Toyota fastest at Spa

The #7 Toy­ota Gazoo Rac­ing TS050 topped the time sheets in both of the first two free prac­tice ses­sions for Saturday’s 6 Hours of Spa-Fran­cor­champs. Mike Con­way was the fastest man in FP1, while Kamui Kobyashi post­ed the fastest lap in the sec­ond 90-minute ses­sion.

Toy­ota trav­elled to Bel­gium with both its high- and low-down­force pack­ages, run­ning the stan­dard high-down­force aero on the #7 and #8 machines but the low-drag Le Mans body­work on the #9 car, which is only set to race this week­end at Spa-Fran­cor­champs and at Le Mans in June.

Toyota’s strong pace was matched by the pair of fac­to­ry Porsche LMP1s, with Bren­don Hart­ley only 0.036 sec­onds down on Conway’s quick­est time of 1:57.940 in FP1. Both Porsche 919 Hybrids are also run­ning in low-down­force spec in the Ardennes this week­end.

In LMP2, Jean-Eric Vergne post­ed the quick­est time of the day in FP2 for CEFC Manor TRS Rac­ing, a 2:02.662. Vitali Petrov in the sis­ter car was the sec­ond fastest of the day’s three hours of run­ning, but trailed his team­mate by just under half a sec­ond. In fact, Vergne’s time was over a sec­ond quick­er than Manor’s clos­est com­peti­tors, Sig­nat­e­ch-Alpine, with Gus­ta­vo Menezes set­ting his fastest lap of 2:03.722 sec­onds in the sec­ond ses­sion.

In GTE Pro, Mar­co Sørensen was the fastest man in the field, post­ing the quick­est lap of 2:16.458 in FP2. French­man Kévin Estre was sec­ond quick­est, but he caused the sec­ond ses­sion to be red-flagged after a shunt at the end of the Kem­mel Straight. Andy Priaulx’s fastest time from free prac­tice 1, a 2:16.802, was good enough for third on the time sheets for the #67 Ford Chip Ganas­si Rac­ing Team UK.

Miguel Moli­na, whose inci­dent on the final lap of the last month’s 6 Hours of Sil­ver­stone arguably cost his #54 Spir­it of Race Fer­rari 488 team a podi­um fin­ish, went quick­est in GTE Am with a 2:17.806 lap in FP2. How­ev­er, the #98 Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing car of was just one tenth behind, with the #77 Dempsey-Pro­ton Porsche round­ing out the top three over­all on day one.

Images © WEC-Mag­a­zin / Wal­ter Schruff