The #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 finish fastest in an eventful Free Practice session for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. The #92 Porsche 911 RSR was fastest in GTE Pro in FP, while the #48 Idec Sport Oreca and the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche were quickest in LMP2 and GTE Am.
The majority of the four-hour session was weather-affected, with the track too green for quick times at the start and rain then descending on the circuit midway through. The #1 Rebellion Racing car had produced the quickest time of the session in the early stages, before a flyer by Stoffel Vandoorne in the #11 SMP Racing machine put the Russian-entered team top.
However, with just a handful of minutes left in the session and bright sunshine having replaced the thick dark clouds, Kamui Kobayashi switched his Toyota TS050 into qualifying mode and recorded the fastest time set at the Circuit de la Sarthe seen so far in 2019, a 3:18.091
The second Toyota finished the session in fourth position behind SMP Racing and Rebellion Racing after being unable to find space for a clear lap while the track was at its best.
Numerous cars off the track
The session was interrupted on multiple occasions by yellow flag periods or full-course yellows as drivers pushing the limits of their cars. There were numerous spins and offs throughout the four hours, including for Kobayashi in the #7 when he outbraked himself at Mulsanne Corner.
The most-serious incident befell Tracey Krohn in the #99 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR. Unseen by the cameras, Krohn made contact with the barriers on the Mulsanne Straight and caused a one-hour stoppage for barrier repairs. The American was taken to a local hospital for a check-up after complaining of back pain.
The teams will return for the first of three qualifying sessions due to start at 10pm.
Click here for a full list of Free Practice times.
Images © WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff / Ton Kerdijk)