Le Mans test day – afternoon

The afternoon session started under slightly overcast skies, with a potential of rain later in the day.

So the teams were quick to get onto the track. Fernando Alonso improved on his own best time in the Toyota Gazoo Racing #8, and got closer to under 3:20.

Spirit of Race Ferrari #54 went fastest in the GTE Am, but now far ahead of Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61 and Dempsey-Proton Racing #77.

There were some team that didn’t get to run the afternoon session. The Aston Martin Racing #95 was so heavily damaged after the accident this morning, that they called it a day. Aston Martin Racing gave up on repairing the #98, which had a broken engine.

DragonSpeed #10 finally managed to do some laps, and with Renger van der Zande behind the wheel, it slowly climbed up the standings.

We had the first yellow flag, turning into a red flag, after only 20 minutes of running. That was due to race control not being able to radio communicate with all the marshals around the track. That needed to be sorted out before the session was resumed. So all cars had to return to the pits at heavily reduced speed..

We went green again after about 10 minutes.

DragonSpeed #31
Photo: JJ Media

The mechanics on the Ebimotors Porshce #80 were busy removing the engine and gearbox from the car, since they had some sort of technical issues.

Kamui Kobayashi in the Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 took the fastest lap of the day so far, but still being slightly over 3.20.

G-Drive Racing #40 jumped into P1 in LMP2, ahead of G-Drive Racing #26. #40 is run by the Graff team, whereas #26 is run by TDS Racing.

After an hour of running in the afternoon session, we saw Alonso in the #8 topping the time sheets again, almost dipping into the 3:18’s.

Porsche #92 broke the Ford domination, when Kevin Estre took the car into third in GTE Pro.

JMW Motorsport Ferrari #84 had woken up and went into P2 behind Ferrari colleagues Spirit of Race #54.

Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 went fastest in LMP2, when Nicolas Lapierre was the first LMP 2 car under 3:30.

SMP Racing #17 made it into P4 in LMP1 after 90 minutes of running – right between the two Rebellion Racing cars.

Jean-Eric Vergne took the G-Drive Racing #26 back to the top stop in LMP2.

Rebellion Racing #3 once again showed how good their car is, when Mathias Beche did the second fastest lap of everybody – only 0,6 of a second behind the Toyota time by Alonso.

The Safety Car made it onto the track, with just under three hours left on the clock, when BMW Team MTEK #82 was parked in the Porsche Curves gravel.

The field was released but after only a few minutes, SC was out again due to Cetilar Villorba Corse #47 stopping on the track.

We got into a whole bunch of SC periods, when another one showed up due to the AF Corse #51 stopping at Tertre Rouge. Alessandro Pier Guidi had just one the fastest first sector, and then hit the Armco only a few metres later.

Dempsey-Proton Racing #77
Photo: JJ Media

After almost 30 minutes of running behind the Safety Car, the track went green again.

With 90 minutes of running to do, we saw Nathanael Berthon topping the LMP2 standings with DragonSpeed #31. Some sort of happy-hour was starting to appear, since IDEC Sport #48 with Paul Loup Chatin cut another second off, only a few minutes later.

United Autosports #22 with Filipe Albuerquerque behind the wheel made its way into the top 5 in the LMP2 category, while the sister car #32 with Juan Pablo Montoya was in the midfield.

DragonSpeed #31 bounced back and grabbed the fastest time again.

In the LMP1 category, we finally had top 8 in the overall top 8. DragonSpeed #10 had only managed very few laps after building a brand new car after the Spa Francorchamps accident. So there were a few technical niggles to start with, but Renger van der Zande made it into 8th in class, about three seconds behind ByKolles in P7.

Gianmaria Bruni in the Porsche #91 took the fastest time in the GTE Pro, while was the first time for hours, that Ford had to let P1 go.

Mike Wainwright in the Gulf Racing UK Porsche #86 had to be towed out of the gravel, after having parked the beautiful 911 in the gravel.

Just as there was some faster times starting to appear on the horizon, we got a yellow flag once again. That was Christina Nielsen who had stopped in the Ebimotors Porsche #80.

On top of that, MR Racing Ferrari #70 also came to a stop. But we went green for the final 6 minutes.

Julien Andlauer in the Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 went fastest of all in the GTE Am. Andre Lotterer P4 in the Rebellion Racing #1 about the same time.

Patrick Pilet in the Porsche #93 took first position in the GTE Pro with 4 minutes to go.

The final three minutes of the test was abandoned due to a red flag. Pastor Maldonado in the DragonSpeed #31 LMP2 car had stopped on circuit, and resulted in the red flag.

So Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was fastest in LMP1, DragonSpeed #31 fastest in LMP2, Porsche #93 in GTE Pro and Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 in GTE Am.

We will come with a more detailed analysis of the times in the coming days.

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