Shanghai WEC: Toyota heads rain-affected first practice

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Shanghai WEC: Toyota heads rain-affected first practice
Jamie Klein
By: Jamie Klein
Nov 16, 2018, 4:42 AM

Toyota locked out the top two spots in a rain-affected opening practice session for this weekend's Shanghai FIA World Endurance Championship round.

SMP Racing's Jenson Button, fresh from winning the Super GT title last weekend in Motegi, led the majority of the session after setting a time of 2m00.369s in the #11 BR Engineering BR1-AER around 25 minutes into the session.

That stood as the benchmark until the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids equipped intermediate tyres with a little over 10 minutes to go as the track dried, the start of a late frenzy of improvements.

Sebastien Buemi in the #8 Toyota demolished Button's benchmark with a 1m57.987s, and subsequently dropped into the 1m56s before finally ending the session with a best time of 1m54.768s.

That was enough to beat Jose Maria Lopez in the sister #7 car by 1.586s, with the best of the privateers ending up a full 4s down.

Tom Dillmann briefly put the #4 ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01-Nissan third-fastest as the track improved but in the end it was the #17 SMP Racing BR1 piloted by Egor Orudzhev that ended up best of the rest.

Rebellion's top entry was the #3 Gibson-powered R-13, fifth-fastest in the hands of Thomas Laurent, ahead of the #1 Rebellion of Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov in the #11 SMP BR1.

The #10 DragonSpeed BR1 did not profit from the drying track and slipped not only to last in the LMP1 field, 12s off the pace, but also behind the entire LMP2 contingent.

A late reshuffle in LMP2 resulted in Jackie Chan DC Racing topping its class, thanks to a late 2m02.923s lap from Jazeman Jaafar in the Fuji race-winning #37 Oreca 07.

Formula 2 racer Nyck de Vries put the Racing Team Nederland Dallara second, six tenths down, followed by the returning Loic Duval in the TDS Racing Oreca.

Duval was forced to skip the Fuji round due to a clash with the Hockenheim DTM finale.

Only a handful of cars in GTE Pro improved late on, with the #81 BMW M8 GTE of Martin Tomczyk ending up top.

The former DTM champion's best time was 2m09.830s, putting him a massive three seconds clear of the next quickest car in the class, the #91 Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz.

Alex Lynn put the best of the Aston Martin Vantage GTEs third, a further three tenths behind Lietz.

Corvette Racing's lone C7.R was seventh-fastest in the hands of Oliver Gavin, 3.4s down on Tomczyk's benchmark.

The TF Sport Aston Martin squad leapt to the top of the times in GTE Am at the end of the session, Charlie Eastwood's best effort of 2m11.764s putting the #90 Vantage second overall among the GTE cars.

WEC Shanghai, FP1

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 8 Spain Fernando Alonso
Japan Kazuki Nakajima
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'54.768  
2 7 Japan Kamui Kobayashi
United Kingdom Mike Conway
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'56.354 1.586
3 17 France Stéphane Sarrazin
Russian Federation Matevos Isaakyan
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'58.880 4.112
4 4 United Kingdom Oliver Webb
France Tom Dillmann
United Kingdom James Rossiter
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 1'58.919 4.151
5 3 Switzerland Mathias Beche
France Thomas Laurent
United States Gustavo Menezes
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'59.132 4.364
6 1 Germany Andre Lotterer
Brazil Bruno Senna
Switzerland Neel Jani
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'59.239 4.471
7 11 United Kingdom Jenson Button
Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov
Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'59.675 4.907
8 37 Malaysia Nabil Jeffri
Malaysia Weiron Tan
Malaysia Jazeman Jaafar
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'02.923 8.155
9 29 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde
Netherlands Nyck de Vries
Netherlands Frits van Eerd
Dallara P217 LMP2 2'03.551 8.783
10 28 France Loic Duval
France François Perrodo
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.282 9.514
11 38 China Ho-Pin Tung
Monaco Stéphane Richelmi
France Gabriel Aubry
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.556 9.788
12 50 France Enzo Guibbert
France Romano Ricci
France Erwin Creed
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 2'04.623 9.855
13 31 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado
Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.803 10.035
14 36 France Nicolas Lapierre
France Pierre Thiriet
Brazil Andre Negrao
Alpine A470 LMP2 2'06.714 11.946
15 10 Netherlands Renger van der Zande
United Kingdom Ben Hanley
James Allen
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 2'06.847 12.079
16 81 Netherlands Nick Catsburg
Germany Martin Tomczyk
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 2'09.830 15.062
17 90 United Kingdom Jonathan Adam
Turkey Salih Yoluc
Ireland Charles Eastwood
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'11.764 16.996
18 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 2'12.202 17.434
19 97 Belgium Maxime Martin
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'12.568 17.800
20 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 2'12.840 18.072
21 66 Germany Stefan Mücke
France Olivier Pla
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 2'12.980 18.212
22 95 Denmark Nicki Thiim
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'13.012 18.244
23 64 United Kingdom Oliver Gavin
United States Tommy Milner
Chevrolet Corvette C7R LMGTE PRO 2'13.182 18.414
24 51 United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'13.414 18.646
25 77 Germany Christian Ried
Australia Matt Campbell
Julien Andlauer
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'13.482 18.714
26 61 Ireland Matthew Griffin
Singapore Mok Weng Sun
Japan Keita Sawa
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'13.638 18.870
27 71 United Kingdom Sam Bird
Italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'13.745 18.977
28 67 United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Guernsey Andy Priaulx
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 2'14.217 19.449
29 82 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 2'14.391 19.623
30 98 Portugal Pedro Lamy
Canada Paul Dalla Lana
Austria Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'14.618 19.850
31 88 Italy Matteo Cairoli
Riccardo Pera
Khaled Al-Qubaisi
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'15.724 20.956
32 56 Germany Jörg Bergmeister
United States Patrick Lindsey
Norway Egidio Perfetti
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'15.803 21.035
33 70 Monaco Olivier Beretta
Italy Eddie Cheever III
Japan Motoaki Ishikawa
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'15.856 21.088
34 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker 
Thomas Preining
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'15.914 21.146
35 54 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Italy Francesco Castellacci
Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'16.129 21.361
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About this article

Series WEC
Event Shanghai
Drivers Sébastien Buemi
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Jamie Klein