Le Mans test day 2019 – afternoon

The second half of the test day prior to the 24 hours race at Le Mans was run on a scorching hot Circuit de la Sarthe, where the practice started with an official air temperature of 29.9 degrees.

There was excitement already from the start of the session, when Alex Brundle in United Autosports #32 set the fastest LMP2 time, but it got beaten by Loic Duval in TDS Racing #28 only a few minutes later. It then changed back and forth be tween the two.

Olivier Pla in Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66 set a new best time in GTE Pro, while Kamui Kobayashi put a new fastest lap in #7.

Harry Tincknell had a lot of frustration to get out of his system after the disappointment yesterday in Detroit, and he did just that when he set a fantastic best time in the GTE Pro class, with Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67.

Jordan King had some problems in Jackie Chan DC Racing #37, when he parked the car in the gravel in the Indianapolis Corner. It was the second time today that the Englishman couldn’t get the car back to the pit without help. He then got pulled free and drove back to the pits slowly.

At the same time Oliver Jarvis stopped in Risi Competizione Ferrari #89 in the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight.

The race director used the situation to test the Safety Car system, so they knew it would work in the race.

Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 & G-Drive Racing #26
Photo: JJ Media

Aston Martin Racing #95 still hadn’t been on the track, since the electrical problems this morning were so complicated, that the mechanics couldn’t solve them right away.

King did a quick visit to the pits, before being sent back to the track. It was important for him to get some laps in the car before his teammates David Heinemeier Hansson and Ricky Taylor would take over.

It took about 20 minutes for the session to be green all the way around the track again, quickly followed by Fernando Alonso in Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 to set a new fastest time, with the first 3:20 of the day.

After the first hour, DragonSpeed #31 with Anthony Davidson was the quickest LMP2 car, so the battle for P1 continued.

Giancarlo Fisichella in Spirit of Race Ferrari #54 was also fast and improved his teammate’s already good laptime from the morning session.

There was a brief Full Course Yellow, when a track marker fell on the track. But it was solved quickly.

Ricky Taylor jumped into Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 with three hours left of the practice.

Corvette Racing #63
Photo: JJ Media

Mathias Beche finally got High Class Racing #20 higher up on the table in LMP2, when he drove the twelfth fastest time in the class.

Bykolles Racing Team #4 stopped on the track, which was their first problem of the day.

One and a half time into the session, there was a Slow Zone when Olivier Pla in Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66 stopped out on the Mulsanne Straight.

Aston Martin Racing #95 finally got some life in the car again, so Nicki Thiim could get in the car with two hours left.

Thiim slowly but surely reduced the gaps up to the other GTE Pro cars.

Halfway into the training, it looked like the teams sped up again. Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 with Nicolas Lapierre set a new fastest time in the LMP2 class, while Rebellion Racing #3 came up to third place amongst the LMP1 cars.

Oliver Jarvis finally came back to the track, after the car being transported back to the pits and the mechanics got it ready again.

ARC Bratislava #49 with Konstantin Tereschenko stopped in the gravel around the Dunlop bridge, after two hours of practice. It resulted in a Full Course Yellow, until he got pulled free from there.

SMP Racing #11
Photo: JJ Media

Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA #69 also moved up closer to the front of the field, when Richard Westbrook set a time that was marginally slower than Pla’s.

Sebastien Buemi in Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 improved the time at the front of LMP1 yet again, and was now close to 3:19, but he still needed a few hundredth.

With 80 minutes left, both Toni Vilander in WeatherTech Racing Ferrari #62 in GTE Am and Stephane Richelmi in Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 in LMP2 the best times in their respective classes.

At the same time Michelle Gatting went under four minutes in Kessel Racing Ferrari #83.

Algarve Pro Racing #25 with Andrea Pizzitola did a very slow lap to get back to the pits, but he managed to get it back in one piece.

Christian Ried in Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 stalled in the middle of the Mulsanne Straight, but he got pushed back under a local yellow flag.

Corvette Racing #63 set a new best time in GTE Pro, with Mike Rockenfeller behind the wheel.

With an hour and ten minutes left, Michael Christensen finally got into Porsche #92, after Kevin Estre had the car for the entire afternoon session so far.

63 minutes before the end of the practice, there was Safety Car due to a problem in the Porsche Curves. It became clear after a few minutes, that it was High Class Racing #20 with Dennis Andersen, that went off the track and damaged the front of the car. He could drive the car back to the pits, but the mechanics had to repair it right away.

Michael Christensen only did five laps before jumping out of the car again, and let Kevin Estre drive more laps.

Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 had gotten their car delivered back to the garage, so they could send Julien Andlauer out on the track with 45 minutes left.

Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77
Photo: JJ Media

Tracy Krohn in Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #99 stalled on the Mulsanne Straight with a puncture on the right rear tire, which caused a local yellow.

Luckily, it was a quick repair of High Class Racing #20, as Anders Fjordbach got sent to the track for the last half hour.

Sebastien Buemi finally set the first 3:19 of the day in Toyota Gazoo Racing #8, with a chance of even better laptimes.

Tommy Milner was close to make it a Corvette 1-2, when he drove #64 up to third place – just 0,035 behind the sister car – with Ford #67 between them.

Tristan Gommendy in Graff #39 was so close to drive the fastest time in LMP2, but it only put him in P3.

There was a Slow Zone fifteen minutes before the end of the session, when ARC Bratislava #49 went still around Mulsanne Corner. It was quickly solved so the whole track was greenflagged again.

Andre Lotterer in Rebellion Racing #1 was on a flying lap, which brought the car up to third position, but still 1,8 seconds from Toyota Gazoo Racing.

Ben Hanley in DragonSpeed #10 stalled on the track but was quickly pushed behind the barrier, so it was green flag again.

Ho-Pin Tung improved the time in Jackie Chan DC Racing #38, so they pulled away a bit more from the followers in the class. It was an altimate flying lap, since all three sector times were the best ones in the LMP2 category.

Rebellion Racing #1
Photo: JJ Media

After eight hours of practice, Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was the fastest in LMP1 in front of their sister car #7, while Rebellion Racing #3 was the fastest non-hybrid car, ahead of SMP Racing #11, Rebellion Racing #3, SMP Racing #17, DragonSpeed #10 and Bykolles Racing Team #4.

Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 was the quickest in LMP2, followed by DragonSpeed #31, Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 and Graff #39.

David Heinemeier Hansson, Ricky Taylor og Jordan King was P12 in LMP2, while High Class Racing #20 was 17th fastest in the same class.

Corvette Racing #63 with Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia and Mike Rockenfeller finished as the fastest GTE Pro car, in front of Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67, Corvette Racing #64, AF Corse Ferrari #71 and Porsche #93.

Michael Christensen, Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre was P13 in the GTE Pro class – right before foran Aston Martin Racing #95 with Marco Sørensen, Nicki Thiim and Darren Turner.

WeatherTech Racing Ferrari #62 was the fastest GTE Am car, ahead of Clearwater Racing Ferrari #61, Spirit of Race Ferrari #54, Car Guy Ferrari #57, Kessel Racing Ferrari #60, before Gulf Racing #86 as the best Porsche in P6.

Kessel Racing Ferrari #83 with Manuela Gostner, Rahel Frey and Michelle Gatting was ninth fastest in GTE Am.

By the way, it was also the first time in many years at the cars officially drove faster than 350 kph on the Mulsanne Straight. It was Stoffel Vandoorne on board in SMP Racing #11 who drove 350,1 kph in the morning session, while his teammate Stephane Sarrazin reached 349 kph in the second BR1 Engineering car from the team.

Now all the teams can get the cars thoroughly checked to get them ready for the unofficial test days on Tuesday and Wednesday in the upcoming week, on the short Bugatti track, before the scrutineering in the middle of Le Mans town next Sunday and Monday. And then the official practices from 12 June 2019.

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