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Sebring WEC: Toyota under lap record again in FP1

Sebring WEC: Toyota under lap record again in FP1

Kazuki Nakajima went fastest right at the end of opening free practice for this week's Sebring FIA World Endurance Championship as Toyota dominated the times. 

The Japanese driver posted a 1m41.957s with only a couple of minutes left on the clock of the 90-minute session aboard the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid to better the 1m42.506s set by Jose Maria Lopez in the sister #7 car early on. 

That was slower than the best time set by Mike Conway in pre-event testing last weekend but still comfortably faster than Marcel Fassler's Sebring 12 Hours qualifying record from 2013.

Lopez and Sebastien Buemi did the lion's share of the running in the two Toyotas after missing last weekend's test because they were on Formula E duty in Hong Kong. 

The two Rebellion R-13s ended up third and fourth in the times. 

Gustavo Menezes initially led the chase of the Toyotas with a 1m43.664s in the team's #3 entry, before Andre Lotterer's replacement in the #1, Mathias Beche, bettered it with a 1m43.552s with 20 minutes remaining. 

SMP Racing took fifth and sixth in the times with its pair of BR Engineering BR1s, team newcomer Brendon Hartley leading the way with a 1m43.483s.

Racing Team Nederland's Dallara P217 was quickest in LMP2 courtesy of a 1m47.835s from Nyck de Vries. 

The lap put him half a second up on Andre Negrao's 1m48.346s time in the Signatech Alpine Oreca 07 - giving Michelin a one-two after Signatech's winter switch from Dunlop tyres.

Matthieu Vaxiviere was third fastest in the TDS Racing Oreca on Dunlops with a 1m48.786s. 

Maxime Martin set the pace for Aston Martin in the GTE Pro class. 

The Belgian posted a 1m58.044s in his Aston Martin Vantage GTE to go faster than Harry Tincknell's 1m58.356s set aboard the best of the Ganassi Ford GTs early in the session. 

The two factory Porsche 911 RSRs ended up third and fourth fastest in the hands of Richard Lietz and Kevin Estre respectively. 

Lietz's 1m58.577s was less than two hundredths quicker than Estre managed in the sister car.

Marco Sorensen took fifth in the second Aston ahead of Ford's Stefan Mucke and the two MTEK-run BMW M8 GTEs. 

Pedro Lamy was fastest in GTE Am for Aston Martin with a time just nine thousandths quicker than Dempsey-Proton Porsche driver Matteo Cairoli. 

The Project 1 GTE Am team took delivery this morning of a new Porsche 911 RSR to replace the car seriously damaged by fire in the test, but did not take to the track in FP1. 

A red flag was thrown with a little over half an hour remaining, ostensibly for a crash involving Dempsey-Proton driver Gianluca Roda.

However, it turned out Roda had not crashed but had requested medical assistance from the car after an off-track moment, leading race control to stop the session unnecessarily.

Practice times:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 8 Spain Fernando Alonso 
Japan Kazuki Nakajima 
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'41.957  
2 7 Japan Kamui Kobayashi 
United Kingdom Mike Conway 
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'42.506 0.549
3 1 Brazil Bruno Senna 
Switzerland Neel Jani 
Switzerland Mathias Beche 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'43.552 1.595
4 3 France Nathanael Berthon 
France Thomas Laurent 
United States Gustavo Menezes 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'43.664 1.707
5 11 Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov 
New Zealand Brendon Hartley 
Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'43.843 1.886
6 17 Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin 
France Stéphane Sarrazin 
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'44.300 2.343
7 10 Sweden Henrik Hedman 
Netherlands Renger van der Zande 
United Kingdom Ben Hanley 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'45.965 4.008
8 29 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde 
Netherlands Nyck de Vries 
Netherlands Frits van Eerd 
Dallara P217 LMP2 1'47.835 5.878
9 36 France Nicolas Lapierre 
France Pierre Thiriet 
Brazil Andre Negrao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 1'48.346 6.389
10 28 France Loic Duval 
France François Perrodo 
France Matthieu Vaxiviere 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'48.786 6.829
11 37 United Kingdom Will Stevens 
Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson 
United Kingdom Jordan King 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.374 7.417
12 38 China Ho-Pin Tung 
Monaco Stéphane Richelmi 
France Gabriel Aubry 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.506 7.549
13 31 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson 
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado 
Mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'49.625 7.668
14 50 United States Gunnar Jeannette 
France Romano Ricci 
France Erwin Creed 
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1'51.844 9.887
15 97 Belgium Maxime Martin 
United Kingdom Alex Lynn 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'58.044 16.087
16 67 United Kingdom Harry Tincknell 
United States Jonathan Bomarito 
Guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'58.356 16.399
17 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni 
Austria Richard Lietz 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'58.577 16.620
18 92 Denmark Michael Christensen 
France Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'58.594 16.637
19 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen 
Denmark Nicki Thiim 
United Kingdom Darren Turner 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'58.631 16.674
20 66 Germany Stefan Mücke 
France Olivier Pla 
United States Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'58.682 16.725
21 82 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa 
Canada Bruno Spengler 
Brazil Augusto Farfus 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'58.757 16.800
22 81 Netherlands Nick Catsburg 
Germany Martin Tomczyk 
United Kingdom Alexander Sims 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'58.823 16.866
23 51 United Kingdom James Calado 
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Brazil Daniel Serra 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'58.823 16.866
24 63 Denmark Jan Magnussen 
Spain Antonio Garcia 
Germany Mike Rockenfeller 
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 1'58.937 16.980
25 71 United Kingdom Sam Bird 
Italy Davide Rigon 
Spain Miguel Molina 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'59.448 17.491
26 98 Portugal Pedro Lamy 
Canada Paul Dalla Lana 
Austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'00.043 18.086
27 88 Italy Gianluca Roda 
Italy Matteo Cairoli 
Italy Giorgio Roda 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.052 18.095
28 77 Germany Christian Ried 
Matthew Campbell 
Julien Andlauer 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.079 18.122
29 61 Ireland Matthew Griffin 
Italy Matteo Cressoni 
Luis Perez Companc
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.082 18.125
30 90 United Kingdom Jonathan Adam 
Turkey Salih Yoluc 
Ireland Charles Eastwood 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'00.088 18.131
31 54 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 
Italy Francesco Castellacci 
Switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.256 18.299
32 70 Monaco Olivier Beretta 
Italy Eddie Cheever III 
Japan Motoaki Ishikawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'00.314 18.357
33 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright 
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker 
Germany Thomas Preining 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'00.702 18.745
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About this article

Series WEC
Event Sebring
Author Gary Watkins