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Gary Watkins

WEC Spa: WRT sets the pace in LMP2 car in FP1

Robin Frijns posted a 2m05.475s early in the session aboard the #31 WRT ORECA-Gibson 07, which stood as the quickest time of the opening 90-minute practice period on Friday afternoon.

It was the first time this season that a P2 car has ended up ahead of the Hypercar class contenders, although the secondary prototypes were quickest in three of the four sessions at the official pre-season prologue test at Sebring ahead of the championship opener in March.

Frijns ended up just six hundredths clear of Filipe Albuquerque in the best of the two United Autosports ORECAs that took second and third positions overall in Free Practice 1.

Albuquerque’s 2m05.538s compared with a 2m05.885s team-mate Oliver Jarvis in the sister car.

Will Stevens made it four P2s in the top four with a 2m05.967s in the fastest of the two ORECAs entered by the British Jota team.

The solo Glickenhaus was fastest in the Hypercar category in fifth position overall in the hands of Romain Dumas.

The Frenchman’s 2m06.233s in the Pipo-engined Glickenhaus 007 Le Mans Hypercar gave him a six-tenth advantage over the next best car in class, the first of the Toyota LMHs.

Mike Conway set a 2m06.876s in the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, which has been rebuilt around a new monocoque after Jose Maria Lopez’s accident at Sebring, to take eighth place overall on the timesheets.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez (Photo by: Paul Foster)

Sandwiched between the top two in the Hypercar category in sixth and seventh positions were the Penske ORECA LMP2 driven by Felipe Nasr and the second WRT entry with Norman Nato at the wheel.

The second Toyota finished the session in 13th position on a 2m08.802 from Sebastien Buemi, while the Sebring-winning Signatech Alpine team brought up the rear of the class.

Nicolas Lapierre set a 2m07.291s round the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in the grandfathered LMP1 Alpine-Gibson A480, which has lost 20kW or 26bhp under the Balance of Performance for this weekend.

The free practice times from Toyota’s GR010 were significantly down on those it achieved on the design’s debut at Spa last year.

Kamui Kobayashi was quickest in class across the trio of practice sessions in 2021 with a 2m02.518s.

The Toyotas are running with a significantly different BoP to the 2021 championship opener: they are 30kg heavier, have less power and can only deploy hybrid power at 190km/h rather than last year’s 120km/h.

Kevin Estre ended up fastest in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR with a 2m14.583s, which gave him a margin of three tenths over team-mate Gianmaria Bruni’s 2m14.906s

Ferrari took third and fourth positions with its pair of AF Corse-run 488 GTE Evos.

Alessandro Pier Guidi’s 2m15.801s just shaded the 2m15.813s from Miguel Molina in the sister car.

The solo Chevrolet Corvette C8.R brought up the rear in GTE Pro courtesy of a 2m16.372s from circuit debutant Tommy Milner.

Matteo Cairoli went four tenths faster than Milner with 2m15.982s to top the GTE Am times aboard his Project 1 Porsche.

The session was red flagged after approximately a minute as a result of a temporary IT failure in race control, but the session ran its full duration of an hour and a half on its resumption.

The red flag was also shown after the chequered flag had fallen when Ryo Hirakawa stopped the #8 Toyota on the Kemmel Straight in a simulated hybrid failure requested by the FIA.

Practice for the Spa 6 Hours, round two of the 2022 WEC, resumes at 9:05 local time on Friday.

A further session of practice precedes qualifying at 18:20 for Saturday’s race.

2022 WEC Spa 6 Hours: FP1 results

Cla Drivers Laps Time Gap
1 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Germany René Rast
35 2'05.475  
2 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Will Owen
30 2'05.538 0.063
3 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United States Josh Pierson
32 2'05.885 0.410
4 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Will Stevens
9 2'05.976 0.501
5 France Olivier Pla
France Romain Dumas
Brazil Pipo Derani
31 2'06.233 0.758
6 United States Dane Cameron
France Emmanuel Collard
Brazil Felipe Nasr
30 2'06.435 0.960
7 Portugal Rui Andrade
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Norman Nato
34 2'06.757 1.282
8 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
23 2'06.876 1.401
9 United States Thomas Steven
Australia James Allen
Austria Rene Binder
35 2'06.950 1.475
10 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Italy Lorenzo Colombo
34 2'07.097 1.622
11 Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
Edward Jones
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
30 2'07.211 1.736
12 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
32 2'07.217 1.742
13 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
35 2'07.271 1.796
14 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
23 2'07.291 1.816
15 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Mexico Esteban Gutierrez
32 2'07.686 2.211
16 France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
France Matthieu Lahaye
France François Heriau
31 2'07.808 2.333
17 France Lilou Wadoux
France Sébastien Ogier
France Charles Milesi
27 2'08.581 3.106
18 Switzerland Nico Müller
Ireland Ryan Cullen
France Sébastien Bourdais
30 2'08.621 3.146
19 Slovakia Miro Konopka
Netherlands Tijmen van der Helm
Netherlands Bent Viscaal
36 2'09.112 3.637
20 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
30 2'14.583 9.108
21 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
27 2'14.906 9.431
22 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
34 2'15.801 10.326
23 Spain Miguel Molina
Italy Antonio Fuoco
31 2'15.813 10.338
24 Italy Matteo Cairoli
Denmark Mikkel Pedersen
Switzerland Nicolas Leutwiler
21 2'15.982 10.507
25 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
31 2'16.372 10.897
26 United States Ben Keating
Henrique Chaves
Denmark Marco Sorensen
30 2'16.398 10.923
27 United States Brendan Iribe
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
21 2'16.417 10.942
28 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Charlie Fagg
34 2'16.844 11.369
29 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom David Pittard
Denmark Nicki Thiim
27 2'16.914 11.439
30 United States Fred Poordad
United States Patrick Lindsey
Belgium Jan Heylen
32 2'16.947 11.472
31 Germany Christian Ried
United Kingdom Sebastian Priaulx
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
30 2'16.982 11.507
32 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
19 2'17.332 11.857
33 France Simon Mann
Switzerland Christoph Ulrich
Finland Toni Vilander
34 2'17.374 11.899
34 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
New Zealand Nick Cassidy
29 2'17.429 11.954
35 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Belgium Sarah Bovy
33 2'17.659 12.184
36 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
33 2'18.154 12.679
37 France Franck Dezoteux
France Pierre Ragues
France Gabriel Aubry
31 2'18.465 12.990
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