Toyota finishes stop-start afternoon at the top

Toyota finishes a stop-start afternoon at the top.

Red flag and several slow-zones didn’t make it easy for the teams to get a long endurance run.

Kamui Kobayashi was fastest of all in the Toyota Gazoo Racing #7, followed by Toyota #8 and Toyota #9. Kobayashi put down a fantastic time of 3:18,132 which surprised many.

Porsche #2 was fourth quickest ahead of their sister car #1, but they still lacked 3,5 seconds to the leading Toyota. The mechanics on Porsche #2 were busy between the morning and afternoon sessions, when they had to change the engine on the 919 Hybrid car.

ByKolles Racing Team #4 found some more speed in the afternoon session, and improved their times with three seconds. So now it’s just a bit over 10 seconds up to the fastest  – and only one LMP2 car was quicker than ByKolles.

It was Signatech Alpine Matmut #35 that improved this morning’s already good time, and put down a 3:28,146 – a lap time that LMP1 teams 10 years ago would have been proud of. CEFC Manor TRS Racing #24 was the second fastest while Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 was third. Racing For Nederland #29 was unlucky to not only have one but two off track moments. The first moment was a trip through the gravel, that needed a tow to get out again, while the second one was a collision with a barrier, which damaged the rear of the car, so they couldn’t participate any further in the practice.

CEFC Manor TRS Racing #25 finished the practice with an oil spill, which send out the red flag 10 minutes before the planned finish of the 8 hours of running.

Signatech Alpine Matmut #35
Photo: JJ Media

Corvette Racing #64 was the quickest in the GTE Pro category, but it wasn’t a day without troubles for them. They had to change the engine in the middle of the afternoon, but that only took one and a half hours, which was really impressive. Porsche #91 was second fastest, followed by the other Porsche #92. Corvette Racing #63 was fourth, ahead of the Aston Martin Racing #95 and #97, before we saw the first Ferrari #71 in seventh. There was only 0,7 of a second between the top 7 cars in GTE Pro, so that end of the field and between those four brands, it appears to be close with the BOP.

Something that raised more than one eyebrow was Ford. Throughout the whole day they were significant slower than all the other brands. The weird thing was, for a long time, we had three of the four Ford cars within 0,050 of a second within each other. However, the four cars with the blue oval logo at the front finished 0,5 of a second between each other – but almost three seconds behind the fastest Corvette. Ford was hit by a BOP change ahead of this test day – but nothing that should give laptimes a full 7 seconds slower than last year! The other teams were around three seconds slower than their 2016 pace today.

Aston Martin Racing #98
Photo: JJ Media

The GTE Am category saw Aston Martin Racing #98 on top of the charts, followed by Larbre Competition #50 and Dempsey-Proton Racing #77 in third.

Now there’s only one week until the next official point on the programme for the teams – the scrutineering in city centre. The next time we see the cars on the track is on Wednesday, June 14th in the afternoon.

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