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#7 Toyota Sets FP3 Pace Before Lopez Off


A 1:45.783 from Kamui Kobayashi during a qualifying sim for the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 HYBRID topped the third and final practice session for the FIA WEC teams at Sebring ahead of Qualifying.

With each session, Toyota continues to find pace and looks to be the favourite for pole position this evening. Just what sort of time will be possible in Qualifying? It’s going to be fascinating to find out.

The headline from this final 60 minutes of track time wasn’t just the blistering pace of the #7 though, it was the repair work that needs to be undertaken by the team ahead of this evening’s fight for grid positions.

Jose Maria Lopez, who had a huge shunt in last year’s event at Sebring, again found himself in the wars during FP3. The Argentinian (who complained that the engine cut out earlier in the lap at Turn 13 on the radio) lost the rear of the #7 at high speed on the entry to Turn 17, sending him backwards into the tyres, damaging the car’s right-rear corner. This brought out red flags and the session to a premature end.

“It’s not ideal, it’s tough for mechanics. But the good thing is that Jose seems to be ok. We can recover from here. The car is fast so let’s take something positive.” Kazuki Nakajima, Vice President of Toyota Gazoo Racing said after the incident.

It was once again a Toyota 1-2 at the top of the times, with the #8 six-tenths back.

Third, just under a second off was the #50 AF Corse Ferrari 499P, which ended with a 1:46.777. Like the #7, the #50 had an off in the session too, moments after Lopez’s hit, Nicklas Nielsen complained that he lost traction control, which sent the car veering off the track after the rear snapped at the exit of Turn 10. The car ended up beached in the gravel, though with no significant damage.

Fourth in the times was the Cadillac Racing V-Series.R, which the GM brand hopes will be in the mix for a strong grid position later.

“Not sure we have quite the pace to match the Toyotas, but I think we’ve got the pace to fight Ferrari for that final place on the podium,” Earl Bamber said after the session. His teammate Alex Lynn is set to drive in Qualifying tonight.

Completing the top five was the #93 Peugeot, with a best time 2.1 seconds off the #7. The #5 Porsche made it five makes in the top six positions.

Further down the order, it was a disastrous session for Vanwall Racing. The Vandervell stopped at pit-out at the start of the session, unable to find power. I completed zero laps. Not ideal ahead of the car’s first Qualifying session.

In the other classes, JOTA led United in the LMP2 pack. Pietro Fittipaldi’s 1:50.128 was under a tenth quicker than Phil Hanson who reeled off a 1:50.218.

GTE Am meanwhile saw a huge change in fortune for Northwest AMR.

The trio of Vantages have propped up the bottom of the timing screens throughout the running at Sebring so far, but in this session the pace improved, Nicki Thiim setting the fastest time in the class, a 1:59.030 in the #98.

GR Racing’s Porsche ended up second, with the Kessel Racing Ferrari third.


Qualifying is up next.

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