Fuji WEC: Toyota takes 1-2 in disrupted first practice

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Fuji WEC: Toyota takes 1-2 in disrupted first practice
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Oct 12, 2018, 4:03 AM

Toyota set the pace in the opening practice session for this weekend's WEC 6 Hours of Fuji that was interrupted by a lengthy red-flag period.

The 90-minute session was halted with one hour and 12 minutes to go due to debris on the main straight, with officials then taking the chance to repair a loose kerb.

That meant a delay of 32 minutes before the session resumed, and a 30-minute extension to the morning's running was announced shortly afterwards.

Up to that point, the fastest time was a 1m25.847s by Buemi in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which was 0.534 seconds quicker than Kamui Kobayashi's best effort in the sister #7 car.

Neither of the Toyotas registered an improvement after the red flag, with Fernando Alonso taking over the #8 from Buemi but not beating the Swiss driver's time.

Leading the privateer charge was SMP Racing, as Jenson Button set a succession of personal best laps after the resumption of the session to take third in the #11 BR Engineering BR1-AER.

The 2009 Formula 1 champion's best time of 1m26.890s was fractionally more than a second off the pace, although the car appeared to suffer a brake problem in Vitaly Petrov's hands later in the session.

Rebellion Racing was fourth and fifth with its pair of Gibson-powered R-13s, with Neel Jani in the #1 machine leading Mathias Beche in the #3 car, which took victory at Silverstone after Toyota's double exclusion.

Stephane Sarrazin put the #17 SMP BR1 in sixth ahead of the customer DragonSpeed BR1-Gibson, while the solo ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01-Nissan rounded out the LMP1 order.

TDS leads LMP2, Ford on top in GTE

TDS Racing's Matthieu Vaxiviere set the quickest time in the LMP2 class, a 1m30.360s, to go a quarter of a second faster than Stephane Richelmi in the quicker of the Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas.

Toyota LMP1 reserve Anthony Davidson was third-quickest in the #31 DragonSpeed Oreca.

GTE Pro was led by Ford, despite a recent Balance of Performance change aimed at slowing the Ganassi-run GTs and the Porsche 911 RSR.

Stefan Mucke set the best time in the #66 car, followed by the #91 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni and the #92 machine of Michael Christensen.

Ferrari, whose 488 GTE Evo was not affected by the latest round of BoP changes, was best of the rest in fifth behind the second of the Fords thanks to a late improvement by James Calado in the #51 car.

Aston Martin's top Vantage GTE was sixth, one place ahead of the leading BMW M8 GTE.

Porsche led the way in GTE Am for much of the session after an early flyer from Dempsey-Proton driver Matt Campbell, but he was beaten in the closing stages by works Aston Martin driver Pedro Lamy's lap of 1m39.763s.

First practice results:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 8 Spain Fernando Alonso 
Japan Kazuki Nakajima 
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'25.847  
2 7 Japan Kamui Kobayashi 
United Kingdom Mike Conway 
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'26.381 0.534
3 11 United Kingdom Jenson Button 
Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov 
Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'26.890 1.043
4 1 Germany Andre Lotterer 
Brazil Bruno Senna 
Switzerland Neel Jani 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'27.151 1.304
5 3 Switzerland Mathias Beche 
France Thomas Laurent 
United States Gustavo Menezes 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'27.554 1.707
6 17 France Stéphane Sarrazin 
Russian Federation Matevos Isaakyan 
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'27.635 1.788
7 10 United Kingdom Ben Hanley 
Australia James Allen 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'29.088 3.241
8 4 United Kingdom Oliver Webb 
France Tom Dillmann 
United Kingdom James Rossiter 
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 1'29.250 3.403
9 28 France Jean-Eric Vergne 
France François Perrodo 
France Matthieu Vaxiviere 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'30.360 4.513
10 38 China Ho-Pin Tung 
Monaco Stéphane Richelmi 
France Gabriel Aubry 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'31.605 5.758
11 31 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson 
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado 
Mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'31.705 5.858
12 29 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde 
Netherlands Nyck de Vries 
Netherlands Frits van Eerd 
Dallara P217 LMP2 1'31.708 5.861
13 36 France Nicolas Lapierre 
France Pierre Thiriet 
Brazil Andre Negrao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 1'31.926 6.079
14 37 Malaysia Nabil Jeffri 
Malaysia Weiron Tan 
Malaysia Jazeman Jaafar 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'31.965 6.118
15 50 France Romano Ricci 
France Erwin Creed 
Japan Keiko lhara 
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1'34.342 8.495
16 66 Germany Stefan Mücke 
France Olivier Pla 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'38.555 12.708
17 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni 
Austria Richard Lietz 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'38.819 12.972
18 92 Denmark Michael Christensen 
France Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'38.996 13.149
19 67 United Kingdom Harry Tincknell 
Guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'39.387 13.540
20 51 United Kingdom James Calado 
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'39.420 13.573
21 95 Denmark Nicki Thiim 
Denmark Marco Sorensen 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'39.422 13.575
22 82 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa 
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'39.626 13.779
23 71 United Kingdom Sam Bird 
Italy Davide Rigon 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'39.660 13.813
24 81 Netherlands Nick Catsburg 
Germany Martin Tomczyk 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'39.715 13.868
25 98 Portugal Pedro Lamy 
Canada Paul Dalla Lana 
Austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 1'39.763 13.916
26 77 Germany Christian Ried 
Australia Matt Campbell 
France Julien Andlauer 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'39.925 14.078
27 97 Belgium Maxime Martin 
United Kingdom Alex Lynn 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'40.125 14.278
28 90 United Kingdom Jonathan Adam 
Turkey Salih Yoluc 
Ireland Charles Eastwood 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 1'40.139 14.292
29 88 Italy Matteo Cairoli 
Italy Giorgio Roda 
Japan Satoshi Hoshino 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'40.232 14.385
30 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright 
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker 
Austria Thomas Preining 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'40.469 14.622
31 61 Ireland Matthew Griffin 
Singapore Mok Weng Sun 
Japan Keita Sawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1'40.694 14.847
32 56 Germany Jörg Bergmeister 
United States Patrick Lindsey 
Norway Egidio Perfetti 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'40.787 14.940
33 70 Monaco Olivier Beretta 
Italy Eddie Cheever III 
Japan Motoaki Ishikawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1'40.870 15.023
34 54 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 
Italy Francesco Castellacci 
Switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1'40.980 15.133
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About this article

Series WEC
Event Fuji
Drivers Sébastien Buemi
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Jamie Klein
Article type Practice report