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WEC Prologue: Toyota maintains slim lead over Rebellion

WEC Prologue: Toyota maintains slim lead over Rebellion

Toyota concluded the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test at Barcelona fastest, but with only a slender advantage over top LMP1 privateer squad Rebellion.

Only 14 of the 30 cars entered took part in the final four-hour session of the two-day test, with many teams opting to call time on their running early - some in order to travel to the Spa 24 Hours ready for the first day of on-track action for the Belgian classic on Thursday.

All six LMP1 cars hit the track and improved on their previous times with Toyota's pair of TS050 Hybrids again locking out the top two positions.

Jose Maria Lopez set the pace in the #7 car with a 1m29.141s in the opening hour, an improvement of almost half a second on his Wednesday morning time, while Kazuki Nakajima set the best time in the #8 Toyota, a 1m29.187s, in the second hour.

The quickest of the two Gibson-powered R-13s, the #1 car, ended up only 0.267s off the pace in the hands of Gustavo Menezes, lowering the Swiss squad's best time of the week by six tenths.

Bruno Senna likewise dipped below the 90-second barrier in the #3 Rebellion, but found himself beaten by the best of the Ginetta G60-LT-P1s in the dying stages.

Both of the Team LNT-run cars made improvements in the closing minutes, Formula 2 racer Luca Ghiotto setting a time only 0.556s off the pace in the #6 machine to leapfrog the second Rebellion for fourth.

Charlie Robertson's effort in the sixth-placed #5 Ginetta was just over a second off the pace.

SMP Racing driver Egor Orudzhev finally got his first running of the week in this session, driving both Ginettas, but suffering an early spin at the chicane early on.

Only five of the eight LMP2 cars took part in the test, the fastest of which was the TDS-run Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 thanks to a late effort of 1m31.659s by Nyck de Vries.

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RTN has confirmed it will race Michelin tyres this season after spending time testing both the French rubber and rival brand Goodyear this week.

Paul di Resta put the United Autosports Oreca second-fastest ahead of the Signatech Alpine Oreca of Andre Negrao, giving Michelin a top-three lockout.

Both Jota Sport-run Orecas and the Cool Racing Oreca sat out the final session, as did the entire contingent of five GTE Pro cars.

Just three of the 11 GTE Am cars appeared, with Thomas Preining setting the fastest time in class of 1m44.523s early on in the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.

LMP1 test results:

Pos. # Car/Engine Drivers Day 1 Day 2
1 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid

 Mike Conway

Japan Kamui Kobayashi

 Jose Maria Lopez

 Thomas Laurent

1m29.991s 1m29.141s
2 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid

 Sebastien Buemi

Japan Kazuki Nakajima

New Zealand Brendon Hartley

 Thomas Laurent

1m30.114s 1m29.187s
3 1 Rebellion R-13-Gibson

 Felipe Nasr

 Norman Nato

United States Gustavo Menezes

 Bruno Senna

 Nathanel Berthon

1m31.401s 1m29.408s
4 6 Ginetta G60-LT-P1-AER

 Mike Simpson

 Stephane Sarrazin

 Guy Smith

 Luca Ghiotto

 Egor Orudzhev

1m31.831s 1m29.697s
5 3 Rebellion R-13-Gibson

United States Gustavo Menezes

 Bruno Senna

 Nathanael Berthon

1m31.073s 1m29.807s
6 5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1-AER

 Charlie Robertson

 Mathias Beche

Monaco Stephane Richelmi

 Egor Orudzhev

1m31.828s 1m30.239s

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Series WEC
Event Prologue
Author Jamie Klein