There was a total Toyota dominance in FP3 at Spa Francorchamps this morning.
The number 8 car was the fastest followed by #7 and #9. Number 8 and #7 were in fact only separated by 0,005 second from each other! Porsche #1 and #2 were 4th and 5th fastest, but with more than a second off the Toyota pace. ByKolles Racing Team #4 continues to cut off more and more time, and they are getting closer to the front of the LMP2 field. But if they don’t get a wiggle on, we will see the same problem that a lot of LMP2 drivers complained about, where they cut up the LMP2 field into two halves over the first stint. The ByKolles car is incredibly fast on the straights – 320,6 kph this morning, while the corner speed are where they lose – and that is where the LMP2 cars have their strong points.
G-Drive Racing #26 was fastest in LMP2, closely followed by Vaillante Rebellion #13. Then there was a bit time gap to Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 in third, which could lead the thoughts towards either new tires or low fuel – or perhaps a combination of both. The gap is more than one and a half seconds. Newcommer Tockwith Motorsports is slowly but surely climbing up the LMP2 ranks. The lone Ligier JSP217 against all the other ORECA 07 was 9th fastest. But it’s a nice sight with a significantly different looking LMP2 car, so we can only look forward to Le Mans, where Dallara and Riley will also be present.
AF Corse had (perhaps based on our suggestion yesterday) done some changes to the cars, and instead of being 5th and 6th fastest like yesterday, they were 1-2 in this practice, with #51 ahead of #71. Then followed by Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 and #66. AMR #95 was by far the slowest in the GTE Pro category, but looking at the laptimes which were at first constantly 2:18 and later on 2:21, it could indicate some fine tuning of the race set-up rather than ultimate pace. Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in Porsche #92 were back on the track again. In a quick talk with Michael this morning, he told Racing24-7.net that it was primarily right rear suspension and various bodywork that needed to be changed, and nothing serious, after their heavy shunt yesterday. They did the 7th fastest time, only two tenths off their teammates in the #91.
Dempsey-Proton Competition #77 was fastest in GTE Am, ahead of Aston Martin Racing #98 and Clearwater Racing #61. The latter had near car to car experience with Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 driven by Thomas Laurent, when the two cars collided and spread some debris, that needed a short Full Course Yellow for it to be cleaned up again.
The teams are now preparing the cars for qualifying, which will start at 14.50 CET for the GTE cars and 15.25 CET for the LMP cars.