Saturday 18 August 2018

WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone - Free Practice and Qualifying

Free Practice

In the first free practice session there was a big accident for Bruno Senna in Rebellion #1. Senna suffered an injured ankle going off at the exit of Copse corner. The car appeared to have been destroyed and took no part in the second session later in the day. Senna's injury was not serious but did sideline him for the rest of the weekend. The Bykolles #4 ENSO caught fire towards the end of the second free practice on Friday evening bringing out a red flag. 

The third free practice session was at 9:00am on Saturday for 1 hour. In the first few minutes Alonso set a time of 1:37.677 on his first flying lap in the #8 Toyota. Meanwhile Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin set a 1:58.460, quicker even than last year's GTE Am fastest lap. The end of FP3 was cut short a few minutes due to a wayward bollard on the circuit. Both the Bykolles #4 and the Rebellion #1 were repaired overnight and took part in the session.

You can't draw any firm conclusions from practice times but as far as LMP1 is concerned, it's really just as case of which of the two Toyota's crosses the finish line first. Cynics might even say that perhaps Toyota may ensure that it's the #8 car. Among the non-hybrids the two SMP Racing BR1's were looking very strong at that point with both cars dipping under 1:40 in FP3. 


Qualifying started on time at noon under an overcast sky and relatively chilly (by recent standards) 17.2C air temperature. GTE qualifying became very hard to follow with many laps deleted for track limits infringements, particularly in the Am class. In Pro the #66 Ford GT of Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla had a very tidy session and took pole position. It was a slightly less tidy session for Priaulx and Tincknell the #67 sister car that ended up behind the Aston Martins #97 and #95. In GTE Am once all the lap deletions had been accounted for, it was the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche at the top of the timing screen followed by the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche that may even have taken pole were it not for several lap deletions. Third quickest was the TF Sport Aston Martin.

LMP qualifying was easier to follow with less pushing of track limits.  Alonso quickly put Toyota #8 quickest with a time of 1:36.789 but that was short lived as Conway in Toyota #7 went a shade faster with a time of 1:36.769. One of Nakajima's laps in the #8 Toyota was deleted for track limits and the #7 car stayed at the top of the timing screen for the remainder of the session. Jaafar set a time of 1:44.372 in the #37 JC DC Racing Oreca and a quick lap by Jeffri gave them an average of 1:44.896 and LMP2 pole position. With 5 minutes remaining there was a red flag to recover the #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara that Frits Van Eerd spun into the gravel at Copse.

Full timing results can be found HERE