Friday 16 November 2018

FIA WEC: Toyota quickest in a wet Shanghai

Toyota set the pace today on a wet and slippery track in Shanghai.  Where as the morning session was run on a damp and drying track, conditions in the afternoon session got worse. This caused two full course yellows that briefly interrupted the 90 minute session. The first one after James Calado went for a trip outside turn 2, the second FCY was called when the TDS Oreca lost a wheel. 

© Toyota Motorsport gmbh

The morning practice started in damp conditions with a drying track by the end of the session.  It started well for the non hybrid LMP1 cars with both SMP Racing and Rebellion on top of the class. Jenson Button in the #11 SMP Racing set the pace early in the wet session with a best time of 2.00.369, holding off Neel Jani in the #1 Rebellion who was 0.2 seconds slower.

By the end of the session, on a drying track, both Toyota’s emerged to the top of the leaderboard. Sebastien Buemi set the fastest time with his #8 TS050 Hybrid in 1.54.768. Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 Toyota was second fastest, just over 1.5 seconds slower. 

Matevos Isaakyan was quickest of the non-hybrid cars in 1.58.880, ahead of the surprising #4 ByKolles of Tom Dillman. Dragonspeed struggled with some electronical issues on their BR1, only managing a handful of laps throughout the session and not being able to set a real reference time. 

© Jackie Chan DC Racing

Jackie Chan DC Racing was fastest in the LMP2 class with Jazzeman Jafaar putting the #37 Oreca 07 op top with a time of 2.02.923. A surprising second was Nyck De Vries in the #29 Racing Team Nederland Dallara, the best result so far for the Dutch team in any practice session this season. His time of 2.03.551 was just over 0.6 seconds slower than Jaafar but 0.7 seconds faster than Loïc Duval in the #28 TDS Racing Oreca. 

Gabriel Aubry in the second Jackie Chan DC Oreca and Enzo Guibbert in the #50 Larbre Competition Ligier completed the top 5 in the morning session. 

© TF Sport/Andrew Lofthouse

BMW Team MTEK was on top of the LMGTE Pro leaderboard after a lap in the final minutes of the session of 2.38.830 by Martin Tomczyck in the #81 BMW M8 GTE. Richard Lietz in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR went second fastest, just under 2.4 seconds behing Tomczyck. Third fastest was Maxime Martin in the #97 Aston Martin. In his first visit to the Shanghai circuit, the Belgian set a best time of 2.12.568. 

In the GTE AM class, TF Sport led the way in their #90 Aston Martin Vantage.  Charlie Eastwood posted the fastest lap in 2.11.764, 1.7 seconds ahead of Matt Campbell in the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche of Matt Campbell. Keita Sawa in the #61 Clearwater Ferrari was third quickest, just 0.1 second shy of Campbell. 


Conditions got worse during the afternoon session, now on a fully wet and slippery track. As a result no teams were able to set faster times than in the morning session.  Toyota continued to dominate the LMP1 class with another 1-2 after 90 minutes, but the gap to Rebellion went down to 0.414 seconds. 

Jose Maria Lopez was the fastest man in the wet, setting the fastest time late in the session in 2.02.259, ahead of Kazuki Nakajima in the second Toyota.  Thomas Laurent in the #3 Rebellion stayed closest to both Hybrids, in a 2.02.673, ahead of André Lotterer in the second Rebellion which was 0.2 seconds further down.  

© SMP Racing

Jenson Button was the fastest SMP Racing driver in his #11 BR1.  The Dragonspeed BR1 had a decent run in the afternoon, managing 29 laps and finishing in seventh position behind both SMP Racing cars. ByKolls, which were fourth fastest in the morning session, now closed off the LP1 ranking. 

In LMP2 it’s Jazeman Jafaar again who topped the timetable in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca07 (2.10.869). André Negrao was just behind him in the championship leading #36 Signatech Alpine with a best time of 2.10.869. Third fastest, and third Oreca, was Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #28 TDS Racing.  

© TDS Racing

Racing Team Nederland’s Dallara seems to be adapting well to the damp and wet conditions in Shanghai, Giedo van der Garde setting the fourth fastest time in the second session with a 2.12.156.  Rounding out the top 5 was Gabriel Aubry in the second Jackie Chan Oreca. 

3 different manufacturers make out the top 3 of the LMGTE Pro class with James Calado on top in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.  Calado set a best time of 2.14.315, 0.649 seconds ahead of Antonio Felix Da Costa in the #82 BMW M8 GTE. Maxime Martin again was the fastest Aston Martin driver in third place, only 0.019 seconds behind Da Costa. 

© Aston Martin Racing

Nicky Thiim put the second Aston Martin on fourth place, with Oliver Gavin behind him in the #64 Corvette C7.R. Gavin’s quickest lap was just under 2 seconds off the pace of the leading Ferrari. The first Porsche in the afternoon session was the #92 of Kevin Estre, followed by the #66 Ford GT driven by Olivier Pla.  

Giancarlo Fisichella was the quickest man in the LMGTE Am class this afternoon with a 2.16.835 in the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari. Matt Griffin set the second fastest time in the Clearwater Ferrari, 0.043 seconds slower than the Italian. Ben Barker in the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche completed the top 3.