SMP Racing finished one-two in the first free practice session for the 2019 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps as the weekend got off to a surprising start. Toyota were third and fourth fastest. In GTE Pro, Aston Martin and Ford posted the fastest lap times of the session.
SMP Racing finished top of the timesheets in the 2018/19 Super Season for the first time, with Russian driver Sergey Sirotkin lapping the 7km circuit in just 1:56.246.
Sirotkin’s lap time was exactly the same as the fastest privateer lap time recorded throughout free practice and qualifying at Spa last year, suggesting that the non-works teams have made some solid progress over the past twelve months. WEC newcomer Stoffel Vandoorne was second-fastest with a time of 1:58.236.
The quickest Toyota lap time came from Sébastien Buemi with a 1:58.742. Rebellion Racing spent the session setting up their new aero kit and only managed to finish fifth and sixth fastest in FP1.
Aston Martin and Ford head-to-head in GTE Pro
Harry Tincknell and Maxime Martin recorded exactly the same time to finish joint-fastest in GTE Pro, a 2:15.290. Third-fastest was the BMW of Antonio Felix da Costa, whose fastest lap time was less than two tenths slower at 2:15.406. Porsche and Ferrari were somewhat distant in FP1, posting times around a second slower than the Aston Martins, Fords and BMWs.
Signatech Alpine and Porsche top other classes
Signatech Alpine Matmut dominated FP1 in the LMP2 class. Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre lapped the Spa circuit in 2:03.441, just 0.2 seconds faster than the Aurus 01 – Gibson of G-Drive Racing.
Ben Barker was the quickest driver in GTE Am for the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR, finishing FP1 just 0.07 seconds quicker than Giancarlo Fisichella in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488.
Images © WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff / Ton Kerdijk)