

Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa begins at 17:20 BST with the GTE cars taking to the track for 15 minutes, followed by the LMP/Hypercars at 17:40.

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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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