Austin WEC: Rebellion leads Toyota in first practice

Gary Watkins

Gustavo Menezes went fastest in the solo Rebellion R-13 with a 1m49.957s, which outpaced the best of the Toyotas by just under two tenths of a second. 

Sebastien Buemi posted a 1m50.132s in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which is the least penalised of the two Japanese cars under the system of LMP1 success handicaps.

The #7 sister car, which is penalised by 2.77s compared with the #8 TS050's 2.21s, ended up ninth overall and slowest in the LMP1 field depleted by the absence of the two works Ginetta G60-LT-P1s. 

Mike Conway's 1m52.460s in the #7 Toyota left him behind six LMP2 cars in the times at the end of the first of the pair of two-hour practice sessions on the compressed two-day Austin schedule. 

The Toyota's handicaps compare with the 0.55s penalty for the Rebellion after its third-place finish behind the TS050s last time out in the WEC at Bahrain last December.

The United Autosports Oreca 07 led the way in LMP2 in third overall with a 1m50.488s from Filipe Albuquerque set at the beginning of the session.  

Will Stevens got within two tenths of the class leader in the closing minutes with a 1m50.669s aboard the JOTA Sport-run Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca. Third fastest was Andre Negrao in the Signatech Alpine Oreca on 1m50.954s. 

Albuquerque's time was more than three seconds quicker than the fastest LMP2 lap on the WEC's last visit to Austin in 2017. The improvement in times is at least partially down to the new track surface laid over the winter. 

Aston Martin driver Maxime Martin jumped to the top of the GTE Pro order towards the end of the session. His 2m01.838s in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE put him more than two tenths up on James Calado's 2m02.117s in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE.

Calado and then teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi had been fastest for much of the session aboard the #51 car. The sister #71 Ferrari took third on a 2m02.276s from Miguel Molina. 

Gianmaria Bruni ended up fourth in the best of the factory Porsche 911 RSR-19s with a 2m02.440s. 

The new mid-engined Chevrolet Corvette C8-R ended up slowest of the 30-car field, behind all 11 GTE Am entries, despite a late improvement from Mike Rockenfeller. His 2m04.284s left him nearly 2.5s off the GTE Pro pace. 

Matt Campbell pipped Dempsey-Proton Porsche teammate Thomas Preining for the top spot in GTE Am in the closing minutes of the session. 

Session results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 1 Brazil Norman Nato Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'49.957  
2 8 Switzerland Brendon Hartley Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'50.132 0.175
3 22 United Kingdom Paul di Resta Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.488 0.531
4 37 China Will Stevens Oreca 07 LMP2 1'50.669 0.712
5 36 France Pierre Ragues Alpine A470 LMP2 1'50.954 0.997
6 29 Netherlands Nyck de Vries Oreca 07 LMP2 1'51.171 1.214
7 21 Sweden Colin Braun Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.058 2.101
8 38 Mexico Anthony Davidson Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.122 2.165
9 7 United Kingdom Jose Maria Lopez Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'52.460 2.503
10 42 France Alexandre Coigny Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.762 2.805
11 33 United States Anders Fjordbach Oreca 07 LMP2 1'52.858 2.901
12 47 Italy Giorgio Sernagiotto Dallara P217 LMP2 1'55.492 5.535
13 97 United Kingdom Maxime Martin Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'01.838 11.881
14 51 United Kingdom Alessandro Pier Guidi Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'02.117 12.160
15 71 Italy Miguel Molina Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'02.276 12.319
16 91 Italy Richard Lietz Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'02.440 12.483
17 92 Denmark Kevin Estre Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 2'02.456 12.499
18 95 Denmark Nicki Thiim Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'02.674 12.717
19 77 Germany Matt Campbell Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.742 12.785
20 88 United States Thomas Preining Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.911 12.954
21 86 United Kingdom Benjamin Barker Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'02.985 13.028
22 56 Norway Matteo Cairoli Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'03.018 13.061
23 70 Japan Kei Cozzolino Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'03.202 13.245
24 98 Canada Ross Gunn Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'03.302 13.345
25 57 United States Jeroen Bleekemolen Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'03.356 13.399
26 54 Switzerland Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'03.460 13.503
27 90 Turkey Jonathan Adam Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2'03.542 13.585
28 83 France Nicklas Nielsen Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'03.697 13.740
29 62 United Kingdom Charles Hollings Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2'04.219 14.262
30 63 Denmark Mike Rockenfeller Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 2'04.284 14.327
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