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Le Mans 24h: Toyota leads SMP in disrupted practice

Le Mans 24h: Toyota leads SMP in disrupted practice
Co-author: Jamie Klein
Jun 12, 2019, 6:05 PM

Kamui Kobayashi put Toyota on top of the times in a rain-hit, red-flagged opening practice session for the Le Mans 24 Hours, 1.8 seconds ahead of the best of the SMP Racing LMP1s.

Kobayashi hit the front with less than two minutes of the four-hour session remaining, clocking a 3m18.091s aboard the TS050 Hybrid he shares with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez to deny the #11 SMP crew top spot.

Stoffel Vandoorne had put SMP's #11 BR Engineering BR1 top with 20 minutes remaining, but his time ended up 1.840 seconds shy of Kobayashi's on a rapidly drying track.

Ex-McLaren Formula 1 driver Vandoorne's 3m19.931s time was a mere 0.029s faster than that set by Gustavo Menezes, whose 3m19.960s lap in the Rebellion R-13 he shares with Thomas Laurent and Nathanael Berthon had stood as the benchmark for much of the session.

Menezes posted that effort moments before a red flag was shown when GTE Am driver Tracy Krohn crashed the #99 Porsche 911 RSR an hour and 40 minutes into the session.

Krohn had a hefty shunt on the run between the second chicane and Mulsanne corner, leaving a significant amount of debris across the track - delaying running by around 45 minutes.

An update from the FIA World Endurance Championship via Twitter said Krohn had been taken to hospital for precautionary checks but that he was "conscious and in good spirits".

The length of the delay allowed a heavy rain shower to hit the circuit before the session restarted, but in the final hour the sun broke through the clouds and helped dry the track.

The second Toyota ended the session fourth thanks to a 3m20.941s lap set by Fernando Alonso, who was the first driver from the #8 car's line-up to take to the track.

Kazuki Nakajima looked on course to improve on that time with his final lap, but his effort was thwarted by a yellow flag being shown in the final sector caused by Erwin Creed's spinning #50 Larbre Competition Ligier.

The #1 Rebellion was fifth with Andre Lotterer at the wheel, 3.166s off the pace, ahead of the #17 SMP car of Sergey Sirotkin.

DragonSpeed's Gibson-powered BR1 and the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01 brought up the rear of the LMP1 order, lapping 6.355s and 9.752s off the pace respectively.

LMP2: IDEC Sport sets the early pace

LMP2 was topped by the IDEC Sport Oreca of Paul-Loup Chatin, who set the fastest time in class - a 3m28.363s - late on, beating the DragonSpeed Oreca of Pastor Maldonado.

#48 IDEC Sport Oreca 07 Gibson: Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin, Memo Rojas, Patrice Lafargue

#48 IDEC Sport Oreca 07 Gibson: Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin, Memo Rojas, Patrice Lafargue

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Jonathan Hirschi had been the first driver to break under the 3m30 bracket in the #39 Graff Oreca, but as track conditions improved, his time was beaten by both Maldonado and the #26 G-Drive Racing Aurus-branded Oreca of Jean-Eric Vergne, who ended up third.

Pierre Thiriet was another late mover in the #36 Signatech Alpine Oreca, bumping Nyck de Vries in the best non-Oreca – the #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara – down to sixth in class.

The best-placed Ligier ended the session in seventh, as Filipe Albuquerque moved the #22 United Autosports car up the order in the dying moments after a spell in the garage having an engine oil pump replaced. 

GTE: Porsche takes 1-2

Porsche took a 1-2 in the GTE Pro division, with Michael Christensen's early lap of 3m52.149s in the #92 911 RSR surviving a late flurry of improvements to stand as the top time.

Mathieu Jaminet made a late jump up the order in the #94 Porsche, 0.315s off the pace of Christensen, while Sam Bird was third-fastest in the best of the Ferrari 488 GTEs, the #71 machine.

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

#92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR: Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre, Laurens Vanthoor

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Stefan Mucke was the quickest of the Fords in fourth, having briefly gone second in the black-and-white retro-liveried #66 GT, ahead of James Calado in the second of the factory AF Corse-run Ferraris and Augusto Farfus in the top BMW M8 GTE.

The late improvements shuffled down the #67 Ford, which had been second at the red flag, all the way down to seventh, ahead of the remaining two Porsches and the top Corvette C7.R.

Aston Martin’s top Vantage GTE was 11th and 1.653s off the pace in Alex Lynn’s hands.

In GTE Am, the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche of Julien Andlauer led the way on a 3m55.304s.

That was enough to beat the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Giancarlo Fisichella by 0.382s, while Pedro Lamy was only another 0.028s behind in the #98 Aston Martin.

Additional reporting by James Newbold

Practice results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 3'18.091  
2 11 Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov
Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin
Belgium Stoffel Vandoorne
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 3'19.931 1.840
3 3 France Thomas Laurent
France Nathanael Berthon
United States Gustavo Menezes
Rebellion R13 LMP1 3'19.960 1.869
4 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Spain Fernando Alonso
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 3'20.941 2.850
5 1 Switzerland Neel Jani
Germany Andre Lotterer
Brazil Bruno Senna
Rebellion R13 LMP1 3'21.257 3.166
6 17 France Stéphane Sarrazin
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev
Russian Federation Sergey Sirotkin
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 3'22.431 4.340
7 10 Sweden Henrik Hedman
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
Netherlands Renger van der Zande
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 3'24.446 6.355
8 4 France Tom Dillmann
United Kingdom Oliver Webb
Italy Paolo Ruberti
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 3'27.843 9.752
9 48 France Paul Lafargue
France Paul-Loup Chatin
Mexico Memo Rojas
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'28.363 10.272
10 31 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado
United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'28.730 10.639
11 26 Russian Federation Roman Rusinov
Netherlands Job Van Uitert
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Aurus 01 LMP2 3'28.893 10.802
12 39 France Tristan Gommendy
France Vincent Capillaire
Switzerland Jonathan Hirschi
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'28.959 10.868
13 36 France Nicolas Lapierre
Brazil Andre Negrao
France Pierre Thiriet
Alpine A470 LMP2 3'29.978 11.887
14 29 Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Dallara P217 LMP2 3'30.611 12.520
15 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 3'30.862 12.771
16 38 China Ho-Pin Tung
Monaco Stéphane Richelmi
France Gabriel Aubry
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'30.893 12.802
17 32 Ireland Ryan Cullen
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 3'31.299 13.208
18 37 Denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
United Kingdom Jordan King
United States Ricky Taylor
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'31.416 13.325
19 30 France Nico Jamin
France Pierre Ragues
France Romain Dumas
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'31.416 13.325
20 23 Austria Rene Binder
France Julien Canal
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 3'31.951 13.860
21 25 France David Zollinger
France Andrea Pizzitola
United States John Falb
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'32.138 14.047
22 20 Denmark Anders Fjordbach
Denmark Dennis Andersen
Switzerland Mathias Beche
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'32.353 14.262
23 47 Italy Roberto Lacorte
Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto
Italy Andrea Belicchi
Dallara P217 LMP2 3'33.009 14.918
24 28 France François Perrodo
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
France Loic Duval
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'34.483 16.392
25 43 Canada John Farano
India Arjun Maini
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'34.823 16.732
26 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
United Kingdom James Winslow
United Kingdom Nigel Moore
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 3'36.237 18.146
27 49 Slovakia Miro Konopka
Sweden Henning Enqvist
Russian Federation Konstantin Tereshchenko
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 3'36.241 18.150
28 50 France Erwin Creed
France Romano Ricci
United States Nicholas Boulle
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 3'38.171 20.080
29 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 3'52.149 34.058
30 94 Germany Sven Muller
France Mathieu Jaminet
Norway Dennis Olsen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 3'52.464 34.373
31 71 Italy Davide Rigon
United Kingdom Sam Bird
Spain Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 3'52.743 34.652
32 66 Germany Stefan Mücke
France Olivier Pla
United States Billy Johnson
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'52.778 34.687
33 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Brazil Daniel Serra
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 3'52.844 34.753
34 82 Brazil Augusto Farfus
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
Finland Jesse Krohn
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 3'52.969 34.878
35 67 Guernsey Andy Priaulx
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
United States Jonathan Bomarito
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'53.027 34.936
36 93 France Patrick Pilet
New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 3'53.157 35.066
37 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 3'53.182 35.091
38 63 Denmark Jan Magnussen
Spain Antonio Garcia
Germany Mike Rockenfeller
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 3'53.343 35.252
39 97 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Belgium Maxime Martin
United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 3'53.802 35.711
40 95 Denmark Marco Sorensen
Denmark Nicki Thiim
United Kingdom Darren Turner
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 3'53.904 35.813
41 68 United States Joey Hand
Germany Dirk Muller
France Sébastien Bourdais
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'54.055 35.964
42 69 Australia Ryan Briscoe
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
New Zealand Scott Dixon
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 3'54.189 36.098
43 64 United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Switzerland Marcel Fassler
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 3'54.198 36.107
44 81 Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Germany Martin Tomczyk
Austria Philipp Eng
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 3'54.258 36.167
45 77 Australia Matt Campbell
Germany Christian Ried
France Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'55.304 37.213
46 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'55.686 37.595
47 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Portugal Pedro Lamy
Austria Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 3'55.714 37.623
48 78 Italy Louis Prette
Italy Philippe Prette
France Vincent Abril
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'56.046 37.955
49 88 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Italy Giorgio Roda
Italy Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'56.282 38.191
50 89 Brazil Pipo Derani
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
France Jules Gounon
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 3'56.429 38.338
51 84 United States Jeff Segal
Brazil Rodrigo Baptista
Canada Wei Lu
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'57.017 38.926
52 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Germany Thomas Preining
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'57.137 39.046
53 83 Italy Manuela Gostner
Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'57.463 39.372
54 57 Japan Takeshi Kimura
Italy Kei Cozzolino
France Côme Ledogar
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'57.480 39.389
55 70 Japan Motoaki Ishikawa
Monaco Olivier Beretta
Italy Eddie Cheever III
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'57.991 39.900
56 62 United States Cooper MacNeil
Finland Toni Vilander
United Kingdom Robert Smith
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'58.280 40.189
57 56 Germany Jörg Bergmeister
United States Patrick Lindsey
Norway Egidio Perfetti
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'58.326 40.235
58 90 Turkey Salih Yoluc
United Kingdom Euan Hankey
Ireland Charles Eastwood
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 3'58.522 40.431
59 61 Argentina Luis Perez Companc
Ireland Matthew Griffin
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'58.933 40.842
60 85 United States Ben Keating
Netherlands Jeroen Bleekemolen
Brazil Felipe Fraga
Ford GT LMGTE AM 3'59.660 41.569
61 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Andrea Piccini
Italy Sergio Pianezzola
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 3'59.948 41.857
62 99 United States Tracy Krohn
Sweden Nic Jönsson
United States Patrick Long
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 4'00.472 42.381
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