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Gary Watkins

Spa WEC: WRT LMP2 squad sets the pace in first practice

Robin Frijns posted a 2m05.475s early in the session aboard the #31 WRT Oreca 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 FP1.

Albuquerque’s 2m05.538s compared with a 2m05.885s teammate 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-19 with a 2m14.583s, which gave him a margin of three tenths over teammate 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 Car Class Time Gap
1 31 Indonesia Sean Gelael
Netherlands Robin Frijns
Germany René Rast
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'05.475  
2 22 United Kingdom Philip Hanson
Portugal Filipe Albuquerque
United States Will Owen
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'05.538 0.063
3 23 United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Oliver Jarvis
United States Josh Pierson
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'05.885 0.410
4 38 Mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
United Kingdom Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'05.976 0.501
5 708 France Olivier Pla
France Romain Dumas
Brazil Pipo Derani
Glickenhaus 007 LMH HYPERCAR 2'06.233 0.758
6 5 United States Dane Cameron
France Emmanuel Collard
Brazil Felipe Nasr
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'06.435 0.960
7 41 Portugal Rui Andrade
Austria Ferdinand Habsburg
France Norman Nato
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'06.757 1.282
8 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 2'06.876 1.401
9 45 United States Steven Thomas
Australia James Allen
Austria Rene Binder
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'06.950 1.475
10 9 Poland Robert Kubica
Switzerland Louis Deletraz
Italy Lorenzo Colombo
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'07.097 1.622
11 28 Denmark Oliver Rasmussen
Edward Jones
South Africa Jonathan Aberdein
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'07.211 1.736
12 83 France François Perrodo
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Italy Alessio Rovera
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'07.217 1.742
13 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 2'07.271 1.796
14 36 Brazil Andre Negrao
France Nicolas Lapierre
France Matthieu Vaxiviere
Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 2'07.291 1.816
15 34 Poland Jakub Smiechowski
United Kingdom Alex Brundle
Mexico Esteban Gutierrez
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'07.686 2.211
16 35 France Jean Baptiste Lahaye
France Matthieu Lahaye
France François Heriau
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'07.808 2.333
17 1 France Lilou Wadoux
France Sébastien Ogier
France Charles Milesi
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'08.581 3.106
18 10 Switzerland Nico Müller
Ireland Ryan Cullen
France Sébastien Bourdais
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'08.621 3.146
19 44 Slovakia Miro Konopka
Netherlands Tijmen van der Helm
Netherlands Bent Viscaal
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'09.112 3.637
20 92 Denmark Michael Christensen
France Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'14.583 9.108
21 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni
Austria Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'14.906 9.431
22 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'15.801 10.326
23 52 Spain Miguel Molina
Italy Antonio Fuoco
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'15.813 10.338
24 46 Italy Matteo Cairoli
Denmark Mikkel Pedersen
Switzerland Nicolas Leutwiler
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'15.982 10.507
25 64 United States Tommy Milner
United Kingdom Nick Tandy
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 2'16.372 10.897
26 33 United States Ben Keating
Henrique Chaves
Denmark Marco Sorensen
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'16.398 10.923
27 56 United States Brendan Iribe
United Kingdom Ollie Millroy
United Kingdom Ben Barnicoat
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'16.417 10.942
28 777 Japan Satoshi Hoshino
Japan Tomonobu Fujii
United Kingdom Charlie Fagg
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'16.844 11.369
29 98 Canada Paul Dalla Lana
United Kingdom David Pittard
Denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'16.914 11.439
30 88 United States Fred Poordad
United States Patrick Lindsey
Belgium Jan Heylen
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'16.947 11.472
31 77 Germany Christian Ried
United Kingdom Sebastian Priaulx
United Kingdom Harry Tincknell
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'16.982 11.507
32 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright
Italy Riccardo Pera
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE AM 2'17.332 11.857
33 21 France Simon Mann
Switzerland Christoph Ulrich
Finland Toni Vilander
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'17.374 11.899
34 54 Switzerland Thomas Flohr
Italy Francesco Castellacci
New Zealand Nick Cassidy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'17.429 11.954
35 85 Switzerland Rahel Frey
Denmark Michelle Gatting
Belgium Sarah Bovy
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'17.659 12.184
36 60 Italy Claudio Schiavoni
Italy Matteo Cressoni
Italy Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'18.154 12.679
37 71 France Franck Dezoteux
France Pierre Ragues
France Gabriel Aubry
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'18.465 12.990
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